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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Final: No. 18 Marquette 79, No. 16 Pitt 69

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media columnist

Looking ahead to tipoff …

Game: No. 12 Pitt (20-5, 8-4 Big East) vs. Marquette (17-6, 8-3)

Time: 1:02 p.m.

Site: Bradley Center, Milwaukee

TV, radio: CBS Sports, 93.7 The Fan

Here is Pitt’s official page.

And here is the Trib’s Pitt basketball page. Kevin Gorman is having a brat.

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. Drew71 says:

    On my way to Pirate City later this morning. I usually try to arrive reasonably early. If i arrive too early, I can always hang at the Rt. 41 Kovacevic Memorial Starbucks. (I hear they may have to close it.)

    But not today. Too freaking cold. Won’t even cross into the 60s until 9:30 or so. Wouldn’t be surprised if they stay indoors longer than usual and just come outside for the last hour or two.

    Nothing like watching practice. (Cue Alan Iverson.)

  2. 21sthebest says:

    Have fun Drew!

  3. Drew71 says:

    Thanks. I’m gonna try Dejan’s Winnipeg-water-on-the-sidewalk trick.

  4. kr70 says:

    hey Drew, saw a photo of Tabata and he looked lean and mean. What’s he looking like in person? I’m hoping he is over his own operation shut down.

  5. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’ll be at th BC today for the game!

    Might not get to see Pitt in person again for a long time. Won’t be having a brat, though. Hope it’s a good game.

  6. 21sthebest says:

    What????? No brat????

  7. Drew71 says:




  8. Eric Bowser says:

    You are so wordy, Geesh. ;)

  9. Drew71 says:

    This is my Winnipeg.

  10. Thundercrack says:

    Have fun! Report back. No matter what the thread is.
    Pirate talk will prevail.

    (are we still allowed to mention that team by name?)

  11. Arriba Wilver says:

    Once it gets a little warmer, don’t forget to try that experiment putting ice on the parking lot and see how long it takes to melt.

  12. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Second the emotion. We are allowed.

  13. Drew71 says:

    Manny’s here. Of course. Smiling and signing and posing for pictures. I’ll put one up later.

    The Columbus Ohio Blue Devils, a youth team, are watching from the sacrosanct area for PBC guests. Every time I visit, another youth team is here.

    Sunny but cool. Low 60s. Snow on ground. Locals in jackets or hoodies (me). Tourists in shorts and Ts.

    Players outside for 20 minutes now, just warming up.

    Robinson lanky. Hernandez built like a fire hydrant. No spin re Tony Sanchez; looks like he could join the WWE. Some guy named Irwin. I hope that’s his last name.

    Bunt defense drills on Stargell Field. Guessing AJ will wear a football helmit. Running the drill crisply. With coaching re-do’s and feedback when they “miss”. Not rudely given, but direct and professional.

  14. Drew71 says:

    On Clemente Field, get-the-lead-runner-at-third drills. Catcher plays “QB”. Martin and McKenry are among the 3 man drill rotation here. More of the first and second stringers here. Less coaching but less needed. Not a drill has been missed since I wandered over.

    Oops. I just jinxed Leroux. Bad throw to Pedro. Physical, not mental mistake by Leroux so the coaches said nothing. (Smart.)

  15. Milo Hamilton says:

    Anyone say Hoka Hey yet ? Besides you, of course.

  16. Drew71 says:

    Huntington walked thru fans. I’ve seen him close up many times. Comes across as friendly, a little shy, real. That doesn’t make him a good or bad GM. Just observing. When he’s watching players and thinking that no one is watching him, he comes across as intense and interested. Focused.

    Frank’s more outgoing with fans, more of a regular at these venues (not today so far). Less shy. But his smile-shake-thanks-for-coming comes across as plastic.

    As typical in the Hurdle era, practices are very crisp and very organized. Not tight but people hustle. I’ve seen pre-Hurdle practice and other teams practice, so this is observation is a comparison.

  17. Drew71 says:

    No. But I’ll tell you what i WANT to say.

    Watching Pedro. He’s wearing a billowy pullover so I can’t get a clear idea of his playing shape.

    i WANT to yell, “Pull up that jacket and show me your butt”

    Just for reporting purposes. You know that. Right?

  18. Drew71 says:

    Watching a 3B defensive drill. I’ll share later. Don’t want to miss

  19. Drew71 says:

    Andrew looks great. Wiry. Taut. Not an ounce of anything in the wrong place. All smiles.

    Bullpen now. McDonald and Grilli. These guys can throw it. Aside from Grilli’s heat, he has a slider that comes in sharply, but like dead weight. Good luck hitting THAT if it is close to the plate. Off speed breaking balks were an adventure. Hey. It’s February 16.

  20. Drew71 says:

    Cole is up now. More in a bit

  21. Drew71 says:

    Kyle Stark walked by. More on THAT later

  22. Drew71 says:

    And no, Milo. I didn’t.

  23. Milo Hamilton says:

    Thought crossed my mind.

  24. Thundercrack says:

    Later is now. We need more

  25. Drew71 says:

    Shorter and broader than I remembered. Looks like a young Clemens. Easy power. Threw at less than full effort but still popped the glove pretty well. He has the kind of natural, effortless power that I might have THOUGHT was easing back. Nothing really to tell from this. Looking forward to seeing him in games at McKechnie.

  26. Thundercrack says:

    I should be careful what I wish for

  27. Drew71 says:

    Buzz cut. As always. Walks briskly from field to field. Talks to coaches, management and staff then moves on. In several years of coming here, I have never never seen him talk to a player.


    I’m sure he has. I’m sure I’m just picking up on tendency and style, not “rule”.

    By comparison, Neal talks to anyone. Not so much fans, but staff, players without names on their jerseys and numbers in the 70s and 80s. Anyone on that side of the rope.

    Not related to that stylistic conversation: Frank is out. Watching pitchers throw to live batters (but not hitting) on Clemente Field. Unlike the other chiefs, he’s staying at one drill intently. And chatting with Sanchez. No point, but since I mentioned the other chiefs…

  28. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Excellent reporting, Drew. Thanks. Emoticon omitted for your benefit.

  29. Bizrow says:

    I second, thanks Drew

  30. Drew71 says:

    Grilli intense on mound. Friendly with fans. Walking by fans in the midst of practice, he signed 20 or so autographs and chatted people up. No idea where he’s from but comes across as a scraggly country boy. Plenty of Hope would want to take him for a haircut. Seriously. She would.

    Some of Grilli’s comments to fans, out of context.
    – I can’t tell jokes. I forget the punch line.
    – (Someone said: have a great season) As long as we win.
    – as he was about to walk away onto the field, he stopped, said “Come here little girl”. No Milo. Not to me. A girl was there for an autograph but had been too shy to walk up and ask until he called out to her.

    There’s your syrupy moment for those in need of it.

  31. Drew71 says:

    Martin worked up a sweat hitting into a net. Now in line for BP. Inge is here. More later on him when I share what I saw re Inge, Pedro and Hurdle with the 3B drills.

  32. Drew71 says:

    I remember Inge coming up with Detroit when I lived near Toledo and saw him with the Tigers and Midhens. Still looks like a teen. Short and thin. A wonder that he has the power that he has. He may be losing his bat but gotta love an overachiever.

  33. Drew71 says:

    Television just walked by with four pounds of chew or gum in his cheek.

  34. Drew71 says:

    Tabata looks fine. He’ll never be confused with Andrew’s body type butt he looks better than last season. No question. He either hits or he doesn’t. His body is no longer the issue. Good for him for getting it to that point this season.

    But either he hits or he doesn’t.

  35. Drew71 says:

    Better look at Pedro. Still has that kimono on but for him, he looks just fine. You don’t want him to look like Andrew and he doesn’t. You don’t want him to look like he used to and he doesn’t.

  36. pattonbb says:


  37. Drew71 says:

    Leaving now. Never ran into our blog friend.

    He must have gone Deep Groat today.

  38. Milo Hamilton says:

    Nobody talked about his weight when balls started flying over the fence. More importantly, are his ears tucked into his hat ? Now that really matters.

  39. pattonbb says:

    scaredy cat

  40. Drew71 says:

    Kids outside the shagging HRs. No need. If they wait another 30 minutes, they’ll hand em out. I picked up four that way. (No idea what to do with them.)

  41. Drew71 says:

    Wore my fish for nothing.

  42. Drew71 says:

    Moot point. I think he had his ears taken off.

  43. Thundercrack says:

    Who is Television?

  44. Pat4PGH says:

    If it is neing done professionally, i guess that means Kyle Stark is NOT there or if he is they have gagged him!

  45. Thundercrack says:

    Did you happen to see / notice Andrew Lambo?

    I wonder if he was invited to the big camp

  46. Milo Hamilton says:

    No big league invite. He’s lucky to get invited to dinner at this point.

  47. JD says:

    Send a picture of Pedro’s butt !

  48. Drew71 says:

    Here are some observations re the 3B drill before I drive.

    – Hurdle watched. Closely.
    – Just Pedro and Inge, who looked 12 by comparison
    – Pedro looked smooth but so what. Look at the calendar.
    – Inge looked occasionally rusty but so what. He probably is.
    – one time he picked up a roller and couldn’t get it out of his glove. Hurdle said “needs work”. He was joking. They both laughed and as Inge turned around to jog back in line, he kicked the ground angrily. I know. Who cares? Can he still hit? But fans like to see that stuff.
    – Harrison wasn’t drilling with them. Neither were any of the AAA guys we’ve occasionally seen. Just Pedro and Inge. Watched by Hurdle. Telling. Very telling.

  49. Drew71 says:

    Didn’t see him. Probably having dinner with Milo.

  50. Drew71 says:

    That’s Tekulve with autocorrect.

  51. JD says:

    Who is television?

  52. Thundercrack says:

    Inge will hit 12 ST home runs and this blog and many sports talk hosts will clamor for the Bucs to find playing time for him. :-)

    I will ask Drew to remind people to look at the calendar

  53. Drew71 says:

    Speaking of dinner, it’s almost 1:00, and I have a 60 minute drive. Have to get going or I’ll be late.

  54. JD says:

    Good stuff Drew.

    Have you been back to Toledo since they built 5th Third Stadium?

  55. Drew71 says:

    Stopping in the Kovacevic Memorial Starbucks. Have to see if there’s a Wanted poster.

  56. Drew71 says:

    Yes. Working on my 4000 word essay.

  57. JRay3 says:

    Good start in the first four minutes for Panthers on road. I have said all season this is one of the most underrated teams in the nation. Win today and Pitt has one of the easier schedules to finish out league play and will have real shot to win regular season league title.

  58. Milo Hamilton says:

    The good news is Marquette won’t keep shooting like this.

  59. JRay3 says:

    Let’s hope not…Marquette shooting 68.7% from field and have opened up a lead because of it.

    Need to finish the half strong, just keep it close.

  60. Reading says:

    Ridiculous shooting. Possible blowout. Thanks bye week.

  61. Milo Hamilton says:

    What will the score be when Marquette’s shooting 45% ? I’m guessing Pitt will be ahead at that point.

  62. JRay3 says:

    We get them there, could be in good shape…9-3 run has helped get Panthers back in game.

    I really like Taylor and how he has accepted his role on this team but please finish when you are in close.

  63. Milo Hamilton says:

    Very simple JRay, they shoot 59% they win.

  64. Reading says:

    Pitt shooting percentage from two feet away is abysmal. Can we dunk the ball?

  65. Milo Hamilton says:

    I blame Oshkosh for this mess.

  66. Reading says:

    So much for the number 16 ranking.

  67. Drew71 says:

    Didn’t get a good one. How bout my wife’s?

  68. Milo Hamilton says:

    Radio broadcast making much of the rebound disparity. It’s hard to get rebounds when the other team’s not missing.

  69. Reading says:


  70. Drew71 says:

    Yes I am. He seems kinda mean. Really.

  71. JRay3 says:

    Pitt’s zone defense way too soft, giving Marquette too many wide open looks which they have buried. Blue has absolutely owned the Panthers in the two games this year.

    Tough to win on the road, especially against top 20 competition. With this squad it starts on the defensive end of the floor and it was not good enough in the first 20.

    Going to be tough to get back into this one.

  72. Drew71 says:

    See? You ask (without emoticons) and I deliver.

  73. Drew71 says:

    Sounds like a pretty good nickname for somebody, huh? Maybe Hurdle. No such luck. It’s what autocorrect did to Tekulve.

  74. Reading says:

    Losing to Marquette today and ND Monday, will put Pitt back on the NCAA bubble.

  75. Drew71 says:

    I opened it. My company had sponsor level status, advertising, a private box and great seats behind 3rd. Attended a private grand opening gala that was “baseball black tie”. Wore tux shirt, tie , pants but a Mudhens jacket. Got Klinger (Jamie Farr) to sign the jacket. Also attended opening day two days later. Great great park.

  76. Milo Hamilton says:

    Not really.

  77. JRay3 says:

    Pitt is not close to the bubble, most brackets have them as a 4-5 seed today. A loss today does not hurt it is a road game against the # 15 RPI team, a win would help immensely. Notre Dame just lost at Providence to go to 8-5 in league play if they lost at Pitt Monday they are not on the bubble.

    Pitt finishes with ND, St Johns, Villanova, DePaul, South Florida and will be favored in all five of those contests and could run the table but will have multiple wins

    The worst thing about potentially losing today is that it probably eliminates the chance to win the league title as they will be two game back of a couple teams

  78. Pat4PGH says:

    And when you are missing almost every shot giving the bad guys lots of rebound opportunities!

    Does anyone remember why Dante Taylor was a McDonald AllAmerican? He is streaky and such a poor finisher….

  79. Pat4PGH says:

    Does the Pitt defense realize Vander Blue is killing them from that left corner? He was open for the entire 1st half over there…..

  80. Pat4PGH says:

    Blue’s only miss was blocked by Adams!

  81. Drew71 says:

    And for climate change. Freaking cold today.

    And when you eat hot pizza and burn the roof of your mouth?


  82. Eric says:

    The sky is falling!!!!

  83. JRay3 says:

    Not much you can do but tip your hat to Marquette and Blue, they are hitting everything.

    Sometimes there are teams that are just tough matchups and Marquette appears to be Pitt’s. Syracuse would say Pitt is theirs.

    Long layoff for Panthers, could be a good thing they get a quick turnaround with game Monday at the Pete versus Notre Dame to try and get this bad taste out.

  84. Reading says:

    Time will tell. Track record against ND is not good lately. A sixth conference loss would put them with the St. John’s and Villanova group tied for 7th or 8th in the conference. Don’t know how many Big East teams are getting in this year, but if Pitt plays D and rebounds like today, it really won’t matter.

  85. 21sthebest says:

    We’re still waiting.

  86. 21sthebest says:

    Thanks Drew! Excellent stuff today. Much appreciated.

  87. 21sthebest says:

    U.S. National Curling Championships! NBC Sports Network!

  88. radio wave says:

    Excellent blog today fun reading great reports from Drew thanks

  89. Drew71 says:

    You’re welcome. Had a ball. And I figured you guys can kinda live Spring Training through the reports.

  90. 21sthebest says:

    Alright well let’s not pump his ego too much. :-)

  91. 21sthebest says:

    Next time send the weather.

  92. Reading says:

    I apologize for being the Blog’s “Debby Downer,” but just frustrating when Pitt was finally starting to get national attention and respect as a team that might be able to make a deep run in the tournament, and they lay an egg like today. Losing twice to Marquette, coupled with a possible L to the Irish (who Pitt always struggles with) takes the luster off the great Georgetown and Syracuse wins.

  93. 21sthebest says:

    It’s also a possible W with the Irish.

  94. Drew71 says:

    Radio, if you keep that up, Drew’s gonna start going Third Person on you.

  95. Drew71 says:

    So. How did pitt play?

  96. Officer Mancuso says:

    I know as much about Pitt hoops as I know about brain surgery, but I must say, the pollmeisters are eager to respect the program.

  97. LuckyNKentucky says:


  98. LuckyNKentucky says:

    BTW, your thread is up, Drewster.

  99. radio wave says:

    I’m listening to Drake-UNI. What the heck has happened in MVC hoops? Creighton choking it away.

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