Surprise! Rebuilding Pitt among Big East elite Print
Written by Admin   
Friday, 15 January 2010 12:35
NCAAB Headline News


 PITTSBURGH (AP) -Jamie Dixon is one stubborn man.
Pitt's basketball coach lost four starters from his 31-5 team that was a basket away from making the Final Four last season. Among those leaving were two of the best players in school history, NBA draft picks DeJuan Blair and Sam Young. Yet Dixon insisted his Panthers could win even after they were picked to finish ninth in the brutal Big East.
For nearly a month, there was little to suggest Dixon should be so optimistic. A team that was obviously trying to find itself narrowly beat Wofford and Duquesne and lost to rebuilding Indiana.
Still, Dixon wouldn't budge. He expected his Panthers to play like the teams that averaged 28 victories over the previous four seasons, with no excuses.
``We've been winners, we've got players who've always been winners and we're going to be winners,'' Dixon said.
well as their coach expected. They're going into Saturday afternoon's game against Louisville (12-5, 3-1) on a seven-game winning streak that includes consecutive road victories over No. 5 Syracuse, Cincinnati and No. 15 Connecticut.
As usual, Pitt is winning despite lacking experience and upper-tier recruits - freshman Dante Taylor is the team's lone high school All-American. Not one of Pitt's regulars averaged more than 8.4 points per game last season.
``We didn't lower any of our expectations, so I don't think I'm surprised by where we're at,'' Dixon said. ``Our demands were the same, our players understood that and our staff understood that. We made that very clear from the beginning. We've improved throughout the year, from November to January. We talked about what a different team we could be. We don't set any bars.''
The team that scored only 15 points in the first half against New Hampshire - the two teams combined for 22 points in the lowest-scoring half of the shot clock era - now looks like it could be a handful for any team it plays.
``They're still very good,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. ``They can play with anybody in the country.''
ago.
Sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs is the most-improved player on one of the nation's most surprising teams, raising his scoring average from 4.3 points last season to 17.5. Gibbs benefited from playing on the Dixon-coached United States under-19 team that won a world championship in New Zealand last summer.
The Panthers also got much better after their two most experienced players, 6-6 junior forward Gilbert Brown and 6-3 senior guard Jermaine Dixon, returned last month. Brown missed 11 games after being academically ineligible and Dixon sat out eight games with a broken right foot.
``When they got Dixon and Brown back, that's when they became a great basketball team,'' Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Friday. ``When they got them back, they not only became experienced but also became much more explosive offensively.''
Much of Pitt's renowned toughness and defensive mindset returned when Brown and Dixon did. Practices became tighter and more competitive, with Dixon saying it helped having two experienced players to explain to the younger players what was expected.
``And the young guys are pushing the older guys to perform at a high level,'' Brown said. ``It continues throughout the whole team. Coach Dixon has played a big part in pushing us and making us the team we are.''
ured out how to win there, handing Pitt two of its 10 home-court losses in 134 games since the arena opened in 2002.
``Pitt is playing the best basketball along with (No. 4) Villanova in the Big East and they present a number of problems,'' Pitino said. ``Certainly we have a big mountain to climb.''
---
AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Louisville, Ky., contributed to this report.
 

NCAABB Team Pages

Top NCAABB Public Bets

#1 777 Sam Houston State 96%
#2 794 VMI 90%
#3 770 Kent 84%
#4 780 Temple 83%
#5 730 Detroit U 82%
#6 723 North Carolina 81%
#7 743 Colorado 81%
#8 735 Nebraska 79%
#9 784 Louisiana Tech 78%
#10 776 Wofford 78%
View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NCAABB Futures

NCAA BASKETBALL TEAM MENS TOURNAMENT ODDS CURRENT
KENTUCKY 4/1
ARIZONA 8/1
DUKE 10/1
WISCONSIN 12/1
KANSAS 14/1
FLORIDA 14/1
NORTH CAROLINA 16/1
VILLANOVA 25/1
LOUISVILLE 28/1
WICHITA STATE 28/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com