Paul Zeise's Pitt basketball chat transcript: 3.11.14

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Paul Zeise: OK, let's get started with today's Pitt chat - start firing questions. Pitt will play Thursday at 2 p.m. against the winner of Wake Forest-Notre Dame

ARS: What does our NCAA tournament picture look like? Still on the bubble?

Paul Zeise: I would say Pitt is on the right side of the bubble and I have a hard time coming up with a scenario that they don't get in. That is reality. I know there are all kinds of doomsday types but the reality is Pitt is a tournament team. Now, I don't think they will get nor do they deserve a good seed but they are safely in the field I believe.

John Tate: How do you feel about Pitt's chances to make a run in the ACC tourney?? How do like their bracket??

Paul Zeise: I'll be honest - I think North Carolina on Friday is a tough matchup for Pitt. I don't like it at all -- but not because North Carolina is some loaded, ultra-athletic, full of NBA players kind of team that the Tar Heels have had traditionally. They aren't that team. Marcus Paige is a really nice point guard and makes a lot of big plays but the key to the Tar Heels is they are huge - and they play really big. Pitt, well particularly Talib Zanna, has not fared well against some of these teams that have size and are physical in the paint. If you remember the last game North Carolina did really well on the glass and that's their game. I do think if they got past UNC they have a better matchup with Virginia. I'm not saying they would beat Virginia necessarily I like that matchup more than their matchup with North Carolina. Of course, they may have to beat those pesky 3-points shooters from Notre Dame just to get there and that is is never easy.

ARS: Now that the ACC tournament is here, any negative feelings expressed by players or fans about losing the MSG venue?

Paul Zeise: Many more fans than players and coaches are upset about not going to New York City. I mean, no disrespect to Greensboro but I'm thinking the selection of Broadway shows and places to eat are not quite as good as those in New York.....

billc: how would you compare James Robinson to Pitt point guards from the last ten years?

Paul Zeise: I don't know, I mean, he is what he is - a hard-nosed kid, a low risk kind of player, he is tough, he is one of those guys who finds ways to win games that aren't always in the stat sheet. He is somewhat different than the Fields/Krauser/Brandon Knight kind of player. He is a team-first guy which really helps him. I think people who are down on him should remember he has been hurt the last few weeks. He is a good player, he just is more of a guy who does his thing within the context and flow of the offense so it isn't always noticed.

Rick: Justin Jamison is visiting and Kobe Eubanks visited a few weeks ago. I think really needs these two kids to sign. If they do, will this cause current players to transfer since they may be over scholarship #?

Paul Zeise: The scholarship thing ALWAYS seems to work out so I wouldn't worry about it. They are one over for next year (this year, class of 2014, however you want to say it) but I am pretty sure something will work out and it won't be a major deal. That's just the nature of it. And if they get those kids, I assure you there will be a scholarship waiting for them....

Frosd: What are your thoughts on Tyrone Haughton?

Paul Zeise: If he can play at all, he solves a huge need. They are losing Zanna - their center options are Randall (more back-up material than anything), Young (not gonna love playing center, see Taylor, Dante) and Uchebo (are you ready to make him a starter based on what you have seen?) -- In other words, if Haughton can come in and be that physical, shot-blocking, rebounding rim protector that he is being hyped to be, he will be an important piece of the puzzle.

Luigi: How is Pitt's health for this week?

Paul Zeise: I think everybody is pretty healthy and available. This has been a good few days off.

chicago_pitt_fan: quick question about the way the ncaa selection committee/rpi views things: i thought winning a road game weighed more heavily than losing a home game. is that the case? pitt def did poorly at the pete but represented itself well on the road....

Paul Zeise: I think both are weighted equally - a road win and a home loss - Pitt's best resume item is this - they are 10-3 in games away from the Pederson Center. And they are also 11-7 in a major conference. Those two things are the two best arguments for Pitt

Panther Bill: I could see the committee leaving Pitt out and punishing them for their weak non-conference schedule if they drop the first game on Thursday. Possible? Likely?

Paul Zeise: I don't think so, I just don't think there are enough other teams out there to justify leaving Pitt out. The Panthers have a better argument than a lot of teams on the bubble - and a lot of them if you look didn't do really well down the stretch, either. There just isn't a lot to choose from.

Goober: Funny to think about, but if Ennis doesn't hit the 35-footer and Pitt doesn't come up with the miracle on Saturday, are we even having the discussion about them being on the bubble right now?

Paul Zeise: You mean if they had won one of those games against the best teams they played? No, probably not. If they had one more signature win, they would be in a much better place - but it is what it is. Imagine if that miracle didn't happen against Clemson and they didn't get the 4-point play against Virginia Tech - then we would be talking NIT likely.

Tom: Who would Pitt rather play on Thursday: Wake or ND? ND always seems to give Pitt fits...

Paul Zeise: Based on what we have seen over the past few years? Obviously Wake is the team Pitt would rather see. Notre Dame just seems to play very well against Pitt and seems to have had the Panthers number. But remember this about Wake - they are one of only two ACC teams with wins over both North Carolina and Duke this year, so the Demon Deacons could prove to be a tougher matchup than you think.

Guest: Can/do colleges buy insurance to cover injuries such as happened to Duran Johnson this year. For instance if Adams stayed could they cover him with insurance in case of a career ending injury?

Paul Zeise: Not the college - the families do. I remember talking to one of Pitt's football players who decided to come back. I think it cost his family about $10,000 for one of those $2 million or so insurance policies. But it isn't the school that purchases the insurance, ti is the families.

Al: This might seem like an odd question but is Mike Young really 6'8"? I believe that's what he's listed as but whenever I watch he seems smaller than the other post players. Maybe it's just because he seems to play so tentatively at times or that he isn't much of a shot blocker, but I just feel like he has no presence in the post where Pitt desperately needs some.

Paul Zeise: I think he is pretty close to that - I've stood up next to him a number of times and I am 6--4 almost 6-5 and he is clearly taller than me. I think he is legitimately a power forward size. The question is, does have center size? Not sure about that one and for Pitt's sake, they hopefully won't find out.

Doug S: What happened with the clocks at Clemson? Real bad gaff by the arena or was Pitt real lucky?

Paul Zeise: Somebody has some explaining to do - that is what happened. Pitt was lucky, they were lucky the basket was called good on the court, otherwise they would have lost the game. It was to close to overturn either way, especially with the goofy clock stuff.

LA Matt: What happened to The Pete? we used to be almost unbeatable there, but not this year!

Paul Zeise: Pitt was unbeatable at the Pete - when Pitt had better teams. That is something that a lot of people are missing - this team is sort of an overachieving team that isn't particularly great at any one thing. They fight hard, they play hard - at the end of the day they are what their record suggests - an above average team. Pitt will go back to winning all of its home games when the team is better than it is this year.

Ryan: You mentioned the roster works itself out, any rumors about Newkirk, I don't see him willing to sit behind Robinson for another 2 years?

Paul Zeise: I've heard no rumors and he seems to be happy and a team-first guy. And there is no law against them playing those two guys together.

LA Matt: I know that you said that Robinson is hurt, but it seems like he lacks quickness and offensive ability, especially in comparison to other point guards in the ACC?

Paul Zeise: He isn't the quickest player but I'd say his offense is more about his willingness to be aggressive and attack. He seems content to sort of run the show but they need more from him - especially since he has been a guy who has shown he can hit shots and get to the hoop when he needs too. It is tough to watch him pass up shots and not drive to the hoop but it seems to be the way he wants to play and Jamie seems to encourage that.

Paul Zeise: OK thanks for participating, I have to run, a lot to do before i get out of town - let's do it again next week.


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