#148 R.P.I. Pittsburgh @ #95 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech men’s basketball returns to Cassell Coliseum after a total in-state beat-down vs. arch rival Virginia on Wednesday night down in the downright Christmas broke and outright frigid New River Valley.
The Hokies play host to my hometown Pittsburgh Panthers at high noon on Saturday— Bimbo’s Pizza, The Living Room, the South Hills Village, and WAR Upper Saint Clair!!! As Pitt invades our homecourt at a likewise chilling looking 8 up and 7 down with a 14th or last place tabbing in Atlantic Coast terms from all of my pre-season magazines! As the Panthers have a thorn in their paw that may go rose by the time 2020 gets here. Nonetheless, and in the meantime they may be just what the Dr(s) over at uva.med ordered. As we surely do need a get well soon A.c.c. house-call here. Although who will win after the train-wreck that was hosting uva? Read on, to find, out…
Pittsburgh Head Coach: Kevin E. Stallings: Age=57, 472–304 (.608) overall, 19-21 (.56o) at Pitt.
Baller Stallings Stallings was born in Collinsville, Illinois. He graduated from Collinsville High School in 1978, where he played guard (6’5″, 190 lbs.) for four years under acclaimed scholastic coach Vergil Fletcher and won three conference championships. Stallings won nearly 100 high school games in three season and Stallings still holds Collinsville records for career assists (665), season assists (284) and season steals (146). After a year at Belleville Area College in where his team went 28–9 and made the N.J.C.A.A. tournament, Stallings enrolled at Purdue and played three full years. His first season, the Boilermakers finished with a 27–8 record under Coach Lee Rose and reached the NCAA Final-4! Purdue reached the N.I.T. Final-4 in Stallings’ junior and senior seasons, during coach Gene Keady’s first two seasons at the helm of the Boilermakers. Stallings started 17 games his senior season and averaged 4.3 points and 2.6 assists per game. Student Stallings received a bachelor’s degree in business management in 1982 and a master’s degree in counseling in 1984 —both from Purdue.
Coach Stallings started out under legendary coach Keady and went to six straight Boilermaking big dances (NC2A’s) and nabbed three Big-10 rings as a Purdue homegrown assistant. After a brief tenure under Roy Williams at Kansas, Stallings got a big whistle job at Illinois State in 1993. All he did at the lesser I.S.U. was notch two conference championships in six years with four post-season bids to show for it. After that coach Stallings went to Vandy where he only made 12 post-season appearances for the perennial revenue sport cellar dweller in So.East terms in 17 campaigns. Coach Stallings even shockingly won the S.E.C. outright in 2o13 and is by far and away Vanderbilt’s winningest coach. Coach Stallings sports three Conference Coach of the Year awards on his resume`.
Coach Stallings team’s have a rep’ for up-tempo fast-breaking hoops, with an emphasis on outside shooting and traditional 3, 4, 5 big man post-play. One could also dare say he has a rep’ for fan-interactions– some of which have been more interactive, loquacious, even downright frisky than others.
Coach Stallings is big with the Coaching for Literacy program. Daddy Stallings and his wife Lisa have three children: Jacob, Alexa and Jordyn. Jacob was a four-year letter-winner in baseball at North Carolina and is currently a catcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. (Go Bucs!)
Pittsburgh at a glance:
- 96th in FG percentage D allowed (41.6%).
- 311th in scoring O (67.5 ppg).
- 319th in offensive rebounding (8 o-rpg).
- 329th in Turnover Margin (–3.2 tpg)!
- (everything else average to dullest possible average)
Pitt Returning Starters=zero!
- 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 is now the de facto Panther alpha scorer. Albeit at a truncated looking 12.4 ppg on a gunning looking 36% from the floor and 29% 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. 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 (3.8 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 free-style rapper. Might possibly be a fringe overseas Pro’ if he keeps improving by the time he ends his senior season ends in March of next year.
- Shamiel Stevenson is a rookie year Great White North (Toronto Mapleleaf) imported baller who stands in at 6′6″ in height; and does not have a weight listed in his bio’. Although Lindy’s says 230 lbs. so we will go with dat. Lindy’s also says he is a sturdy swing-man, a fine athlete and a utility baller who can defend multiple positions. Right now, 15 games more than you or I into his D-1 collegiate career, Shamiel is dropping 10.1 ppg with a useful 5.2 rpg all on 52% overall. His 30.4% 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.
- 6′6″, 185 lb. nugget year Marcus Carr is your beta-scorer at 10.9 ppg for the Panthers. He is also your assist leader in dimes dropped at 4 apg on solid enough shooting at 47% total and 46% from deep. This tells you how often he shoots from deep in the first place. Marcus is also a Toronto Argonaut N.A.F.T.A. boarder-crosser same as Stevenson above. The tag here says that Carr has more of a Pt.Guard frame although that he is really more of a shortie home-position off-G than he is anything else. Marcus is said to be a hard-nosed defender who enjoys pressing the ball and is second in steals (.8 spg). Said to enjoy contact on offense and Carr also knocks down the team lead at 91% on his FTA’s, so the mo’ contact he can solicit the better. Has a silver medal for Canada and was on their high school national champion runner-up to boot. Marcus has an older brother (Duane Notice) who was a U.S.C. Gamecock final-4 baller who now balls overseas for Poland for BM Slam Stal. Marcus was no.97 in last years Rivals class and he too might earn a fringe exported hoops paycheck come 2021; which would only enlarge his: “extensive shoe collection”.
- Leading scorer, one #4, Ryan Luther is a 6′9″, 225 lb. final year P/F with a stress-fracture (again) in his right-foot; may St.Servatus bless. Gone are Ryan and his 12.6 ppg and whopping 10.1 rpg as his senior campaign was off to a big big departing double-double start. Major W.I.A. here sports-fans with a deft 46% and 39% shooting touch from a skillful big who was finally coming into his overall all-around-game own.
- Lotta rookie year ballers getting major minutes here. Maybe we should (eventually) ask 2021 how that tastes however 2018 would like to spit that out right now.
- Lotta ballers (4) gonzo (66 ppg and 30 rpg) with expiring eligibility last year | and then five mo’ transferred out! (i.e. leaving Pitt with four whole returnees and 25% of them are walk-ons!)
- Shooting itself and Pt.Guard play are whispered to be the bugbears with these Panthers.
Pitt Bench: (depth=2 to 4 deep, ‘pends on the nite)
Khameron Davis goes 6′4″ and is a muscular looking entry-year S/G at a cut-up 195 totally chiseled lbs. He too imposes a whopping 6′10″ wingspan and is said to be primarily a defensive stopper at this youngling stage of his college career. 5.4 ppg and the team lead at 54% 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.
6′2″ 170 lb. r-senior year Jonathan Milligan is a shooting specialist at the One plain and simple. He’s netting you 6.5 ppg in relief from the Panther pine although his 23% when dialing long-stance is way way off course vis-à-vis 75 JuCo% (no, that’s not a typo) two years ago. Jon’ is a Word of God and then also a Kilgore College twice transferred baller. Milligan is a cat-quick One who sometimes has a hard time with decision-(making); as he is physically talented every bit as he is mutually mentally, wild. Miligan did average 15 and change at Kilgore and was an outburst type scorer in high school (Tampa, Florida).
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of Panthers who could start @Tech=1, (2 with Luther).
The takeaway here is… as someone wrote last time… has tempo needy Virginia Tech hoops been… exposed?
Are they a more talented version of the 7-zip coach James Johnson starting squad?
Because they were at home last time out vs. hateful uva; so that Home/Away splits vector has no smoke here. And yet Pittsburgh is o for the year on the road and Virginia Tech is 90% thus far at home.
And “aye”, I’m sure hoping that that’s that and that’s it as my O&M hooping trust quota is down here. Likewise, -whispers said- that our team itself seemed really (bleep)-kicked, or down, after the curb stomping they took when uva razed our very own Cassell Wednesday night. As lesson learnt to self here… I wrote that preview before I (finally) heard from my hoops sources. Then Wednesday afternoon as I was out -thank you Coach God- as I was out running 3o4 game-trails, I was literally thinking out-loud: “Tech could actually get whacked, here”. The sourcing was that suspect indeed. The question is, is Pitt resourceful enough?
The short answer is: I sure hope not. Because if we can not beat the unanimous 14th place, (or i.e. last place A.c.c. team); at home; well than what place are, we?
Pitt just looks like a hoops club missing too many pieces to win as the visitor here… nevertheless, I did not exactly call that pay-window on uva-25.5 points on Wednesday night. (Which would have broke the proverbial bank).
As I gotta admit, I’m suffering a bit from textbook Recency Theory or horn’s-effect here. As my Hokie roundball confidence scale has recanted and is nearly on the O&M, schnide.
That and our shooting has cooled by 7% overall in our last five; and our deep-ball has positively chilled out by 12% over the same time-frame.
Whereas in those very same most recent five contests, Pitt is now out-shooting us by 2% on 3’s and out-defending us by nearly 4% overall and by a whopping 8% from deep.
As Pitt is averaging 52 ppg in A.c.c. play whereas we/Virginia Tech are averaging 54 ppg in A.c.c. play.
You do the maths…
(76% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=72, Pittsburgh=60