Paul Zeise's Pitt basketball chat transcript: 2.11.14

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Paul Zeise: OK, let's get it rolling. Last week, two ugly wins, this week an opportunity for two huge wins. Pitt-Syracuse, Lamar Patterson, Zanna's ankle - fire away and we will start answering them

chicago_pitt_fan: what do you think more is happening: 1) reverting to the mean 2) missing johnson more and more or 3) just not very good? obviously we were crushing the bad teams earlier in the season....

Paul Zeise: A lot of things are going on right now starting with the injuries. Patterson being hurt and Zanna being hobbled has hurt big time as they are two guys the Panthers need to score if they are going to have a good offensive day. And Durand Johnson - you think they miss him? Without him they don;t have a second guy who can actually put the ball in the hoop. Pitt will work through this right now but getting those two healthy is huge

p83grappler: how much do you think style of play of pitt's opponent impacts how pitt is perceived as being good/bad or otherwise? it seems Jamie like to play it close to the vest when playing tough defensive, slow down teams like va, Miami, vt. what do you expect in the more up tempo games with the cuse and nc?

Paul Zeise: I don't know about uptempo with Syracuse though I think that may be the approach I'd take as I wouldn't want to let them set up their zone every possession . Against UNC, the game may be a little more uptempo but at the end of the day it is about Pitt and Jamie likes to play halfcourt possessions and run clock. And he does that because it helps his team stay in games against more skilled offensive teams but against some of these teams it leaves them in games.

Bill: At what point us rest and recuperation better than playing hurt. Would sitting a game or 2 get Talib or Lamar right? Both seem awfully finished right now

Paul Zeise: I think you have to tough it out - these are two big games and they are two key players. I think the key is - if you get through these two games and survive, say go 1-1, you are in great shape and then you have eight days off to rest.

Paul Zeise: What are your thoughts about Syracuse-Pitt matchup? What did you learn from the first game between these two teams?

chicago_pitt_fan: with the horrid non conf schedule and pitt's poor record vs the rpi top 50, are we assured ncaa bid at this point? have we done enough to lock it up?

Paul Zeise: Lock it up? No. But even if Pitt loses these next two, as long as they win all the rest of their games in the ACC and finish 13-5, there is no way in the world they are getting left out. Pitt doesn't have many good wins obviously, but they have no bad losses and that will be enough to get them a bid, especially from a major conference.

Bill: Lots of higher seeds lose in tourney - if seeding was so predictable everyone would ace their brackets

Paul Zeise: Yes but again in general higher seeds are the better teams

Bill: Is seeding that big a deal? It hasn't helped much in past. Getting in and doing damage should be goal and not bragging right of a number

Paul Zeise: I think it is to a point. The road is a little easier if those early games arYou want to avoid top seeds in first weekend.

chicago_pitt_fan: with the current injuries, you think we will split the next 2? really?

Paul Zeise: I think Pitt will play much better tomorrow than they did the last two games. I just feel like they are going to be up for the game and play well as they always do against Syracuse. I know the Orange are ranked No, 1 but from a matchup standpoint I like Pitt's chances in this game a lot more than their chances in the game against North Carolina Saturday to be honest. But if Patterson is healthy and they play well, they could win both. I think, they will win at least one so to answer your question, yes, they will go 1-1 this week at worst.

Al: Clearly, the offense struggles mightily without Patterson in top form. My question is, what does this say about next year? Without Patterson or Zanna, I don't see anyone filling those roles next year, is it possible the offense will be even worse?

Paul Zeise: Well, that is a great question. You hope that all of the younger guys take a huge step forward, especially Newkirk and Artis, who seem to be the best of the bunch offensively. Also, you have to hope Cam Wright continues to improve his offensive game and James Robinson continues to develop that jumper. That is a long time from now and there are a lot of things that need to be resolved between now and then but in general, I think your concerns are valid, who is going to score next year?

Georas: Do you think this team has any NBA players?

Paul Zeise: Hard to tell because the best two candidates might be Young and Artis and they have a long, long way to go and a lot of development to go before they get there.Patterson is sort of a fringe NBA guy because he is a tweener. If he gets there, he will have to really show he can score at a high level against bigger guys. He clearly will make lots of money playing hoops, just not sure if it will be in the NBA. Zanna is in same boat - I think he is a pro, just not sure he is an NBA guy.

Joey12: What are your thoughts on Patterson's status for tomorrow?

Paul Zeise: I don't think he is going to miss this game even if they amputate his thumb. He is going to play and they have given him two days of rest and treatment to get that thumb back to a better place so I think he will be good to go. Will he be 100 percent? No, not likely. But he will be in a much better place than he was Saturday against Virginia Tech

Ryan: I understand Young is a freshman, but, one minute he's hitting a 3 and the next he's hitting the side of the basket on a 3, why has he been so up & down?

frestink: What is going on with Michael Young? No rebounds? Is he really getting better?

Paul Zeise: Great point by both of you - Young has been frustrating. He really looks like he could be a superstar but there is something missing right now. It seems he is playing extremely passive and thinking too much instead of just playing. One of the things about Artis is he goes out and just plays and if he makes a mistake, so be it. Young has played tentative and I am not sure he has fully transitioned from the high school game, yet.

granderson: Does Pitt need to beef up its schedule given how bad the ACC has been?

Paul Zeise: Yeah, a little bit but not as much as some people think. The schedule is what it is - but this isn't the Big East right now where the conference schedule is going to boost a team's RPI through the roof. Pitt could and should play a few better games because the ACC looks to me like a league with a lot of teams still in some stage of rebuilding - and that isn't a good thing.

Ryan: Any chance Jamie goes with the Newkirk, Robinson backcourt to get more scoring? That would also put Paterson at the four & help spread the floor more.

Paul Zeise: Well he has used that smaller lineup quite a bit recently and that's precisely why - and it also shows how much they miss Durand Johnson because it enabled him to play Johnson at the 3 and Patterson at the 4 and that is a matchup nightmare for teams. We have seen this lineup some and I like it -- not sure I'd do it much against Syracuse, though, because you want to get the ball down low and to the big guys

Paul Zeise: OK that looks like it is just about it - thanks for participating let's do it again next week.

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