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Sunday column: Pitt’s way is it

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

RALEIGH, N.C. — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Sunday column loves that Pitt was able to just be itself entering the ACC. Something to be said for that.

Here’s a video I put together of Talib Zanna and Lamar Patterson, offering senior perspective on exactly that …

Random randomness from the scene: The quote that ends the column above, from Cam Wright, is the best I’ve gotten from any athlete in some time. Totally off-the-cuff, too. … It’s easy to point to Pitt’s 63 percent shooting from the floor in the second half, but the fact is that all that offense began at the back end. The Panthers outrebounded N.C. State by eight — and the Wolfpack actually closed that gap with some cheapiest in garbage time — then took the ball and bolted up the floor hard to the basket. “All we wanted to do was push,” Jamie Dixon said. … Michael Young has outrageous athleticism, as he displayed again with that right-handed tomahawk jam. It was a key point in the game, as I reminded the freshman, and he could just as easily have put up a layup. “Yeah, I know,” he replied with a sheepish smile. “My coaches get on me about dunks. But, you know …” Yeah, we know. We’d do it, too, if we could, right? … T.J. Warren, who looked in the early going like every slashing forward who had every knocked Pitt out of NCAAs, was torn down physically by Wright in the second half. But I also heard from Raleigh folks that he has a tendency to slow down deeper into games. Too bad. Has NBA-level talent. … Still on the subject of the opponent, I’d strongly suspect Mark Gottfried will be working on transition defense. Of which the Wolfpack played exactly none. … More Josh Newkirk and less James Robinson? Only asking. … I’m guessing there are better ACC atmospheres than this one. PNC Arena is shared by the Hurricanes, and the place really feels more like NHL than NCAA. I mean, it’s OK. They had 14,000-plus, which is more than the Pete can hold. But the Pete is all hoops, part of its beauty.

The game story by beat man Kevin Gorman focuses on Zanna and Patterson.

The notebook focuses on those freshmen.

>> I’ll be flying home this morning, cutting it perilously close to faceoff for Penguins and Jets. I’ll make it, though. And I will have a Monday column off the game.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage.

Here’s Jets news from the Winnipeg Free Press.

>> After that, I’ll join the panel of WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word, along with Rob Rossi, Mark Madden and host Alby Oxenreiter. That will air around midnight.

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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.

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