Panthers' Fate Likely Sealed to NIT, Could Benefit Young players, Seniors, Team

by sluggermatt15 | Mar 08, 2015 - 7:34 PM
What MATTers: Panthers' Fate Likely Sealed to NIT, Could Benefit Young players, Seniors, Team

The Pitt Panthers men's basketball team concluded its season Saturday in crushing fashion, with a 66-52 loss to Florida State. The defeat also marked a three game losing streak to end the regular season. During the skid, Pitt also lost at Wake Forest on March 1, and to Miami (FL) earlier this week. Not only did the Panthers lose these games in heartbreaking fashion, their NCAA Tournament at-large hopes went up in flames. As a result, Pitt will have to earn the ACC's automatic bid by winning the conference tournament. Play begins this Wednesday, where the #10 seeded Panthers will be faced with an extremely daunting task of winning 4 games in 4 days. Seventh seeded NC State is up first. Next would loom a date with #2 seed Duke. If the Panthers could somehow get past the Blue Devils, a rematch with #3 Notre Dame or #6 Miami (FL) would be in the cards. In a possible championship showdown, Pitt could meet one of #1 Virginia, #4 Louisville or #5 North Carolina. The full bracket can be viewed below:



Less than two weeks ago Pitt was still in the discussion for an at-large berth. However, the defeat at Wake Forest, 69-66, severely dampened Pitt's chances. Losing to inferior opponents has really been an issue for the Panthers. Earlier in the year, Pitt fell at Hawai'i (RPI #170) , 74-72, and at Virginia Tech (RPI #232) in OT, 70-67. Couple these with a lack of wins versus “quality” opponents, and the Panthers can only blame themselves. Pitt was not opportunistic, given the quantity of games versus highly ranked opponents. Pitt was just 2-5 against ranked teams, including 0-5 away from Petersen Events Center. The lack of a “quality” road victory hurt Pitt's tournament resume. The selection committee greatly values wins away from home. Pitt finished with a 2-9 road record. The committee also evaluates the body of a team's work. The Panthers were inconsistent in 2014-2015. Rebounding, defense, and opponent field goal percentage were Pitt's weaknesses, which at times were seriously exposed. Coach Jamie Dixon has not been pleased with the effort this year, "We've come up short; it's been a combination of things. The defense is standing out, as well as today it was some offensive execution as well.” To reinforce Dixon's comments, Pitt... [Read More]
    0 Replies | 1,037 Views


#Pens Defense Has Made It's Transformation To A Quick Puck Moving Defense

by Kipper | Mar 08, 2015 - 12:26 PM
http://mweb.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on...eams-in-hockey

This Article on CBS about the Pens defense was really good and it discussed a variety of points myself and others here have had since the Trade Deadline.

Losing all of our size and grit the Pens defense looks small and soft. A defense that can do miracles in the Regular Season but what about against Playoff foes such Metro Division teams who are physical and aggressive? We have seen the Penguins struggle badly against these types of teams this year but since the Trade Deadline the Pens defense has looked very convincing against some really good aggressive BIG physical teams.

Have they finally gotten where they needed to be?

Was the addition of Cole and Lovejoy with their ability to move the puck something that has made the defense even better?

One only needs to look at the Detroit Red Wings. More importantly look at the Red Wings when we battled them for the Cup. Those were small defenses who played a lot of games against a tough physical Western Conference. They not only survived but they did so while receiving accolades for their defensive play. What was best about those teams is that those defenses were built for success in the Playoffs.

Now the question will be, is the Pens defense built for the playoffs? We can only hope.

For now however we are seeing the Pittsburgh Penguins defense not only operate in a quicker, puck moving fashion but we have a GM finally that is willing and able to equip his Head Coach with the proper players for his system, unlike his predecessor (Iginla anyone?).

Buckle up, this blue collar Defense loving city just got a little more on the ice
    1 Reply | 2,251 Views


ATP Near and Far: Starting Pitchers

by battlingbucs | Mar 04, 2015 - 3:03 PM
ATP Near and Far is a 10 part series dedicated to assembling two teams of All Time Pirates greats based upon their place of birth. The "near" team will consist of players born exclusively in the state of Pennsylvania and the "far" team will consist of players born outside of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Each roster will consist of 25 players the particulars of how the rosters will be assembled can be found in the introduction post here.

All Time Pirates Near and Far: Starting Pitchers
Pennsylvania: Recall the criteria to be listed as a starting pitcher is merely starting in more than half of the games you have pitched in. For the hitters I used wRC+ and fWAR as my guiding tools likewise for the pitchers I will use ERA-, FIP- and fWAR. As for the list of eligible Pennsylvania pitchers a staggering 41 of them qualify as starting pitchers ranging with anywhere from 1 career start up to over 200.

Looking at the one start pitchers we have Will Thompson (1892), Jake Seymour (1882), Al Krumm (1889) and Alex Jones (1889). Thompson didn’t last long in his start going only three innings and Seymour went 8 but got hit fairly hard both were relatively normal spot starts. On the other hand Krumm and Jones stand out. Jones at just 19 pitched a complete game beauty striking out 10 while only walking 1 and he is the only one of this quartet to play in the majors elsewhere getting a few short stints with 4 other teams. On the opposite end of the spectrum Krumm must have been told he was pitching until the game ended or his arm fell off as he walked 10 batters while surrendering 11 runs (only 10 were earned) in a complete game effort.

Looking for more starts we find 6 players that made either 2 or 3 starts including Alex Beam (1889), Chuck Lauer (1884), Norm Baker (1883), Pete Conway (1889), Harry Jordan (1894-95) and Robert Gibson (1890). If you have excellent recall you may remember Chuck Lauer as he was primarily a catcher/outfielder for the Pirates but in 1884 he started 3 games with fairly poor results. Alex Beam is the only pitcher above to have 2 starts as the other 5 made three. Of the mentioned pitchers Harry Jordan and Norm Baker were clearly the best with Baker having the edge in raw numbers but Baker coming ahead in era adjusted numbers. The... [Read More]
    0 Replies | 2,485 Views


ATP Starting 8 By Birth Country

by battlingbucs | Mar 02, 2015 - 1:04 PM
As you probably know I have been working on assembling two All Time Pirates teams based on place of birth. One of those teams is made up of players born outside the 50 US states and District of Columbia. Recently I just concluded the non-pitchers which for the international team consisted of 130 players. I thought it would be interesting to break that group down a little farther and look at the players on a country by country basis. In all fifteen "countries" are represented in the pool of eligible international players but only four have enough players to put together a starting 8. Below is my chosen starting 8 for each squad.

Canada (17 eligible players)
C: George Gibson
1B: Justin Morneau
2B: John O'Brien
3B: Russell Martin
SS: Pop Smith
LF: Doug Frobel
CF: Jason Bay
RF: Matt Stairs
* Morneau gets the edge over Jimmy Knowles and Frank Colman (who also just lost to Frobel) in the closest race. Martin at 3B probably seems odd but only three players have played any 3rd and one of them Pop Smith is the only one to have ever played SS (Billy Reid is the other with all of one game).

Puerto Rico (24 eligible players)
C: Junior Ortiz
1B: Orlando Merced
2B: Jose Lind
3B: Jose Hernandez
SS: Jose Pagan
LF: Wil Cordero
CF: Carlos Bernier
RF: Roberto Clemente

* Pagan had a 3B or SS spot locked down and Hernandez edged out Fernando Gonzalez, Rey Quinones and Ramon Vazquez for the other spot. Outfield is a mess with Bernier and Cordero barely edging out Sixto Lezcano. Merced could move to the outfield by Carlos Rivera or Eddie Vargas weren't exactly pushing to be started.

Venezuela (15 eligible players)
C: Raul Chavez
1B: Vic Davalillo
2B: Carlos Garcia
3B: Luis Sojo
SS: Ronny Cedeno
LF: Jose Tabata
CF: Gorkys Hernandez
RF: Tony Alvarez

* Al Pedrique challenged Sojo and Cedeno for their starting spots. Davalillo should be in the OF but is the only player with significant time at 1B. As for the outfield Alex Ramirez pushed Hernandez and Alvarez for the final two spots. Jose Castillo is probably the most notable player to miss out but aside from a few flashes he wasn't all that... [Read More]
    2 Replies | 2,643 Views


ATP Near and Far: Outfielders

by battlingbucs | Feb 27, 2015 - 8:58 AM
ATP Near and Far is a 10 part series dedicated to assembling two teams of All Time Pirates greats based upon their place of birth. The "near" team will consist of players born exclusively in the state of Pennsylvania and the "far" team will consist of players born outside of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Each roster will consist of 25 players the particulars of how the rosters will be assembled can be found in the introduction post here.

All Time Pirates Near and Far: Outfielders
International: There are a staggering 50 eligible players for the all international team outfield. An additional 23 players have also played the position and of those I will highlight the interesting case of Manny Jimenez. The Dominican born Jimenez played for the Pirates in 1967 and 1968 appearing in 116 games but remarkably he only saw time in the field in 11 of those games. Equally remarkable in those 11 games he started 9 of them and finished just 3 of them. He was a pinch hitter extraordinaire and excelled in the role posting a solid 126 wRC+. He by far has the most PA of anyone who doesn’t qualify for a position on either team.

Of the 50 eligible players, 32 received fewer than 500 PA. In order for this not to be a long drawn out process I will just briefly touch on these 32 highlighting the ones I see as notable. In the fewer than 10 PA crowd we have Bill Farmer (1888, Ireland), Angel Mangual (1969, Puerto Rico), Alberto Lois (1978-79, Dominican Republic), Bill Miller (1902, Germany), Phil Routcliffe (1890, Canada) and Tony Armas (1976, Venezuela). Manguel and Armas are the two players that had the longest most successful careers of the bunch. Manguel played with the Athletics from 1971-76 mainly serving in a reserve capacity whereas Armas played from 1977-89 with 3 different clubs earning three All Star appearances and twice finishing in the top 5 for MVP.

With fewer than 50 PA we have Luis Marquez (1954, Puerto Rico), Jose Gonzalez (1991, Dominican Republic), Gorkys Hernandez (2012, Venezuela), Felix Pie (2013, Dominican Republic), Frank Smith (1884, Canada), Ruben Mateo (2004, Dominican Republic) and Michael Martinez (2014, Dominican Republic). I am actually a bit surprised by the recency of this list as a player from each of the past 3 seasons... [Read More]
    1 Reply | 563 Views


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