Pittsburgh basketball preview is up!

  #29 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #156 R.P.I. Pittsburgh:

Virginia Tech men’s basketball sojourns 321 miles up to my hometown to guzzle some I.C. Lyte and wash all of dat down with some Bimbo’s Pizza!

The Hokies are nearly in the same boat as Wednesday night— facing another team in need of some post-season qualifying love and/or wins. As the Panthers are (barely) treading .5oo water at 12 up and 13 down (and 2-10 in Atlantic Coast Club play). The Panthers are officially in rebuilding their man-cave (or should I say: “rebuilding their men-den”) mode and they are prolly a year
-or two- away from being officially rebuilt. Still yet, this game is on the road where the A.c.c. visitor wins about 3 in 10 times @Away. Nevertheless,  you wanna know who is gonna win this one, here. Read on, to find… out!

Pittsburgh Head Coach: Felton Jeffrey Capel III: age=43, 87–121* (.607) overall, 12–11 (.522) at Pitt. (know 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 earning 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 Griffth fueled season (Elite-8), made the round of-32 one other time and was spring broke and Merril 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.

*  At Oklahoma, two seasons ago… all wins were subsequently vacated due to using of an ineligible player, Keith “Tiny” Gallon, who had received impermissible M.Lynch benefits

Pittsburgh at a glance:

  • 15th in FT-makes (∑=423 FT’s splashed).
  • 25th in FG percentage D (40.1% allowed).
  • 40th most turnovers forced (15.71).
  • 58th in total swats (∑=1o4 b’s).
  • 65th in offensive-rebounding (11.88 o-rgp).
  • 79th in 3-point FG percentage defense (32.1% allowed).
  • 280th in assists (12 apg).
  • everything else average, dull average or just above average.
  • 1 injury listed (Godspeed with St.Malik!)

Panther Returning Starters=2, (was 3).

Pitt Strengths:

  • Sr. year, 6′5″, 220 lb. Jared Wilson-Frame -who is trying hard to look like H’town Rocket James Edward Harden Jr., (or Ricky of Ballers fame), and not giving a bad look at it, either- Wilson-Frame was the de facto Panther alpha scorer last year. Now he’s the bronze-medalist in points-production at a truncated looking 12.2 ppg on a gunning looking 41% from the floor and 39% overall. Yes, W-Frame can get it going, here-n-there; although he never met a shot he did not like; or would not take. Although his 3-netting is up 10% and he’s also up just over 4% from the floor and that’s far more efficacious work in my book. The book here reads that Frame is a physically powerful Wing; with an abnormally long wingspan, who came in as a 3-point shooter and has later added the dribble-drive look to his floor game. He has a solid rebounding mark (4.9 rpg) and those long arms and powerful build make for a smart cover on D. He is praised as being a true alpha-dawgg of a leader and a strong lockeroom presence. Though none of that is bad work from a versatile and overlooked kid who transferred in from the actually rather sporty Northwest Florida State. Where he was listed as the no.10 transfer baller into all of D-1 and where he began a side-career as a freestyle rapper; no joke. W-Frame might possibly be a fringe overseas Pro’ if he keeps improving by the time he ends his senior season ends in March of this year.

    A true no.1 stockingstuffer!
  • One, #1, 6′3″, 195 lb., Xavier Johnson leads Pitt in scoring at 17 ppg on an agreeable 39% long. He is the Panthers alpha scorer, likewise loquacious A-side talker and this Johnson wears thigh-high compression sleeves on his, legs. No joke. Never seen this before and Eye hope Eye never see this; again. Nevertheless, X’ is street-rawbone-strong, stronger than his listed metrics look in point of fact. X’ is also yet another Commonwealth (7th in-state Ξ Woodbridge, Va.) refugee/escapee. He is additionally quite a vertical baller what with having won the 2018 Courtside at the Cathedral dunk contest. X.Johnson clears you 3.9 boards and drops you a team-pacing 4.5 dimes (apg). He is second in steals (1.2 spg) and Johnson can intern at Smith & Wesson as a gunning champ. As confidence is not wanting here folks. The whispers say he’s: got terrific quickness, confidence, and competitive spirit; that he’s aggressive on both ends of the floor and that Johnson is an explosive athlete with elite speed. I’d have to make purchase on all of that after scouting him. As this X’ is a pro’, the only question is domestic or export? As he will N.b.a. Combine test like a mother and he can stick the 3. Struck me as a bit individualistic, although he’s from a family with poppa, brothers and cousins -plural mind yah- all at least playing D-1 college roundball and he is a pretty physically gritty kid for being a highflyer. Something that does not necessarily hold-historic-hands. So let’s see where X’ is some 2020 or 2021 and let’s see if he is still @Pitt as well.
  • 6′6″, 210 lb. off-G, yes, (a Guard) and nugget or rookie year voter Au’Diese Toney leads Pitt in rebounding with 5.9 carooms and while that’s pretty sharp backcourt Windex-work -if you can get it- and this R.A.T.T. says: frontcourt… what? Well, it also says that his 8.3 ppg on 25% deep and 36% regular need some work, although that level of rebounding at age 18 from a backcourter tells you he ain’t exactly phobic of… work. Ditto the fact that the insiders say he lives in the weight room and has stacked-up nearly 20 lbs. of right-mass since Au’Diese got to Pitt. That and his crazy nearly 6′10″ wingspan explain a lot here. The tag’ here describes Toney (no 76’er Keystone State relation: think: Dr.J sidekick shooting-G Andrew); the tag’ here says that this Toney is a crafty baller with a full 3-level game. Inside, out(side) and midrange pops to boot. It also says he had a Hokie offer, that Toney was the 114th baller in the land per Scout, that he is an Honor Roll student, a fighty/scrappy guy on the court, and he himself says that he enjoys: “eating”. And, well… “So say we all.

Pitt Weaknesses:

  • Shamiel Stevenson is (well, he was) a sophomoric Great White North (Toronto Mapleleaf) imported baller who stands in at 6′6″ in height; and went a downright burly 245 overloading lbs. so we will go with dat. Lindy’s says he is a sturdy swing-man, a fine athlete and a utility baller who can defend multiple positions. Right now, Shamiel was dropping 8 ppg with a decent 3.8 rpg all on a sleek 58% overall. His 35.4% from behind the 3-point line is serviceable and actually not half-bad from a kid whose defense is said to be ahead of his offense. And oh yes, his downright Saturn Rocket looking 40″ vertical and 6′10″ wingspan make you wonder just how orbital his springtime 2020 game might just, be? As winning the BioSteel all-Canadian Game Slam Dunk competition does not suck, eh. (UPDATE: tho’ now Nevada is wondering all dat, as Stevenson just entered a rarefied mid-term TRANSFER portal to RenoU).
  • Malik Ellison (QUESTIONABLE: ankle, St.Sebastian help) is a 6′6″, 215 lb., Swing with 6.8 ppg and virtually 4 rpg. Or at least he and his rolled ankle were, And Pitt was counting on this guy to pitch-in and help-out off the pine as a lengthy 2-guard on the come or on the rise. Although Malik’s 14% 3-point shooting and his nearly as masonic 50.8% free-throwing are more parts throwing up and have a long way to come.
  • recall that last year… (with Ass.Coach Capel still @Duke)… Pitt departed four grads and then five mo’ transferred out! (i.e. leaving Pitt with four whole returnees and 25% of them are walk-ons for 2018!) Now four more have left premature fot whatever reason(s), i.e.e. an experienced basketball team this is, not.
  • A.K.A. depth and bench wide full functionality is at least 2020 (or more) away— before full Panther power is restored here.
  • 8 of Pitt’s top-9 rotation are home position G’s. As large-and-n-charge, this team just, ain’t.
  • Or in other words, if you are keeping score after all of that at home… only two peeps in Pitt’s 2018-2019 rotation are (now) back. As this is a program in flux, or fluxed up —at least for the time, being.

Panther Bench: (depth=4’ish)

Khameron Davis goes 6′4″ and is a muscular looking entry-year S/G at a cut-up 195 totally chiseled lbs. He is said to be primarily a defensive stopper at this youngling stage of his college career. 2.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg with a swipe and the former team lead at 54% (now down to 31% for this campaign) from range makes you wonder a bit on all of that, as does Davis’ quickness and agility marks which are chart toppers; and all of that from a football (Ss) recruited kid with a floor-burn rep’ just looking for a place to happen.

Stockholm, Sweden imported native 6′9″, 210 lb. Kene Chukwuka nets you 3.8 ppg and gets you 3.5 rpg in relief as a frontcourt combo’ P/F-C type of baller. Kene went out and found 20 lbs. of mostly right-mass, this summer and is said to be a rebounding stretch-F who has a high motor as a defender after spending a year at New Mexico Jr. College. Across the pond, Chukwuka’s blue-n-gold Cross (Sweeden’s flag) numbers were not exactly neutral on scoring, as he averaged 30 ppg on the club circuit back home in Sweden for the Trelleborg Pirates as a high school Sr. So there appears to be some measure of productivity and/or offensive swagg somewhere, here.

Sidy Ndir is also a Euro’ circuit imported hoopsters all the way from  Cosne, Burgundy, France. Sidy goes 6′3″, and 81.64 KG (~180 lbs.). He is technically a g-Sr. from New Mexico State and brings backcourt toughness, experience and 6 ppg on 54% from the charity stripe and 24% when dialing long-distance. So “oui”, clearly Sidy is playing for his defense and not for his offensive acumen.

Winning @Pitt as a modest betting fave (VT-6) is all about, what?

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Panthers who could roar @Tech=1 maybe 1.5.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… both teams have been taking on water as I typed. The Duck Pond swamping U.s.s. Hokiebird and the Allegheny River foundering U.s.s. Panther alike.

Thingy is… V.Tech actually has some talent and even more injuries than that. And the Panthers have some rebuilding left to do.

There is a training-room differential in lieu of what should be a real live talent-gap in play here although that makes no nevermind once this one tips off.

As {sic: being} hurt is just a helluva an equalizer in any indoor sport. Although Buzz and Co. did just get P.J. back and did get up off the O&M mat with a rather useful win vs. Georgia Tech on Wednesday night in the New River Valley.

As Eye would absolutely favor the Gobblers to gobble the Panthers up -if healthy- and yet as we are not, accordingly, all bets are off out on the road, here.


Pitt is a .667 host whereas V.Tech travels at a .428 clip this campaign.

Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame this week -highly unusually enough- includes O.O.C. (out of conference) and conferential reference points in round-robin format alike. The Forum Guide is, therefore, is calling for a 10.3 VicTory on the road; and frankly I’d take a 9.2 triumph right now and just call the whole shebang off with you know hoo looming next. (this was mostly due to V.Tech playing better early head-to-head and then Pitt play really bad head-to-head of late).

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… the Hokies are +6% in shooting percentage margin (all on O), +7% in 3-point percentage margin (all less 2% on O) and +2 in rebounding margin this season.

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the Gobblers are now up +11% in shooting percentage margin (mostly on Pitt’s defensive slip), then up a nearly whopping +16% in 3-point percentage margin (all less 12% on Pitt being “bear” Grylls defensively: “slippy”) and with Tech now up a useful looking +5 in rebounding margin in the last fortnight of runs.

V.Tech is up +4% at the charity stripe for the year.
Although Pitt is +1 on fresh-legs R&R.

  • The Hokies just set records getting to 19 wins overall, and to eight wins in the A.c.c. faster than ever before. Usain Bolt props!
  • Accordingly, a win @Pitt would put the Hurrying Hokies just one game removed from their greatest Atlantic Coast Competition win total, ever.
  • Pitt’s alpha-cat’ (Jared Wilson-Frame) has been hawt of late as he just set a school record by draining at least four 3-pointers for a sixth consecutive game @Boston College. We do need a hand in one #4’s, face.
  • For you ‘cappers… Pitt has now dropped 21 straight on the road— I’ma jus’, sayin’…
  • Trey McGowens and Xavier Johnson have both been a bit chilly of late for Pitt.
  • V.P.I. and Pitt has had several extra-inning games of late, although the Gobblers have taken 75% of these game since 2014 one way or the other.

the call

4:30 pm kickoff!

The Panthers opened up under new big cheddar Chapel shiny enough at 6-zip and clawed their way out to a nearly surprisingly 10 up and 3 down mark. Which really was only 2 FT-makes removed from a rather prosperous 12-1.

Then Soul II Soul struck. As did a fugly o-7 or seven-game Atlantic Coach Chump streak and things were… ♬”back to lifeback to realityback to the herennow.”♪

As the Panthers appear to have a Conferencing thorn in their paw indeed.

As Pitt just blew a halftime lead @BeeCee vs. an F’n Eagle squad balling with 40% of their starters. Finishing 1 for 16 to close or 29% on the night. Yikes!

Or in other words, everything I found/read and R&D’ed up above sure seems like these Panthers have been tamed and/or domesticated of late. Mutual of Omaha Marlin Perkins this just ain’t. The real guy (Jim Fowler) doing real work with a real dart gun for M.P. this, is.

As I do feel better about Buzzketball with a longer bench and I’d surely like to see us get this one over with, pronto, quickly and A.S.A.P. and empty the same {sic: the bench} to conserve as much “chi” or energy for hosting the team you love to hate on a very quick N.b.a. ‘esque looking turn for Monday night.

I like -although not exactly full-blown love- the Hokies to do enough to win here;
as the Panthers have been tail-spinning of late.

(62% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=75, Pittsburgh=59




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