Pitt's physicality on defense makes impression on ACC
Pitt professed all along that it wouldn't have to adapt to the ACC as much as the league would have to adjust to playing against the physicality of the Panthers.
So, it should come as no surprise that the recurring theme following Pitt's victories over N.C. State and Maryland was its toughness.
“They were tougher than our team was, period,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said after Pitt's 74-62 victory Saturday in Raleigh, N.C. “They defended us tougher than we defended them. They got after loose balls, they pushed the ball on the break. And we did not respond.”
Gottfried called it a “tough lesson to learn.”
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon echoed those sentiments after a 79-59 loss Monday at Petersen Events Center, noting the difficulty of driving the lane against Pitt caused his players to stray for perimeter shots.
“If you drive, you're going to get bumped,” Turgeon said. “They're going to reach in. A lot of times, they strip it or hit you. So I do think that we settled for too many jump shots, which was disappointing.”
Gottfried called the Panthers' ability to strip the ball out of an opponent's hands or diving onto the floor for a loose ball, which resulted in fast-break opportunities and points off turnovers, “part of being tougher with the basketball.”
That, ESPN analyst Dick Vitale said, has become Pitt's trademark the same way the 2-3 zone defense is associated with Syracuse.
“They've always had that toughness approach,” Vitale said. “I think it started with Ben Howland and passed on to Jamie (Dixon), that physical approach and mental toughness that they bring every day. You're really going to have to compete to get good shots against them.
“There are certain programs that get certain labels that help them big-time psychologically. … The mindset is where you're at a negative before you ever start playing, and I think that Pittsburgh has that, that label of being tough.”
And if that trademark toughness takes its toll on their opponents?
Well, that's just tough.
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt football coach Chryst refutes analyst Wannstedt’s opinion
- Pitt notebook: O-line coach still uncertain who will start at center vs. Iowa
- Pitt’s secondary has room for improvement
- Pitt football notebook: Chryst still seeking improvements in running game
- Pitt rallies to defeat Florida International, stay undefeated
- Pitt notebook: Backup Anderson spells Voytik for series
- NCAA women’s Final Four site selection committee visits Pittsburgh
- Pitt showing respect for Florida International