If you missed the Gonzo Ball initial post game thoughts regarding Pittsburgh's 83-58 thrashing of the Pirates, relive the misery that was Saturday afternoon here:
When the Pirates had opportunities, they couldn't capitalize as they missed an alarming number of layups and close put-back attempts. Between the lack of offensive execution, the lackadaisical effort on the defensive end and the lack of discipline on display, yet again, something appears to be amiss between the players and coaching staff.
The Pirates ran into some bus trouble following Saturday morning's practice and had to do a bit of walking. Maybe that will serve as an explanation for their seemingly tired legs on Saturday night. SHU Athletics provides the news in their game recap:
The teams played despite record snowfalls in the Pittsburgh area prompting Pennsylvania to declare a State of Emergency. The BIG EAST Network television crew was unable to get to the Petersen Events Center as was Evon Burroughs, one of the three game officials. Thus the game was officiated by only two.
The snow was so bad that on Seton Hall's bus ride back from their shoot-around this morning, the bus got stuck in the snow on a highway off-ramp and the team had to walk five blocks to the hotel.
All joking aside, I'm sure the bus trouble had absolutely nothing to do with the troubling play on display Saturday night. Walking five blocks in knee-deep snow shouldn't be a problem for collegiate athletes who are expected to be in the best shape of their lives. Obviously, that statement does not apply to the entire Pirates roster.
Bobby Gonzalez would address the walk in his post-game presser as reported by Pitt Athletics:
"I guess when it rains, it pours," Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez said. "Or, like they say, when it snows, it snows. We had a tough one from the beginning ... walking to the hotel in a state of emergency in the middle of the afternoon. Maybe that affected us, I don't know."
Really Bobby? Is anybody shocked by this quote following another Pirates loss? I'm surely not. If a 5-block walk really affected their play, maybe they should start jogging the hill into Livingston upon snowfall, there's another storm coming Wednesday. If it'll increase their stamina and put some life back in their legs, I don't see a problem with it.
Seton Hall pulled within 4 early in the 2nd half before Brad Wanamaker drained a deep 3PT with the shot clock expiring. The Pirates would never again get the deficit under 7 points for the remainder of the game. Adam Littman, of The Pitt-News recounts the painful details:
Right before the shot clock struck zero, Wanamaker shot a high-arching ball over a leaping Garcia who, at 6-foot-9, is five inches taller than the Pitt guard. While Wanamaker fell backward, and the shot went in to give the Panthers a 44-37 lead.
"That was a huge dagger, momentum play for Pitt," Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez said. "We played defense for 35 seconds, guarded the heck out of them."
Gonzo was right in his assessment, the defense was superb on that Pittsburgh possession. It's too bad that it was just one of the few Pittsburgh possessions that were defended with any intensity.
Tom Luicci rather optimistically weighs the Pirates chances at an NCAA Tournament berth in his latest, College Basketball Plus:
Q. Is it time to give up on Seton Hall’s NCAA Tournament hopes after Saturday’s 25-point, three-technical foul loss at Pittsburgh?
Don’t be fooled by the 12-9 overall record and 3-7 mark in league play. The schedule comes back to the Pirates now — to the point where they could win seven of their final eight regular-season games if they can get on a roll. It starts Thursday with a visit by Notre Dame. After that, the Hall has DePaul, St. John’s, Rutgers (twice), Providence, Marquette and West Virginia. All but the latter are well within the Pirates’ reach before the Big East Tournament.
I can't get entirely on board with this assessment. It's tough to say all but WVU are "well within reach" when 4 of their final 8 contests are on the road and they've yet to record a victory away from The Rock. Although possible, it's rather unrealistic to believe that they'll finish 7-1. I just can't bring myself to consider home against Notre Dame and Marquette as, "well within reach" games.
The drubbing at Pittsburgh was the worst loss of the season according to Jerry Carino:
This was the Pirates’ worst loss of the season on many levels. Jeremy Hazell responded poorly to his benching, scoring just two points in 32 minutes. Pittsburgh and Jamie Dixon had an answer for Herb Pope (3-for-13) this time around. At 3-7, the wheels are getting wobbly in what was once a season of NCAA expectations. Now it’s time to wonder whether the Hall will make the NIT.
Such were my thoughts immediately following the game, as I led my post-game comments with:
After falling to USF, Villanova and Pittsburgh, the Pirates will return home licking their wounds, with a new goal for the remainder of the year. Barring a miraculous run in the Big East tournament, the Pirates will now turn their attention to fighting for an NIT bid.
Paul Tyahla of Pirate's Plank believes a post-season bid for the Pirates is in doubt:
Barring a miracle run down the stretch, this team’s NCAA Tournament dreams are extinguished, and the NIT is now in doubt. Even if the Hall holds matchup advantages in most of the individual stretch games, they have done nothing to demonstrate the ability to play consistently well, or to do the things necessary to win on the road.
The Pirates are next in action Thursday night as they return home to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 7pm.