Despite a fantastic crowd and atmosphere, Pitt could simply not put two halves together to keep it close with Virginia as the game went on.
There's not too much to tell about this game's result. Virginia really did everything pretty well on both ends of the floor you could ask for. They shot close to 50% from the floor combined with 56% from three point range. They only had 7 turnovers on the game. The stat that really sticks out: UVA scored 20 points off of 11 Pitt turnovers. 11 turnovers is normally not a large amount, and usually a team can recover from that. Virginia plays very deliberately and methodically, however, and every possession with them is that much more valuable. Pitt was able to get only 6 points off Virginia's 7 turnovers. That's a difference of 14 points, and, well, there's your difference in the game.
Virginia did an excellent job of penetrating and getting the ball kicked out to its shooters. It honestly felt like (as many have commented) you were watching a late 2000s Pitt team. Virginia has a pretty similar mentality as those Pitt teams did, and they have much better players than Pitt does right now. Jamie Dixon has tried to mix it up a bit coming into the ACC in the way his offense is structured especially so this year, and it's been met with pretty mixed success.
James Robinson had easily one of his worst games ever today. It went 0-7 from the field, including 0-4 from three point range. Any time he attempted to be aggressive he was stopped well short of the rim, and he had to back out and reset. I'm not sure if it was Virginia's defense or James just didn't have a great day.
Against Syracuse, ND, Louisville, NC State, Clemson, & Virginia Robinson is 9-48 from the field. That's 18.8%.— Chris Dokish (@ChrisDokish) February 6, 2016
You simply can't have that from your point guard. Pitt desperately needs points and good play from its guards, and it's simply not getting it right now. Mike Young and Jamel Artis are still doing fairly well, but the lack of guard play to take pressure off of them is hurting the team. I've mentioned many times how good James Robinson is at getting guys the ball, but there are points you need a guard to step up and simply make shots. Most championship teams had a dynamic and aggressive guard, but Pitt has not had that since ACC play started.
Virginia is indeed a very good team, and maybe we're putting too much stock in one loss, but all five of Pitt's losses have been by double digits, which is shocking to people that watched Pitt basketball prior to probably 2012. Pitt used to almost never 1) lose at home 2) get blown out, and now both are happening with some regularity. Virginia has also lost to three teams Pitt has beaten in ACC play. Are Pitt fans spoiled by the program's success through the 2000's? Maybe, but it's hard to watch Pitt lose some of these games in such lopsided fashion. There's zero point to talking about Dixon or his staff's future at this point in the season with so much basketball left to play (and I'm not saying we should be talking about Dixon's future one way or the other at this point), but Pitt is entering a VERY difficult stretch. They start at #17 Miami on Tuesday, then are at #2 North Carolina, home vs Wake, then travel to Syracuse (who's won 3 in a row), finishing up with home vs Louisville. Pitt could very easily only win one of its next five games. I don't think that will happen, but the potential is definitely there for a slide.
I'm one of the most optimistic Pitt fans out there, but I have to admit being a little concerned. Pitt simply doesn't have a really great win on its resume. It almost always has at least one of those each year (last year they had two), and they are in a precarious position between their schedule and dropping a really bad loss to North Carolina state. If Pitt doesn't want to miss the tournament for the second year in a row, it really has to find a big win in this five game stretch.