Woops. I'm sorry, Mr. Cool James.
My mom sat next to LL Cool J on a plane once. True story.
Anyway, Pitt has been up and down, mostly down, so far this season. They were blown out by NC State, needed a miracle against Boston College, never really had a chance against Duke and Louisville, and somehow lost to Virginia Tech. They also beat a top 10 Notre Dame team because Pitt basketball is not governed by logic. Pitt of course followed that season-saving performance by almost losing to Bryant on Monday night.
Syracuse recently self-imposed a post-season ban on themselves for this season due to an ongoing NCAA investigation for infractions from back in 2007. You can read about what a bush league move that was here.
(Insert joke about Pitt's play being its own post-season ban)
You have to feel for Rakeem Christmas of Syracuse. The guy is having a breakout senior season, and he gets told in February that he won't get to play in any tournament (ACC included). Syracuse is having an off year (despite starting 6-3 in the ACC), but Rakeem is a solid kid who deserved better than this. They could have banned themselves at the beginning of the season to let Rakeem transfer.
So Syracuse is having an NIT type season despite Christmas scoring more points this year in half a season (18.5 avg) than the previous three seasons combined. They're being investigated by the NCAA and possibly facing stiff penalties.
"But guys, guys. We know that we did something bad, but we're gonna fix it. We're going to ban ourselves this year from any postseason so f*** Rakeem Christmas. Also, no need to give us any additional punishment because we took care of that for you."
-Some Syracuse person, probably
What's that? Syracuse has a top 5 recruiting class next year? Oooohhh the plot thickens.
Seriously, I hate Syracuse.
Anyway, there was a basketball game played yesterday. Syracuse led for the first 27 minutes (by as many as 10 at a few points) until Pitt finally got their first lead of the game. The rest of the game was a back and forth battle between two middle-of-the pack ACC teams.
Christmas and Michael "My name is hard to pronounce" Gbinije led the Fruit with 23 points each. Syracuse only played seven guys and the two bench players only played a combined 23 minutes. Four Syracuse starters finished the game with 4 fouls. I was secretly hoping the game would go to double overtime or something so that Boeheim was forced to play 3 walk-ons or something. Pitt was able to hold Trevor Cooney (who really looks like his name should be Chad Michael Cooney) to 1-7 from long-range.
I have to leave in thirteen minutes so let's see if I can give some grades before I leave.
Jamel Artis - Artis has become a star. He's averaging 21 points over the last seven games. Somebody should give him the name of my chiropractor because he's been carrying this team on his back for more than a month. His career-high 32 points on Monday night are the sole reason Pitt did not lose to Bryant. He had 20 and 10 in this one including a dagger three point bomb to put Pitt up by five with a minute to play. He also had several highlight-reel assists from the top of the key. What a player.
Michael Young - Young also had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but he was also an uncharacteristic 5-10 from the line. Pitt as a team shot 18-28 which is bad and also typical. Young tried to defend Christmas in the post, but he wasn't very successful.
James Robinson - Robinson made three 3-pointers in the first half and then disappeared offensively for the rest of the game. He finished with 13 points on 4-11 shooting.
Cam Wright - He played four minutes before leaving with an ankle injury. This has been a year of bad breaks for Wright.
Josh Newkirk - Newkirk has been bad this year. With Wright's injury Dixon was forced to leave Newkirk out there. He was responded with 1-7 shooting.
Sheldon Jeter - Jeter came out of nowhere to score a career-high 18 points on 7-9 shooting. He was everywhere on the offensive end, even grabbing five offensive rebounds. If Jeter can bottle this game for the rest of the season, Pitt might actually have a chance to go dancing.
Chris Jones - Jones came off the bench to score 15 points including three triples. All of his three-pointers came with Pitt trailing.
Ryan Luther - Luther played a minute. It was long enough for him to be abused by Christmas down low.
Derrick Randall - Apparently Randall played three minutes. I didn't notice.
Pitt plays at Louisville on Wednesday night. It will probably be ugly.
Hail to Pitt,