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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Pitt 84, Duquesne 67

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to tipoff ..

Game: Pitt (6-0) vs. Duquesne (2-2)

Time: 1:02 p.m.

Site: Consol Energy Center

TV, radio: CBS College Sports (national), 93.7 The Fan, Pitt IMG Sports

Here is the official live summary.

Here is our Pitt page. and our Duquesne page. Chris Harlan and I are 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. theplanisworking says:

    For Bizrow the Retired………………..

    Corey Olsen

    November 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Lynchburg VA.

  2. Drew71 says:

    If we’re going to be politically correct, I think it should be
    Bizrow the Work Challenged.

  3. Brandie says:

    Bizrow The employment Liberated!

  4. JoeyBats says:

    That’s former Duquesne Duke, TJ McConnell now starting for Sean Miller’s, Arizona Wildcats in the picture /article below

    They beat the Duke yesterday–ncaab.html

  5. Drew71 says:

    Since this is Saturday, I’ll use this as the Morning Thread and ramble a bit.

    And we all know I usually don’t like to ramble.

    Or speak meanly of people.
    (Thunder is not People. We’ll have a contest during Spring Training to decide what he is.)

    Anyway. pitt football…

    If pitt wins their innocuous little bowl, this year should qualify as the turn of the tide.

    Certainly not King Tide yet. But has the flood stage begun?

    And before I give my reasoning, or at least my observations, please recognize how grudging this is. I am NOT a pitt fan.

    – 2012 regular season: pitt finished 6-6 with three conference victories in a terrible Big East…vs…
    – 2013 regular season: pitt finished 6-6 with three conference victories in a very good to almost excellent ACC.

    The bowl game will not only cap but define their season. Has the tide turned or am I just washed up?

    In last season’s bowl, they fell behind a, well, ok 6-6 Ole Miss team in the first quarter, 14-0, and clock- or cheerleader-watched their slow, dopey way to a 38-17 pummeling that wasn’t as close as the score. Though granted, Ole Miss has some of the best cheerleaders on the planet.

    Yesterday pitt may have been outrun and out-talented but at least they TRIED to stay with a better team. They lost the game but they fought through a terrible start, meaning they did not lose dignity.

    pitt isn’t ready to beat very good teams. Yet.

    But if they win their bowl, especially after losing their last two – last season against Ole Miss and the preceding year a, hmm, hard fought 22-point loss to the immortal 2011 SMU Mustangs – then what do we say?

    EYE will say that if pitt BEATS whatever directional school or 7th seeded major conference team they play, the tide will have begun to rise.

    – Rip Tide Drew

  6. Drew71 says:

    I can’t wait for the Winter Meetings.

    I hope we have daily WM Threads.

    I hope we analyze every Huntington press conference.

    And Minor League acquisition.

    And rumor.

    I’m working on a song for the Winter Meetings.

    I. Just. Can’t. Wait.

  7. 21sthebest says:

    Awesome game!

  8. Drew71 says:

    Here’s my last Stoopid Thought for the morning.

    Pick whichever one you wish to ignore.

    Did anyone see the Civil War last night? For the uninitiated, Oregon-Oregon State.

    What a game. What a fourth quarter. What a comeback drive by Mariota after a mostly forgettable game.

    OSU’s only mistake, they scored too quickly. Left 1:38 on the clock.

    Mariota only needed 1:09 of it.

    Another of many examples of why I find the college game to be FAR more exciting than the NFL.

    At least it appears to be more end-of-life-as-we-know-it meaningful to everyone involved.

    “Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid”
    – John Wayne

    (Unfortunately these are the words I live by)

  9. Milo Hamilton says:

    Funny, just last night I was analyzing the Pirates lack of activity over a few adult beverages. I don’t seem to remember it being set to music though. Oh we’ll, for some reason I’m feeling kind of old this morning.

  10. Drew71 says:

    If it means anything, of the Pirates last three major offseason acquisitions, only Martin’s had occurred by this date, and just barely.

    Liriano signing Feb 8
    Liriano almost the first time Dec 21
    Martin signing Nov 30
    AJ trade Feb 19

    If it means anything, and it probably doesn’t, the one i REALLY disliked was the early one.

    Proving only: What do EYE know? I thought Huntington would (and should) be fired last offseason.

  11. My only concern is why college football teams can’t or don’t play defense anymore. Sure, it’s exciting knowing a game is really never over until there’s a 2 or 3 TD lead with 3 minutes to play.

    But that Oregon-Oregon State game was a prime example.

    And Fresno State-San Jose State was 42-41–at the half. It only ended 62-50, but the potential for that game to go into the 70’s or 80’s was there. Without OT.

    I like to see some good, old-fashioned defense once in a while.

  12. Naje says:

    Did you see the Central Florida game, Drew? The sunshine bowl, or whatever they want to call it….

    I bring it up because I’m Central Florida’s good luck charm. As a Louisville fan, I’ve tuned in to Central Florida games on three occasions this season:

    1. at Louisville – I tune in for the last 10 minutes of the game… see CF take the lead, UL re-take the lead and the CF win it at the end. Thought, “Hmm…this QB is pretty good.”

    2. at Temple – Tune in for the last seven minutes of the game. See CF take the lead, Temple re-claim the lead and then CF score the next 10 points to win 39-36. Thought, “Hmm… will defenses ever play deep enough to NOT allow this guy to fling bombs late in the game?”

    3. vs. USF – Tune in to see another fourth quarter comeback….just a routine 52 yard bomb for a touchdown and the win. Thought, “Hmm…this guy’s got an arm and a few 4th Q comebacks. Does he have an NFL future?”

  13. Arriba Wilver says:

    Happy Birthday, Milo.

  14. Drew71 says:


  15. Drew71 says:

    Yes, he may. Look for a good year from UCF in 2014.

  16. Arriba Wilver says:

    There are some seriously Stoopid comments on Deadspin about the Bell non-touchdown hit Thursday night.

    Like this one:

    “Maybe I’m in the minority here but… defenders always get a bad rap for leading head first on big hits all the time, but that’s all I see running backs doing these days and they always come out as the victims. I understand the importance to score on this play, but I can’t sympathize with Leveon Bell, especially if/when he goes suing the NFL one day because of brain trauma.”

  17. Drew71 says:

    It’s being regulated out of the NFL, too. Not quite as far but on the same trajectory.

  18. Drew71 says:

    If we want some good Shutdown D, we’re all gonna have to become Boston Bruins fans.

    Too soon?

  19. Drew71 says:

    And these Duquesne game threads are pretty awesome, too.

  20. Naje says:

    AW… how about this: if that play occurred anywhere else on the field, with Bell’s helmet coming off in the middle of his leap to get more yards–in essence, in midair–would the play have received THAT much scrutiny?

    Really, as SOON as the helmet comes off the whole world stops and we MUST place the ball exactly where it was when his helmet came off. What if Bell’s head would have come down on someone’s cleats? Oooh…is that another rule we should write?

    Bell was in the air when his helmet came off. Let him touch the ground before proclaiming he’s “down-by-helmet-being-blown-off-his-head-by-headhunters.”

  21. Jim S. says:

    Good for TJ McConnell. He never got the respect out of HS that he deserved from D1 coaches. He played a great game. He’s a terrific college point guard, who just might be what puts AZ over the top in their quest to get to a Final Four.

  22. Jim S. says:

    I don’t think it will go well for Duquesne today. I’m a Pitt fan, but I also loved the Dukes as a kid. I would really like for them to get relevant again.

    Villanova wins a thriller over Kansas.

    Arizona pulls away late vs. Duke

    Creighton’s late rally falls short vs. SDSU.

    I enjoyed a lot of exciting college hoops yesterday.

  23. Arriba Wilver says:

    Naje–yes, they made that point in the article (which wasn’t Stoopid). It’s not even reviewed anywhere else on the field. He’d get his forward progress.

  24. Arriba Wilver says:

    Interesting little blurb from Jim Callis about the Pirates outfield prospects:

    He envisions long term outfield of Meadows, Cutch and Polanco.

  25. Arriba Wilver says:

    Kaley Cuoco’s birthday is also today.

  26. Naje says:

    Ridiculous, AW; just ridiculous.

  27. theplanisworking says:

    Now THAT is a birthday worth celebrating !!

  28. theplanisworking says:

    Safe travels to Cleveland, Milo.

  29. theplanisworking says:

    Speaking of no D in the college game……

    a once-proud defense was at Nebraska.
    They gave up 38 yesterday to Iowa.
    Pelini had another meltdown on the sidelines, then said in the postgame presser, “go ahead and fire me”. I think this is his 8th meltdown?

    He will get his wish, I believe.

  30. I believe you’re right.

  31. Could be really long-term. Meadows is 2-3 years away at best. Marte and Josh Bell will hold the fort and hopefully not get traded. But Bell is 2-3 years away, too.

  32. 21sthebest says:

    TJ never got looks from D1 coaches because he was really small throughout high school. He grew a couple of inches his first year at Duquesne. He even said he needed this past year off to get stronger.

  33. theplanisworking says:

    Ohoho State not looking good, and just had 2 starters ejected.

    Not good at all.

  34. Brandie says:

    Is that where those aspiring to be Santa Claus go to be educated?

    Greetings Rubber Plan Man!

    Happy Birthday to both Meye-low and Kaley Cuoco!

  35. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks, Brandie.

    Santa Claus’s train in Santa Claus, Indiana, you goofball.

    And I could celebrate kaley Cuoco’s birthday every day. ;)

  36. Lad 9 says:

    With you on that Plan. She is a stunner. Happy birthday to Milo as well. All the best to one of the blog’s good guys!

  37. Brandie says:


  38. Brandie says:

    Must be where the elves train then!

  39. JRay3 says:

    Pitt uses important 9-3 run to close out half and heads into the locker room with 39-35 advantage in highly entertaining opening half of city game.

    Panthers looked uncomfortable for a stretch offensively as Dukes were fighting for every inch and bringin an intensity Pitt did not match at times. Expect a little different effort in the second half after Dixon makes some adjustments.

    Pace of game settled finally after hectic play for a while. Duquesne was attacking the rim quite a bit as evidenced by 14-6 FT advantage and that will need to change, although Pitt was aided by Dukes poor FT shooting in opening 20 minutes.

    One comment from the broadcast of note, the broadcast team doing the game for CBSSports were discussing the Panthers and commenting on watching them so far early this season and stated they very much look like a Top 15 team.

  40. JRay3 says:

    Duquesne refusing to go away for a moment retakes lead, but Pitt uses another spurt and current 7-0 run to go into first tv timeout with four point advantage.

    Could be looking at 40 minute game today.

  41. Lad 9 says:


  42. Lad 9 says:

    Good run for the Panthers. Talent disparity starting to show.

  43. theplanisworking says:

    Duquesne on fire from 3.
    Pitt ice cold from 3.
    Thats why this game is close.

    If Pitt can turn up the perimeter D, they could breathe easier.
    But Duquesne is scrappy, and wont quit.
    I give Ferry a lot of credit for that.

  44. JRay3 says:

    And these last five minutes demonstrate why Pitt will be a very dangerous team as they go on 12-0 run to erase three point deficit and jump out to nine point cushion. Solid defense leading to transition basketball getting opposition on heels a bit.

    Just a far more explosive and athletic team.

  45. Brandie says:

    Good. Great to see you, oh fine nine!

  46. JRay3 says:

    Robinson from the outside, stiff defense down low and than Robinson quickly gets ball out to the outlet Johnson as Panthers run and blow game open 69-54 as they have wore down Dukes and finally taken control of game.

  47. theplanisworking says:

    Pitt pulling away.

    You can teach hustle, you can teach effort, but you cant teach talent.
    I give credit to Duquesne for staying in it today, but the talent gap is too great.

  48. Brandie says:

    That is their identity…explosive and athletic. Now, they are tournament challenged. They need to learn how to finish what they start.

  49. Drew71 says:

    For those of you who remember or care about this stuff, my wife and I think we saw Gregg Allman walking around the Space Coast last night.

    Coulda been a lookalike but he’s a semi regular around here. If you check out the dates of his winter tour, which starts next month, you’ll see he has several stops on the Space Coast and he has several dates across Central Florida.

    He lives in Savannah but he’s here so much that I wonder if he has a vacation home somewhere in the area. Vero Beach, an hour south, is a bit on an enclave for the east coast famous set.

  50. Lad 9 says:

    The “Space” coast seems appropriate for Gregg….

  51. Lad 9 says:

    Same here Branimal. Always nice to win the City game.

  52. theplanisworking says:

    That had to be the closest, hardest-fought 17 point win I have seen.
    Pitt’s athleticism won out in the end.
    Duquesne fought hard and shot well, but couldnt overcome Pitts better athletes.

    Little concerned about Pitt’s shooting today………. they need to have a good % from outside to keep the middle open. But a team cant shoot lights out every game.

    Overall, a good win.

  53. theplanisworking says:

    And now we turn the day over to Drew Allman, and SEC football.

  54. Arriba Wilver says:

    East Coast famous set? Probably should check with Dejan.

  55. JRay3 says:

    Nice job by the Panthers to pull away in the second half from a game Duquesne squad.

    Wright with a career day as he poured in 20, Patterson continues to display his all around improved game adds 18 and four Panthers score double digits.

    Pitt improves to 7-0 on the year and faces a surprising Penn St team that knocked off St John’s last night in the ACC-Big Ten challenge on Tuesday.

  56. Drew71 says:

    I was including Dejan in that illustrious set.

    Maybe I should put that another way.

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