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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: No. 23 Pitt 56, Seton Hall 46

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media columnist

Looking ahead to tipoff …

Game: No. 23 Pitt (18-5, 6-4 Big East) vs. Seton Hall (13-9, 2-7)

Time: 9:02 p.m.

Site: Petersen Events Center

TV, radio: ESPNU, 93.7 The Fan

Here is Pitt’s official page.

And here is the Trib’s Pitt basketball page. Kevin Gorman and I will be on the scene.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. JRay3 says:

    Panthers big movers in the polls today, #23 in AP and #25 in Coaches Poll. Final eight games of conference season more about seeding for tournaments and trying to peak at the right time.

    Interested to see if Pitt has any letdown or starts slow after the huge home win on Saturday and quick turn around. As 16 point favorites this should be one of those games where the team asserts itself over lesser opponent.

  2. Arriba Wilver says:

    They played Cincinnati pretty tough.

  3. TJ says:

    Hours before the game starts…. so I’ll throw out a crazy idea here….

    Steelers are obviously in cap trouble. Getting older and about to lose one of their top WR. They have few offensive weapons and their OL is a work in progress. If the Steelers are in the midst of a retooling project what better way to speed up the process than by trading Big Ben.

    Why not let him reunite with his best friend in Arizona Bruce Arians. Cardinals have a high pick which would allow the Steelers to grab one potential piece to a puzzle. Obviously I wouldn’t settle for just that pick and its highly unlikely that Arizona would make such a trade but considering what they gave up for Kolb you never know. And why not make a move if your the Cardinals if your paying all that money to Fitzgerald with no one to throw him the ball.

    Steelers could then go after someone like Alex Smith and use a 2nd or 3rd round pick to draft a QB to develop. Get some value for Ben before its too late.

  4. Ghost says:

    You’ve got a point — that IS a “crazy idea.” Have you suddenly been brainwashed by Neal Huntington or something‽

  5. TJ says:

    Now now. I wouldn’t say I’ve gone that far off the deep end. I’m just trying to look at the reality of the situation.

    1. Ben will be 31 in March — not old but the hits he takes he’s got 3 or 4 more years left

    2. Steelers are up against the cap as usual — meaning some where the Steelers are going to be thin whether on defense again or losing a top WR in Wallace along with cuts of Harrison, Hampton, Foote and possibly Polamalu

    3. No running game and right now your top 2 receivers are Brown and Sanders — Heath is still around but not exactly young either

    4. OL is still a work in progress. New coach, great but still have yet to see if DeCastro and Adams can live up to their high draft pick. If not then Ben is going to take a beating.

    Can the Steelers still win with these factors? Sure. They can grab a RB off the scrap pile or draft one in the 2nd or 3rd round. They can do the same with a WR. The defense isn’t going to be solved through free agency and won’t be solved in one draft either.

    All I’m saying as crazy as it sounds there are valid reasons to consider moving him; not to mention what he could potentially bring in return.

  6. Steve says:

    Would like to see the Panthers come out and take control early. They are due for a good start offensively rather than the usual struggle to get to 10 points by the 10:00 mark of the first half. Hoping the intensity they played with Saturday carries over and they get another win.

    Things I’ll be watching for:

    * Fewer turnovers than the last couple of games
    * Continued improvement and scoring from Steven Adams and Trey Ziegler
    * Zanna contributing on offense like he was earlier in the season
    * Suffocating defense
    * 70% or better from the free throw line (wishful thinking)

  7. Ghost says:

    That was too quick. It’s as if you knew the screams of protest were-a-coming and had been preparing a defense. ;)

    All I can say is (to quote Ray Stevens as Fatima in “Ahab the Arab” — Craaaazy, Baby!”

  8. Bizrow says:

    major rebuilding if Ben is gone

    Don’t see them going that way

    We lost 5 of the last 6 without him

  9. Steve says:

    Kind of a strange start time and with some snow in the area – crowd may not be in to the game like they were Saturday. Hope I’m wrong and the Oakland Zoo is rocking.

  10. Ghost says:

    That was fun to kick around a bit on a slow, post-Super Bowl Monday. But it ain’t gonna happen. Ben IS the franchise. After that night the lights went out in Georgia a few years back, Ben has done everything the Rooney’s have asked to be a model citizen, so he is staying put. Whether it’s ‘building,’ or ‘rebuilding’ — we do it around Ben. We won’t have another one like him for another generation.

  11. JRay3 says:

    Great point on the turnovers – last three games 18, 13 and 19 turnovers, need that number to come down a little.

    What a transformation Ziegler has made the past 6-8 games, really becoming an offensive piece and seems to be more comfortable in his role. Adams is becoming a force down low, just needs to be patient when he grabs a board at times there are chances for him to make a move rather than look to dish the ball quickly out.

    Fingers crossed on the FT shooting.

  12. Bizrow says:


  13. TJ says:

    I will play idiot poster here.

    “I just made the trade in Madden and it works out awesome for the steelers”.

    But I agree with the comments… Not going to happen and done everything the Rooneys have asked. Never hurts to think outside the box as a fan other wise you end up like a Ravens fan that thinks Ray Lewis was not involved in murder, never took deer antler spray and that there wasn’t a penalty on that play in the end zone.

  14. Ghost says:

    Made the trade in Madden — Ha ha! Good stuff.

    “…and that there wasn’t a penalty on that play in the end zone.”
    But then that makes ME the idiot poster because on the previous thread I actually did argue that there wasn’t a penalty on that last play.
    All is well, though. These bar-stool sports debates are great fun and I couldn’t live without ‘em.
    Gotta run. Kid has practice soon.

  15. TJ says:

    We’ll call it a “ghost” penalty

  16. cosmo says:

    who was your QB ? Batch

  17. bpn8pitt says:


    How do you think they will fare against ND?

  18. JRay3 says:

    Bpn8pitt- In years past the Irish have usually been a matchup problem for the Panthers but I don’t see that this year. The old burn offense that Brey liked to use is a thing of the past and the Panthers can play slow. The Irish don’t have as much talent as they have had in the past and the Panthers are much better defensively than ND and far more physical.

    Offensively the Irish are a half court team similar to Pitt but not near as efficient as the Panthers. The Irish do however protect the basketball and rarely give it away.

    Notre Dame needed ot to beat an awful DePaul team and have lost to Georgetown and UConn, two teams the Panthers handled. Throw in the fact that Pitt will play the Irish at the Pete and I think this is one that will go into the W column as Pitt can wear them down.

  19. bpn8pitt says:

    Agree. They always seemed to be a team that lived and died by the three. They are still 15th in the nation, just under 40%. And 9th in FG %. Could be a good game.

  20. JRay3 says:

    Hopefully the Panther D forces them into tough shots which I think they can…I look forward to it as it is a team that has given Pitt fits and I’d like to see them exorsize one of their nemesis.

    Honestly, outside of Louisville, there isn’t a team in the Big East that I feel the Panthers can’t play with and could be better than.

    I really am looking forward to the Cincy/Marquette rematches as I think they are going to both see a very different Panthers squad from the early season meetings.

  21. Reading says:

    The mystery of the two-foot shot. Uncanny inability to make a shot from under the basket.

  22. Reading says:

    This is like that Penn State-Iowa 6-4 game that set football back half a century.

  23. JRay3 says:

    Well that was a flat 20 minutes for the Panthers. Seton Hall has equaled Pitt on the boards, are not giving many second chances and when Pitt gets one they can’t finish in close. The Hall have less turnovers and certainly are going to make Pitt earn it.

    Definitely the look of a Big East defensive tussle and typical letdown start coming off emotional win This is a game Pitt absolutely must have, need a lot more hunger in second half.

  24. JRay3 says:

    8-0 run, Adams making ft’s to go with 12 boards, Moore a huge three ball and Panthers go up seven. Crowd with some energy hopefully Panthers can begin to get some separation here.

  25. Drew71 says:

    I was AT that 6-4 game. Amazingly mind numbing.

  26. Reading says:

    This DK column curse is starting to rival the SI cover jinx.

    DK: You mean the curse where the column identifies Pitt as a deep but flawed team that’s trusting Cam Wright more, and Pitt beats Seton Hall with a flawed victory in part because Wright was given crucial late minutes?

    That curse?

  27. Reading says:

    Drew, a game for the ages. Ticket might be worth some dough at auction.

  28. JRay3 says:

    This Edwin kid on one leg continues to haunt the Panthers and keep the Pirates in this. Well we knew Pitt could be offensively challenged at times and it rears its ugly head tonight.

    Missed FT’s too many missed buckets around the rim and we have a game going down to the end. Come tourney time you sometimes have to be able to win ugly and battle adversity, tonight’s finish certainly will be a good test of mettle.

    Just survive and move on Panthers!

  29. JRay3 says:

    WHEW. Not going to earn any style points in this one, But a win is a win and that now makes it six of their last seven in conference play.

    Will need a much improved effort at Cinci come Saturday, good thing the team will have four days to prepare.

  30. Drew71 says:

    No, that’s not true.

    SI had the Giants on one year when they won it all.

    So don’t be going and dissing SI like that.

  31. TJ says:

    Going to throw some baseball news in here…

    trib reporting that the Pirates are close to a deal with lefty Jonathan Sanchez which could signal the end of talks with Liriano.

    I know Liriano had a a down year but Sanchez went from being trade for Melky Cabrera to flat out falling off the map. Not sure how you go from Liriano to Sanchez in terms of expectations this year.

  32. kevnj says:

    ridiculous idea. He is a top 5 qb for at least 5 more years.

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