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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

North Carolina State 74, Pitt 67

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to tipoff ..

Game: Pitt (22-7, 10-6 ACC) vs. North Carolina State (17-12, 7-9)

Time: 9:05 p.m.

Site: Petersen Events Center

TV, radio: ESPNU (national), 93.7 The Fan

Here is the official live summary.

Here is our Pitt pageKevin Gorman is 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. Jim S. says:

    ESPNU – Sweet!

    Does it say more about the ACC or Pitt that they will likely be 23-7 / 11-6 after this one?

    I think I know the answer.

  2. Arriba Wilver says:

    Go out and shovel some snow, Jim. :-D

  3. Brandie says:

    I will take…Don’t count Your Chickens (on the win) for $1000 Alex! :)

  4. Sweet Jimmie,

    TJ Warren could make you eat those words!

  5. Brandie says:

    My point exactly Totes My Groats!

  6. You’re A Fine Girl,

    I seem to always miss talking to you.

    How’s the job search? I mentioned you in my prayers when you asked for them last week.

  7. Brandie says:

    No luck but I have a feeling something is going to change. Thanks for thinking of me. :)

    Hope the world is treating you great!

  8. JRay3 says:

    Greetings from the Windy City of Chicago. Well final home game for the Panthers here tonight as they look to win their third straight and more importantly snap a two game home losing streak and get back to their winning ways at home a place they have struggled of late going 1-4 in their last five at the Pete.

    Most Bracketology experts have Pitt playing in the 8/9 game and many predicting a trip to St Louis and possible second round match up with the undefeated Shockers. Pitt has a RPI of 45 and with about 12 teams behind them on the S curve, it appears taking care of business on the road last week has sewn up the Panthers spot in the dance for a 12th time in 13 seasons.

    Pitt still has much to play for this evening as they could still finish #5, 6 or 7 in the ACC standings and seeding for next weeks ACC Tournament. As it looks now Pitt will have an opening game with a grouping of Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, BC and a quarterfinal draw of UNC, Duke or Syracuse.

    Really liked the step forward Zanna made this past weekend, as he and Patterson are looking a bit more healthy of late. Also, Michael Young may have turned in his best defensive effort of the year versus the Irish.

    Key tonight just make Warren earn his points, he can get his but make him force lots of shots to do so. Pitt a double digit favorite this evening, so time to sweep the Wolfpack.

  9. It’s gonna happen soon.

    And when it does, you will be so-o happy!

  10. 8/9———worst seeding of whole March Madness. Play a tough team every game with #1 waiting in the wings.

    Gotta hope a strong showing at Greensboro gets Pitt a better seed! Or worse: Even a #10/11 is better than #8/9.

  11. JRay3 says:

    Not winning any of those close games with Syracuse, Virginia, Cinci and UNC could come back to bit on selection Sunday.

    Don’t see much difference in the 1 and 2 seeds this year, so really Pitt needs to move up to the 6 line to get better draw and that will take a run probably to ACC tournament title game, if that.

    Of all the 1’s however, Wichita State would be the preferred one in my estimation. Should be a fun final two weeks to let the build up and speculation begin.

  12. JohninOshkosh says:

    Watching Notre Dame at North Carolina.

    North Carolina is going to be a team to reckon with here in a few weeks.

  13. Arriba Wilver says:


  14. 21sthebest says:

    I was thinking 16 might be the worst seed. No?

  15. Arriba Wilver says:

    All I know is One is the loneliest number.

  16. Brandie says:

    That song is going to be stuck in my head now. Thanks Arreebz!

  17. Brandie says:

    I like all this basketball talk. Makes me want to catch some of the upcoming matches. Haven’t felt like this since college.

  18. Stuart says:

    Me to (watching), but The Golden Domers now have the lead 49 – 46 w/13m left.


    BTW do you remember the old
    Monte Python bit where they all changed their name to Bruce “to avoid confusion”?

  19. Brandie says:

    I have seen that sketch once or twice.

  20. Brandie says:

    Thank you Groatmeal!

  21. Stuart says:

    Don’t it make your Bison heave? Sung to the tune of “don’t it make my brown eyes blue”.

    Hi Brandinova.


  22. Stuart says:

    I was thinking of Groat & Osh having the same avatar. Now Osh has become a girl. Trust this is temporary. Just sayin.


  23. JohninOshkosh says:

    Since my 7:39 post, the Tar Heels have collapsed! Now a dogfight. North Carolina’s McAdoo with the great basketball name. I think he is related to Bob McAdoo in some fashion. Bob McAdoo could bring it on the court.

    Getting me primed for the upcoming Pitt game. Really need the win tonight, Coach Dixon.

  24. Brandie says:

    Stu la la….
    Wisconsin’s Finest took the Kim Novak avatar as penance for an earlier comment made about Ms. Novak without prior knowledge of her previous cancer battle. Just his way of manning up!

  25. Nice Kim Novak pic, John.

  26. Brandie says:

    Nice picture of Ms. Novak BTW. Wonder where our friend The Pitt “Planther” is?

  27. Brandie says:

    Heaving for all their worth!

  28. theplanisworking says:

    You rang??? ;)

  29. He went to the library to get a book of puns for his new name “the pun is working”.

  30. theplanisworking says:

    Is this the thread where we can buy a Carp?
    Or do we need to cover the court with a tarp?

    Pitt needs a solid effort tonight to clinch an NCAA bid. Win tonight, and at least one in the ACC tourney, and a 7 seed may be in play.

    LAISE GOO PITT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks Reverend.
    A second career is in the works…………

  32. Stuart says:

    Oh. I did see Goldie Hahn who had some cosmetic adjustment of her face. She looked OK until she forced a big smile, when he face kind of froze in an unattractive rictus. Pretty sad,all of this youth chasing.

  33. JohninOshkosh says:

    Outstanding word, my man.


  34. Stuart says:

    N.C. Wins by two.


  35. Arriba Wilver says:

    I apologize.

  36. 21sthebest says:

    Ditto Brandie.

  37. theplanisworking says:

    Zanna looking good so far.
    Still amazed how far he has come since his first year.

  38. JRay3 says:

    Pitt shooting 82% in opening 10 minutes, offense looking alive tonight, good balance with six different scorers early.

  39. theplanisworking says:

    Looking good tonight, JRay.
    Looking good.

  40. casper in a-town says:

    Hey Plan — Hope all is well. Read earlier on one of the threads that you’re moving this weekend. Good luck! Saw some of your posts the other day about the Runnin’ Red Hurricanes. I’m sure you already saw it, but there’s a nice video compilation on NC News (link below) from the WPIAL championship game versus Hampton. If you haven’t seen it, check it out at half time of the Pitt game.

  41. JRay3 says:

    Josh Newkirk showing off his outside shooting game a bit of late, nice to see his development.

  42. Stuart says:

    Pitt by 11. Robinson & Newkirk with recent threes.

    BTW Osh, you have to hand it to the Domers. They look to be only 6 deep.


  43. Arriba Wilver says:

    How tall is NCS’s Lewis?

  44. Arriba Wilver says:

    Artis had a nice falling away 3, too.

  45. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks, Casper!

    Trust me, I have seen everything……. online, or by having people text me to check everything out.

    Hope they can finally win the big prize this year !

  46. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yeah, before the season I projected them much better. Bottom fell out on them this year. Good loss tonight-if there is such a thing.

  47. JohninOshkosh says:

    Teams walk into the Pete and see that CBI banner hanging from the rafters and just get paralyzed by intimidation.

  48. Stuart says:

    Osh, Vasturia, ND freshman guard looks like he is going to be a good one. College “rebuilding” mode for the Irish.

  49. JRay3 says:

    Really like Artis’ offensive game, think he will really develop into a scorer in the years ahead, real smooth stroke.

  50. Stuart says:

    Osh, is there really a CBI banner? I’d ask my son, but he has a lab tonight, and not at game.


  51. J Walter Weatherman says:

    This just won the thread. Drop your mic and exit stage right.

  52. JohninOshkosh says:

    I have a lot of confidence in Mike Brey. Solid recruiter and good basketball mind. Produces well despite living in the shadow of the ultimate football school.

    They will be tough year in and year out in that league.

  53. J Walter Weatherman says:

    I’m still trying to figure what positives James Robinson brings to this team. Oh yeah, he doesn’t turn the ball over. Nice, except he also can’t shoot, create offense, or play effective man-to-man defense.

    More Newkirk; less Robinson. At least they’d be more fun to watch.

  54. Stuart says:

    I thought the Weathermen went out with the 60s.


  55. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks, Walt. :)

    And, Stu, I’m not sure if there is a banner or not. Just funnin’

  56. theplanisworking says:

    Little bit of a hiccup before the half, but Pitt leads by 5 at the half.
    Just need to keep getting solid chances, and they should be fine.

  57. Stuart says:

    How do you feel about Bylsma, Tomlinson, and the BMTIB?


  58. J Walter Weatherman says:

    I like LaDanian Tomlinson just fine. How do you feel about Bo Jackson?

  59. JRay3 says:

    NC St uses an 8-0 run to close the half, but Pitt still holds a 36-31 lead, led by Newkirk with 11, Patterson with 8 and Artis and Zanna with 5 each.

    Pitt had 11 assists and 5 turnovers in the opening half, Robinson with 4 of them.

    And to the post up above, no Pitt does not have a CBI Championship banner hanging from the rafters of the Pete.

  60. Stuart says:

    Osh, for a while there I was almost hoping for a “no bid” so they could go after another banner. BTW I have yet to see a game at the Pete, and my youngest is a Senior at Pitt. We talk every year about going to see a patsy but haven’t made it yet.

  61. casper in a-town says:

    I hope so as well. It will be a tough road, as a state title should be. I remember as an 8th grader making the trip to Hershey to watch the “We are NC” team of 1982 take on Whitehall. It was a long ride back to NC after that 42-38 loss. I always said I’d make the trip again if we got back to the title game. Maybe this is the year.

  62. theplanisworking says:

    Its hysterical, but I am moving this week, but friends got me tickets for Hershey this year, whether NC makes it or not. So I will be going.

    Please don’t remind me of the nightmare of ’82.
    That one stings to this day!

  63. JohninOshkosh says:

    The great Kareem Abdul Jabbar is in Milwaukee tonight at the Bucks game. He led the Bucks to their one and only world championship 43 years ago as Lew Alcindor. (And Penguins fans complain about 5 years :) ).

    Anyhoo, it’s a big deal here, and KAJ says the Bucks should stay in Milwaukee. I sure hope so. He is in the state because he recently did a commercial for Wisconsin tourism with his Airplane! co-star Robert Hays. The makers of the classic comedy are from the Milwaukee area. Travel

  64. Stuart says:

    Thanks Johnny, but it was really only sarcastic naievity.

    How are you on the Bucs this year?


  65. theplanisworking says:

    And, he came within 6 minutes of bringing a second title to Milwaukee, but lost to the Celtics.

    Glad to see fences were mended.
    I wish you the best for keeping your Bucks in Milwaukee.

  66. JRay3 says:

    Think the Bucs should have a decent season as I do not think we have seen the ceiling of Marte or Mercer yet and Cutch is still just 27 and in his prime and could probably still give a little more. Alvarez I expect to have a monster year and just build off his post season terror. Plus add Polanco to the mix later this season and the outfield could be the best in all of baseball.

    Much made about the pitching but I sure like the rotation to start the year better than last season when JMac and Jonathan Sanchez were being run out there. And Taillon will be this year’s Cole, giving the Bucs a few horses at the top of the rotation.

    Don’t know if team has enough to knock off Cardinals but should be one of five teams or so competing for a WC berth. Should be a really fun season in my estimation and the future looks really bright, long time coming.

  67. Lad 9 says:

    Bad pattern of not being able to put teams away when they have them down. Going to be another nail biter I think. Thankful that Newkirk has his A game tonight.

  68. Florida Steeler says:

    Warren is manhandling this Pitt team. What does Robinson and Wright do for this Pitt ???

  69. Lad 9 says:

    I think Pitt must have lost the lead….

  70. theplanisworking says:

    I don’t know if you saw my other post, but very best wishes and Good Luck to your daughter !

  71. JohninOshkosh says:


  72. theplanisworking says:

    They cannot afford to lose this game.
    Need to pick up the D.

  73. JRay3 says:

    Must have missed the game Wright had this weekend against the Irish, big reason for that win. Pitt is built differently, a different guy each night can have the big game.

    Robinson 5 assists and 5 points on 2-3 shooting tonight.

    NC State 17-12 and NIT bound for a reason, Warren gets all the shots and they have nobody else.

  74. Lad 9 says:

    Nice picture of Kim, Johnny Osh. Haven’t talked for awhile. All well in Dairyland lately?

  75. Stuart says:


    Good to hear,especially from one of the over/under kings!


  76. Lad 9 says:

    Agree my friend. I see you are moving to the metropolis of Irwin – motto, yes we have an exit on the Turnpike. Glad to see you heading back to western PA. :)

  77. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yep. Living the dream. Pitt has to win this one! Good to see you here!

  78. theplanisworking says:

    Irwin/North Huntingdon used to be like Cranberry……… cow pasture with a small burg. Now, it is ridiculous how it has built up. The whole right side of 30 is new shopping centers/development.

    The Turnpike will need to re-do the exit very soon………. expanding it.
    Yeah, excited to be coming back to the Motherland………. :)

  79. Lad 9 says:

    I just checked it out. Thanks to both you and Jim!

  80. Arriba Wilver says:

    5’11” with tissues in his shoes.

  81. theplanisworking says:

    Mr. Josh Newkirk, ladies and gents…………..

  82. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks, AW.

  83. JohninOshkosh says:

    20 points for Newkirk.

  84. JRay3 says:

    Newkirk with 20, wow! When Pitt really needed someone to step up, he has brought it!

  85. JohninOshkosh says:

    One of the biggest three pointers made this year. Need to find a way to pull this out.

  86. JohninOshkosh says:

    Both clubs hitting clutch shots.

    Strong performance by the Wolfpack’s Warren. 36 points. One of the better single game performances in CB this season. Despite that, the Panthers still have the opportunity to pull this one out.

  87. JohninOshkosh says:

    Absolutely need a stop here. Huge NC ST possession.

  88. Stuart says:

    Warren has just been sick. 37 points! Jamie can’t go to man2man because of fouls. Robinson has been taking bad fouls (reach-in etc) all season. Wright had his worst game of season tonight. Still in it though with 2 m left


  89. JohninOshkosh says:


  90. J Walter Weatherman says:

    NC State looks like the NCAA team and Pitt the NIT team.

  91. theplanisworking says:

    Pitt could not afford to lose this game.
    They just did.

    I have no words.
    Hoping this does not hurt too much.
    I am worried.

  92. Lad 9 says:

    Really disappointing come from ahead loss. Warren was incredible!

  93. theplanisworking says:

    Agreed on both counts.
    The NCAA looks at how a team does down the stretch.
    That is not in Pitt’s favor.

  94. J Walter Weatherman says:

    One player from an opposing team can’t be stopped by Pitt? They lose to a lower ranked team? Well, this is March!

  95. Arriba Wilver says:

    I blame Jim S.

  96. JRay3 says:

    Just tip your hat to the kid, Warren shot Pitt out of the gym. What a perplexing team, and the frustration of the season continues.

    Young team trying to find its way, but hitting a lot of bumps along the way, hope these lessons help as this team matures.

    At Clemson this weekend really looms large now.

  97. theplanisworking says:

    I blame that Carp guy………

  98. Florida Steeler says:

    T.J. Warren is an outstanding basketball player and Robinson is the poorest excuse for a D-1 player in a long time. Wide open three and he floats an air ball. Pitt just does not have the players–Cameron Wright was awful tonight and Zanna took some time off late in the game under the basket.
    Team does not deserve an NCAA bid.

  99. theplanisworking says:


  100. Milo Hamilton says:

    I really hope James Robinson is hurt (not really but you know what I mean).

  101. Milo Hamilton says:

    Empty seats for conference games at The Pete. Lost 5 of the last 6 home games. Coach constantly on the defensive, sniping at the media. Point of diminishing returns. I know the risk you run, I was here for Ralph Willard. But it’s time.

  102. theplanisworking says:

    New Chancellor will keep Dixon at least one year for transition purposes.
    Recruits and transfers will be good next year.
    I am only throwing this out here for the administrations mindset.

    I was there for Willard too.
    End of Evans tenure, also.

    You are correct…….. maybe it is time, Milo.

  103. Shawn says:

    Hopefully this is another nail in the Dixon coffin. Lophonso Ellis pointed out all the terrible decisions by Dixon tonight, not going to the huge mismatch he had with Patterson being guarded by that tiny guard, continually allowing Warren to have space to get off open shots instead of going to a box and 1-something Dixon probably doesn’t even know how to run. Between this and the TO debacle’s-which he showed tremendous gull in not even admitting he made a mistake in the ND game for calling a TO when he did-there is no hiding his deficiencies which have plagued him his entire tenure. His teams still have trouble handling the press, they execute poorly down the stetch and especially after a TO because they run the same play every time-a staggered screen with Patterson coming off a curl-the same exact play he’s run after every TO for the past 11 years, be it Page, Krauser, Young, Ramon, Gibbs, Woodall and now Patterson-it’s been the exact same play, and if it isn’t open on the catch they have no clue what to do after. Fact is he went 1-5 over the last 5 Big East tournaments they went to, despite having the double bye in 4 of those occassions-and has 1 NCAA tournament victory since the Blair/Young team. His results have gotten worse since 2007-8 and that simply cannot continue to be ignored. But unfortunately it seems the media and far too many fans will continue to do so.

  104. Stuart says:

    Nordy was at the game throwing tee shirts to the crowd. Obviously he jinxed the team. That and Robinson and Wright both sucked. Hope Jamie sits JR at the start of the next game.


  105. Milo Hamilton says:

    By the way, I love it when people blame youth for when things go bad for any team. TJ Warren is a sophomore. You’re either good or you’re not.

  106. Shawn says:

    Knowing Dixon’s pattern of not allowing a player establish himself “until it’s their time” I bet Newkirk plays maybe 12 minutes next game and gets 2 or 3 shots-if he’s lucky. In fact, if it wasn’t for the Robinson and Wright’s foul trouble tonight Newkirk would have most likely played 1/3 of the time he did, despite being on fire all game. Because that’s Dixon’s system…

  107. Florida Steeler says:

    You are very perceptive. Jamie may be the most over rated coach in the game. He does not know how to recruit, his offense is putrid and easy to defend and I was really hoping he would have gone to USC or Oregon.
    That being said–Pitt will NOT spend the money to attract a Sean Miller. Look at the football program–the money maker in college sports and the best Pitt could do was Paul Chryst??? Todd Graham may have been a fraud but he saw the hand writing on the wall and bailed out.
    Pitt will be above average in the two major sports and we must all accept those facts.

  108. Florida Steeler says:

    Well stated–Robinson is our super star sophomore.

  109. DJ says:

    The Pete is now just another pavilion to the visiting team.

    Mystique? Gone.

  110. Florida Steeler says:

    Pitt is not nearly as young as this NC State team that beat them in Pittsburgh tonight. NC State has improved during the season and Pitt has not; because they simply do NOT have the talent.

  111. Shawn says:

    But does it have to be? How many examples of young, talented coaches have there been over the past 15 years who have taken teams to NCAA glory? Brad Stevens was a head coach for all of 3 years and had two NCAA finals appearances. Same goes for coaches at VCU, Witchita St., and several others who took mid conference schools far beyond what they were supposed to do-something Dixon never has. I agree the time has probably passed on bringing back Miller-though 2 years ago they most likely could have-but why not a young up and coming assistant? Orlando Antigua has been apprenticing under Calipari for the past 4 years and has been one of his main recruiters in that time, think he’d run the Dixon, talent stifling system or a system which would attract the upper level players? There’s also someone like the Wichita coach who you know would leave there in a heartbeat to go to a big league school…coaches like that don’t cost a lot-at first-and if they take you to where you want to go and eventually price themselves out of your range, then you go and find another like him. But unfortunately complacency is key with the Pitt administration and far too many fans.

  112. DJ says:

    No way Sean Miller comes back to Pitt. Ship = sailed. Maybe after Xavier, but not now.

    No competition in Arizona, draws best players from California after UCLA’s luster worn off, administration loves him, reestablishing national recruiting base and recruiting high character players now, highly compensated and will consistently compete for national championships with a pipeline of high level talent.

    And so he would come back to Pitt for what exactly?

  113. theplanisworking says:

    I called for Antigua’s hiring the past 2 years.
    Pitt guy, great recruiter, young hungry coach.

    But as I pointed out above, new Chancellor will keep Dixon for a transition year, at least.

  114. Shawn says:

    You’re probably right. Of course next year he’ll get his token 20-25 wins again against the likes of the Toledos of the world and that will be used to justify bringing him back again, and again, and again…someday they’ll actually have to attempt to build a real contender, not one that looks good on paper. There have been a lot of empty seats at the Pete this year, really the past few years to be honest-but the tickets were all sold. It will most likely start taking ticket sales to dwindle before they actually make a move.

  115. Patrick(RI) says:

    Not gone, just went to the ACC.

    BTW, you have the best Avatar on the blog — love it!

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