Pittsburgh basketball preview!

#49 R.P.I. Pittsburgh #71 R.P.I. Virginia Tech: 

Virginia Tech men’s basketball prolly just got their NC2A chocolate, (tootsie)… rolled.

The Hokies needed that Gah.Tech Victory Dance just like a dead man needs a coffin. Now they will need a 4-day success run at the All-Championship Conference tourney to get (NCAA), in. As our Hokies are 15 vs. 11 overall (and: 5-1o in-league) Hoagies once again. Now we catch a cat-calling or scratchy-looking and bettering Pitt Panther club right in the distemper face. My hometown appears to have (finally) rebuilt itself under J.Capel who maybe is capable of this P5 D-1 heavy lifting after all? As Pittsburgh checks in at: a tied for A.c.c. 1st-best 12-3 in conference calling play, and a pretty sprite looking 19 up against only 7 down overall. Nevertheless, what you wanna know is… who is gonna win and by how much, rights? So, read on… to find, out!

Pittsburgh Head Coach: Felton Jeffrey Capel III: age=48, 244-186* (.567) overall, 69–76 (.476) at Pitt. (known as a defensive coach with a penetrating O and with some recruiting)
$950,000 (base), (with: $525,785 in OK and Duke residuals +bonus/kickers)

Baby Capel is from a basketball family. His father is basketball coach Jeff Capel II, former assistant coach for the Charlotte Bobcats and former head coach at Old Dominion University, and his younger brother Jason played basketball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was the head basketball coach at Appalachian State University. As a senior at South View High School in Hope Mills, North Carolina, baller Capel led his team to the 1993 state championship defeating Charlotte powerhouse South Mecklenburg 53–52 with a last-second cardiac clutch make. He also set school career records in points (2,066), rebounds (669), and assists (663).

The jury is still out, here…

Baller Capel ran hoops at Duke University (1993–1997), where he earned a starting position as a freshman and was a starting guard on the basketball team for four years. On February 2, 1995, in the regular-season game played at home against UNC, with Duke trailing 95–92 at the end of the first overtime, Capel hit a running 40-foot shot at the buzzer which sent the game into double overtime. Although Duke lost the game 102–100, Capel’s shot was hailed as one of the most memorable plays in Duke basketball history, and it was nominated for an ESPY Award for College Basketball Play of the Year. Capel’s college career was marked with success. During his years as a Blue Devil, he racked up 1,601 points, 433 assists, and 220 three-point field goals. He finished his career among Duke’s all-time Top 10 in minutes played, three-point field goal percentages, three-point field goals, and assists. Also earned his Duke.edu degree.

Pro’ Capel played professional basketball for two years, playing in France and the CBA. Capel was also drafted in 1997 by the Raleigh Cougars of the USBL.

(nepotistic) Coach Capel began his coaching career serving as an assistant coach under his father, Jeff Capel II, at Old Dominion University for the 2000–2001 season. In 2001, he joined the coaching staff of Virginia Commonwealth University as an assistant. He was promoted to head coach of the Rams for the 2002–2003 season—making him, at the time, the youngest head coach in Division I men’s college basketball (27 years old). In his four years as head coach at VCU, Capel guided the Rams to a record number of wins (79) and the highest winning percentage (.658) of any Division I program in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Following the 2003–04 season, Capel was named both the Richmond Times-Dispatch and VaSID State Coach of the Year after leading the Rams to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996.

On April 11, 2006, Capel was named the head coach of the Oklahoma men’s basketball team, succeeding Kelvin Sampson. As the big whistle for the Boomer Sooners, Coach Capel had one really sharp Blake Griffin-fueled season (Elite-8), made the round of-32 one other time, and was spring broke and Merrill Lynch (see: below) scandalized in the meantime. As Coach Capel teams seem to be either: very very good, C+ good or not good at all. (i.e., not a middle ground or WWI type of coach).

On May 8, 2011, it was announced that Jeff Capel would be joining the staff of Mike Krzyzewski at his alma mater, Duke University, as an assistant coach. Coach Capel coached one game for the back surgery (may St.Wolfgang help) riddled/pretzeled coach-K. Then he moved on to a thus far pretty .5oo adhesive run while attempting to rebuild the once pretty dang sharp hooping Panther’s program.

Daddy Capel is married to Duke alumna Kanika Réale Blue. They were married in 2003. The two had their first child on April 26, 2007, Cameron Isabella Capel. Two years later, the two had a daughter, Sydney Gabrielle Capel, and three years after that, they had a son, Elijah Blue Capel.
*Oklahoma vacated 13 regular-season wins (and 4 conference wins)
due to the use of an ineligible player during the 2oo9–1o season.

Pittsburgh at a glance:

  • 21st most 3-point attempts/game!!
  • 26th best in Free Throw percentage!!
  • 36th best in FG percentage D allowed!
  • 4oth most in SWAT team work (bpg)!
  • 46th best off the D-glass!
  • 63rd best in 3-point D.
  • 294th most in Bench ppg. (1’s go a long way here).
  • 3o7th in Swipes (spg)! (they play the man not the ball).
  • Pitt enjoyed a buncha C+ to A— level national rankings. 21 outta 32 if you are keeping score @home with no real super obvious points to exploit or attack. Very very solid -if unspectacular- squad.
  • 5 or 6 injuries are listed; Coach God multi-Bless. Dang…

Returning Starters=was 2, now one!*

Pitt Strengths:

  • Degreeing; as you have to agry, there are a lotta Diplomas already awarded here. i.e., this ain’t no dum’-jock bunch.
  • Ditto, there is a lotta right-hand tailing to the Experience Curve here for it as well. As Pitt can easily put 2-decades+ worth of collegiate experience out there at you at their leisure.
  • * (Lindy’s 2nd-string All-A.c.c.) and 2o21’s Top Newcomer John Hugley goes: 6′9″, 244 lbs. as a play right away P/F or “Four”. Who was at least a **** (four-star) VHT recruit. With a backcourt skillset, court vision, and yet a powerhouse 220v frame. Plus, he be styling a big-azz face-‘fro that same as Joe Stalin’s hair, just won’t Q-word. Those however are last year’s personal digits… the Pitt.big.fat.website now reads: “268” lbs.!?! Wowzo! I mean, this C’town baller is the fish that ate Pittsburgh. That said, there is indeed talent here under all that mass… as Hugley was not listed lower than 95th nationally (ESPN) and he garnered pretty much Mr. Everything in Ohio H.S. ball terms. Where he put up big-time scoring and rebounding numbers over in the Buckeye state alike. A lot is still C-town or cavalier expected, here. (PREVIOUS UPDATE: “Hugley was suspended for disciplinary reasons, and he will miss an undetermined length of time.” Coach God help! Last year…) This year J.Hug’s is netting you 15.3 ppg, with 8.5 rpg, and 1.3 apg. That’s code for being your scoring and rebounding alpha cat if you are keeping score at home. The seemingly lowly 16.1% long is actually up from an unsightly 0.0% deep last year. So, I suppose that is gaining some measure of range? The scoring is up 320% from last season as well, and that is coming on strong. That said, Hug’s scores are all over the place box-score-wise, low, medium, and high alike. Not a very consistent baller here who has been true to Smothers Brothers from yo-yo’ing of late as well. And yet… Johnny had very good H.S. digits: 25 ppg on 14 rpg says so. Tho’ he never won anything post-season wise and that is an injudicious look to me. As the kid has talent(s), plural. He has a videography career on the side as well— and frankly, if he would side-up to hoops 25/ate he’s prolly a fringe overseas Pro’, at least… not at most. ’cause the two felony counts of criminal conspiracy and one felony count of receiving stolen property. From allegedly jimmying a stolen 2012 Chevrolet Malibu in 2o2o be… “ridin’ dirty”. As j.Hug’s could be the prime-order #1 talent out on the floor most nites; if/when he decides to AAA TripTik be. And the high-scoring highly productive version of this overloaded 22ov Power-Forward could short-circuit our home-schooling chances here.
    Then, however; I found this… St.Xenia help!
    (UPDATE: Pitt forward John Hugley IV is expected to miss the remainder of 2o22-23 season and seek a redshirt year while coping with mental health challenges as well as recovery and reconditioning from a preseason injury, per Pitt M.R. release)
  • * 6′4″, 2oo lb., Jamarius Burton, (n0w): Graduate-Sr., by way of: Wichita State and then by way of: Texas Tech, somehow shrank 1″ and yet weighs the same since we saw him last. His game however is reasonable enuff this campaign: 13.2 ppg on 3.7 rpg with 2.5 is solid if unspectacular work if you can second-option get it. Does field a history of left-knee dings (St.Nikon help). Although Mister Burton did pocket a: North Carolina’s Class 4A or AAAA quadratic state championship bling prior to all of these colleges, plural. Very efficacious guy… as Jam’-B has flirted with an astounding 5:1 assist:turnover ratio off/on throughout his collegiate career. Momma-bear played basketball at Alabama A&M, and all 3-siblings have played college hoops on full rides already. Then his Uncle, Todd Peat, only played six seasons in the N.F.L. for the Cardinals and Raiders. Then his cousin, Andrus Peat, only plays for the New Orleans Saints and was only the 13th overall pick in the 2o15 N.F.L. draft. Then his Aunts: Pamela White and Tammy Newton, only 100% played college basketball as well. “Snap!” Human Genome Roundball Project check insert in boxes; (very) plural… here! Does seem stronger upon tape than his listed metrics as well to me. A hardnosed veteran kinda kid who coaches wish they had one mo’ of. Defensive, willing, and the team lead at 88% from the charity stripe does not suck.
  • One #2, 6′7″, 236 lb., Blake Hinson is (now) the alpha cat for the Panthers on O here. 15.9 ppg with 6.3 rpg and 1.2 apg is pretty solid overall production if you can get it. Blake comes at you after sitting 2-seasons with o-games logged out at Iowa State. (One of which was a self-election r-season). Then he transferred down to Olé Miss. Where he put up decent enuff digits: (~10 ppg with ~5 rpg). So, the betterment @Pitt is a bit unexpected and prolly fully welcomed at that. As this was only a 4o% career shooter overall prior to @Pitt. Where Blake now cracks for an improved 44.4% from the floor and an easy career-high of 38.4% long. Now mix in 71.4% on his team-leading 1o4th most FTA’s and you suddenly have a getter -if not a pure netter- on your hands. As this Hinson kid just gets to the right spot (on the floor) to get his. Seems heavier than listed to me upon breaking tape. Has been warming to the task of late, what with 4 in six games ≥19 to 24 ppg. Ditto his 3-pointing which has been nearly firey in recent terms. (~43%). This is from the 1o2nd ranked baller in all the land; ****, or quad-stars from Kansas where he dropped you 3o ppg in H.S. terms. Wr1 in football ever since the 8th grade for his high school to boot. Big bro’ (Evan) balled hoopz and pigskin for the Sc.Gamecocks a few years back, so maybe he is their Jeff King in reverse? As b.Hinson technically has another year (r-double-Jr.) under him and he could crossover (pardon the mixing of metaphor) into gridiron terms here. Albeit with no Roy (of hoops fame) relation. If not, Blake is playing himself right onto the overseas Pro’ fence. NTTAWWT. Good on him.
  • Greg Elliott is an off-G, who goes: 6′3″, 18o lb., as a grad’-student from Al McGuire’ville or: once big-time mid-major well-fabled: Marquette. Greg played his legit 4 seasons at: Marquette getting you: 5.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. @Pitt he is now finding you: 11.o ppg with 4.2 rpg and 1.3 apg. Or, another baller on his come-up-ins. (Which looks good on somewhat embattled Coach Capel, don’t it?) Good FT-shooter right at 89% for his last two seasons combined. Did have a few dings that limited him over in Milwaukee just a scosche (Godspeed). Has a history of hand injuries in particular and took one med’-r-shirt surgical season for it (St.Julia bless). Enjoyed really tall overall high-school numbers in ppg, rpg, and apg alike. Nearly flirting with triple-double status on average at scholastic times. Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award in 2016-17 for the State of Michigan. Now said to be more of an outside-scorer @Pitt with a good shooting eye. 46% overall and virtually 43% from 3-point-land would seem to ratify that. As this is a steadying typea player for Pitt, and his 11 ppg is virtually +225% mo’ than he ever got you at Marquette. Darkhorse Most Improved All Conference Candidate here.

    Will finish strong on the… Hinny!
  • 6′, 18o lb. Qb1 or Pt.Guard Nelly Cummings is your pivot or maestro here. Nelly nets you: 1o.5 ppg with 2.6 rpg on a team-pacing 4.5 apg. This from another Grad’-year kid tho’ this time from big bad: Colgate hoops factory fame. Where Nelly was only 1st or 2nd-string All-Patriot League each and every year. This after sitting his initial Colgate season after transferring from Bowling Green mind you. As this makes Nelly an r-shirt, graduate year and 5th-year baller alike. *** or three-star kid by ESPN.com who was also the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s city baller of the year way way back in 2o16. Nice mid-range scorer at right above 15 ppg for The Colgate Raiders. Where Cummings (no: Terry relation) was awarded his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Colgate. Did Eye mention he is from: Colgate, yet? Now he has enrolled in the College of General Studies and is getting a certificate in leadership from Pitt. I wonder if that is an Associate degree or not. Anywho… Nelly keeps a big ole head ‘fro, and somewhat James Hardin face fro’ as well. Razors clearly ain’t his, thang. Said by Lindy’s to have a: ‘versatile and strong combo’ game’. Also said to have already won the t.Pasty Raiders Colgate Athletics Student-Athlete of the Year. Palmolive.edu ‘snaps’ on that. That, and the near A.c.c. 1st-placing 91.7% FT’s and a reasonable 35.4% from behind the arc ain’t hurting anything 1ι (one iota) either. As this is another no misQ, highly seasoned, mature, graduate cylinder guy who helps Pitt round things out.

Pitt Weaknesses:

  • Pitt is a very very very dinged up or outright dented team in bench or backup terms. Like really limited— and it is prolly mucking with their practicing. (See: insert). Yikes! Coach God Bless some mo’.
  • When you add all of that hurting up it amounts to: ~15 ppg and ~9 ppg gone. And that does not include the bottom three on the right in their NO collegiate stats exist (yets) 1st-years!
  • Lotta backcourt disruption since we saw the Panthers last. 1-2-Wing continuity is unkind here.
  • As hinted… there are coaching sewing circle ‘whispers’ that the Panther head-honcho needs a helpful 2o23 to get to 2o24, STAT.

Panther Lair: (depth=5’ish give/take)

Nike Sibande (6′4″, 185 lb.) Miami of Oh., is your Alpha-sub’ who was done for the 2o22 duration (A.c.l., St.Nikon help!) Also done would be this fourth-year ballers Red Hawk incoming ≅16 ppg and 6 rpg on respectable netting. (43% from the floor and 38% from deep). All-M.A.C. Third Team baller who had a history of post-season heroics as well. H.S. class 3A state champ in hoops-happy Indiana is G.N.C. strong. This year, however, and Nike (meaning ‘victory’ in Greek) is back at you with: 7.8 ppg on 3.9 rpg and 1.3 apg in relief. Lindy’s says that Sibande is a starting-level ‘productive scorer’.  And that’s not the worst instant O (on: 34% 3’s) just add P.T. look.

Federiko Federiko is a: 6′11″, 22o lb., true-C or Five by way of: Helsinki, Finland. And he looks like he could stand to take a plate or three away from rotund John -hugely- Hugley up above, As this is one lean-looking 220-whatever-pounder. Like he could stand some weight room or ferrous work. Anywho… the book here reads that Federiko is a solid interior force at both ends by way of the JuCo circuit (or: Northern Oklahoma). Where (Federiko)^2 did merit NJCAA Honorable Mention All-America love. With ~12 ppg and ~9 rpg out-west. (Twice) Federiko has international experience, per his: FIBA U18 European Championship run for Finland. His mum’s name reads: Ando Juice. And he snubbed w.V.u. as a decommit at the last sec’. All three of his she-siblings play basketball so roundballs must blossom in this rather interesting Scrabble Point name-game family (Okku, Manuella, and Jenifer) tree here. Now up on the Point in I.C. Lyte IronCity ‘ville and Federiko*2 gets you: 6.1 ppg with a near team-leading 5.8 rpg and an outright team-leading 2.o bpg all on the gold-medal 63.3% from the floor. Not the worst substitute BIG look, is it? (UPDATE: ‘whispers’ say this one is a real live post-Stopper down-low on D).

Then there are the Graham’s… Jorge Diaz Graham P/F and Guillermo Diaz Graham P/F. Who are related! Tho’, Jorge (somehow) chases his twinning bro’ by one-inch in height at 6′11″ whereas Jorge tops out at: 6′12″ and yet 1o lbs. less in weight (19o lbs.). Go fig’ on dat? Canary Islands, Spain natives here. Jorge was 81st in the On3 2o22 (overseas) recruit poll. Both are FIBA and Spanish National Team schooled. Both are said to be ‘skillful’ bigs. Kinda Euro-F’s or flexible-Fours (if not outright: ‘stretch’). Jorge was a 44% 3-pointer in Euro play. Guillermo was the 94th ranked On3 2o22 baller. 55.5% shooter from the Euro floor and had a number more awards and mentions and so forth than his bro’ did. Seems to be the apex bro’ in résumé terms. Said to be the mo’ defensive bro’ too. As of right now, they combine to o’Pine for ~7 ppg with 6 rpg a dime and a sendback. Tho’ Jorge’s 28.8% overall is just hard to Spain ‘splain. As both are poppin’ 3’s for very low 30-percents’. Although rookie or nugget year skillful legit BIGs with rebounding acumen are indeed worth a Plumlee 2o26 ask back here. As Pitt could be set down low for years to come.

Calling this VeeTee @home-6 or Pitt @away+6 contest is all about, what(s)?

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Illationconclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Panthers who could claw @Tech=5 to 7.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is

not to be too taken with Pitt this/that.

…at least not yet(s).

Though I can tell you that you have to be very taken with the coaching -the verb- job that Capel is doing up in my old stomping grounds.

That, and you have to be wondering just how sesquipedalian his verbiage would 2o23 be with an actual full roster on… display?

As Pitt does not seem that epic to me -or any of my preseason preview mag’s- upon paper. Picked NOT higher than A.c.c. 8th for it.

And yet here they are tied for the All-Championship Conference blue-ribbon or gold medal in 1st place. So, although I’ma not real sure what Pitt truly is/is not… I’d have to think that fourth-year Coach Jeff’ can now bet the under on speed-dialing Cent’-21 in three mo’ weeks.

There is that… and there will prolly be a few All-Conference Coach of the year votes for it, too.
PROPS on that hot-seat thermostat work.


Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for a -what Eye can only describe as a: ‘hard to interpret’ +38-point VomiT by the Panthers in this one here. Eye say that as the Fourm Guide is Season-hyphen-Two on the year. Tough to wanna spit into that wind or cape-tug that, right? And yet just took its worst L -by far- even last time out. That, and this time in, the Fourm Guide was missing a couple of Atlantic via-á-vis Coastal rotational games; it had a very highly unusual two different games with the very same exact outcome and the very same exact margin alike— and yet then it really opened up in Pitt’s favor in Recency Effect terms FYI. As they have been mo’ parts Halo to our… horns since about one week left in January itself.

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… nobody is up much of in shooting percentage margin (from: VeeTee being up about 3% sharper on O and yet Pitt being about 3% saltier on D); yet Pitt is up a useful looking ≅+5% in 3-point percentage margin (pur: Pitt being solidly better in 3-D and just a little batter in 3-O), and with Pittsburgh up +3 Windex Wipes in rebounding margin for the duration. (On: better ‘boarding on O and off the D-glass alike ¦ although, VeeTee is hovering right at backboarding equilibrium or breaking yearly even off the ‘glass).

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the Panthers are now up a noticeable +8% in shooting percentage margin (pur: Pitt is shooting the same tho’ defending better and yet the Hokies are defending nearly no one, ranking a mere two, that’s (2) spots from dead last outta 363 counting reclassifying(s)!!!); with the Cats up a near phenomenal +20% in 3-point percentage margin (pur: Pitt is netting/warming a bit on 3-O and still tight on 3-D, yet the Hokies are a science-fact LAST-place 3-D sieve in triune halt-unit terms!!! 363rd outta 363… you do the maths),  with the Panthers now up a nearly useful looking +6 in carom collections in rebounding margin during the last fortnight of ‘glassing itself. (pur: the Gobblers are down on the O and on the D-backboards alike… tho’ Pitt is gathering mo’ opposing misses in for selfie-keeps on the D-glass).

Armchair Pt.Guard’s:

Streakin’ 1o1:

Pitt is prolly the best A.c.c. Hawk & Animal in a while. Road warriors on a shiny 24-day winning streak where they have binge-watched the rest of the A.c.c. go o’fer 6 vs. these Panthers.

Thus… this season, coach Jeff Capel’s squad is enjoying its best league campaign since joining the conference in 2o13 and is in a position to claim its first-ever A.c.c. regular-season title.

However, Virginia Tech has won eight of the last 1o matchups with Pitt,
including the last five in Blacksburg.

Panthers do ride… clutch!
Hokies ain’t… automatic.

Pitt is a sextastic puuuurrrfected on the year in close games. 7-nil if you are keeping score @home. With tight azz wins of: 3-shots, 1-shot, 1-shot, 1-shot, 1-shot, 1-shot and 1… point! WoW.

On the other side, the Hokiebird has been the true pussy-(cat) of late here. What with L’s of: 1-shot, 2-shots, 1-shot, 1-shot, 2-shots, 1-point, 3-shots, and 3-shots. Early on and the Hokiebird’s were not so wing clipped; (recall: 4-1 in close games to start, with just 1 close game VicTory since early December!) As something is messin’ with some kinda O&M A.B.C. (always be closing) transmission, here.

V.P.I. is a .785 host; whereas Pitt is .777 as a guest.
Pitt is up +3% at the charity stripe for the year.
Pitt is up a nice +5 in R&R.

The Call...

No.48 Net Ranking Pittsburgh @ no.67 Net Ranking Virginia Tech:

Not a fun one to call… do I call fo’ my school or fo’ my hommies above the H.Green Tony Dorsett Mason-Dixon line?

Tho’ a Hokie my ownself, I try to cheer for the Upper Saint Clair’s whenever Eye can.

And frankly, they are a surprise to me in hoops right now.
Mea culpa— as I could not figure them out upon breaking tape.

’cause to me, they showed nearly none of this newfound Steel City mettle before under Coach Cap’.
And the visiting Always Challenging Conference is historically one 3 in 10 tough damn row to, hoe.


The Verdict:

Still yet, how do you cogently say that Pitt does not look like the tougher team here?

’cause embedded and heretofore not listed about is a near deca or 10% wilting in overall D and in 3-D from the Hokies of 5-game late. Tritto rebounding itself. As D and boarding are Foster (Bill or Bud) or ‘want too’ willpower-based. For us they have become mo’ parts LW&T. We are nearly dead-Last in each. We appear stopping unWilling and that is quite a non-rebounding Testament indeed. Nearly a perspiration or sweat based mutinous one.

The closer...

In other words, …me and Coach Harry S. Truman are going Missouri in this Keystone @Commonwealth clash.

Show me“.

Show me some pointy elbows on D and some elbow grease scratching that ‘glass.
Eye know you can score— a blind man can see that with a cane.
Can you and the Tin-Man defend? Do you and the cow’.Lion
have any, heart?

’cause if you do not it would appear that Pitt… will.

As in… willpower their way to winning the head game.

🐆  >>> 🏀 >>> 🦃

In final words… although I’m not entirely sure that such a depleted Pitt Panther hoops squadron is the superior hoops squad here…

I’ma pretty dang sure they are the {sic: mentally} tougher ones here.

Full Metal Jacket hoopology 1o1… “they got guts.”
And guts is enuff.”



(52% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=75, Pittsburgh=78

please support the VT F.C.A.!







2 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Good call b.street, I unfortunately agree.

    Until we commit to playing shutdown defense we won’t beat teams like this. Maybe that changes today.

    Keep rockin’ b.street!

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