started a new thread on the Message Board 13 days ago
Which College Team Has The Biggest Online Following?
https://roughingthepasser.football/2020/10/30/which-college-team-has-the-biggest-online-following/

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started a new thread on the Message Board 15 days ago
Why Football Matters In 2021
https://roughingthepasser.football/2021/01/07/why-football-matters-in-2021/

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started a new thread on the Message Board 47 days ago
Official College Football Power Rankings Week 14
https://roughingthepasser.football/2020/12/06/official-college-football-playoff-power-rankings-week-14/
Link: https://roughingthepasser.football/2020/12/06/official-college-football-playoff-

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Northern Illinois, Dec. 5, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 48 days ago
U16 media timeout, second half: Pitt leads 55-34
Plenty of storylines for the game so far. Champagnie the star with 17 points and 8 rebounds; Johnson close behind with 13 points and 7 assists.

Horton is heating up from three, as he's got 12 points on 4-for-9 from deep. If he can be a consistent threat for Pitt from downtown, they will be a hard team to defend.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Northern Illinois, Dec. 5, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 48 days ago
HALFTIME: Pitt leads Northern Illinois 45-29
HALFTIME: Pitt leads Northern Illinois 45-29, opening up the Panthers' most comfortable lead of the season. Champagnie (15), Johnson (13), and Toney (9) have 37 of Pitt's 45 points.

Also of note, the Big Three looks more like a Core Four (TM) tonight. Johnson, Champagnie, Toney, Horton have combined for 68 of Pitt's 100 minutes tonight. The other five players to check in have 32 total minutes (Coulibaly with 11).

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Northern Illinois, Dec. 5, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 48 days ago
Pitt leads by seven at the U8 media timeout, 29-22, 7:55 to go in the half
They're looking great right now on the offensive end. Shooting 50% from the floor, 10 assists to just one turnover. Great effort so far.

Terrell Brown checks into tonight's game right before the U8 media timeout after not getting into the Drexel game. He immediately gets up to get a nice offensive rebound. Putback attempt is blocked, but it remains Pitt ball coming out of the timeout.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Northern Illinois, Dec. 5, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 48 days ago
U12 media timeout, Pitt leads Northern Illinois 23-18, with 11:31 to go
And the Panthers are shooting the ball well thus far. Five for 10 on three-point attempts this far. Pitt has also amassed eight assists to just one turnover to this point, which is a great start for the home team.

They've played a very clean game offensively to this point, but have just a five point lead. Northern Illinois shooting 67 percent from the floor early on.

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started a new thread on the Message Board 48 days ago
Pitt vs. Northern Illinois, Dec. 5, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread
Pitt takes on Northern Illinois at the Petersen Events Center tonight at 7 p.m., as the Panthers look to improve to 2-1 on the young season. Pitt starts Xavier Johnson, Ithiel Horton, Justin Champagnie, Au'Diese Toney, and Abdoul Karim Coulibaly, the same group that started Pitt's 83-74 win over Drexel a week ago.

Follow along live on the DreamBackfield.com message boards!

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started a new thread on the Message Board 54 days ago
Official College Football Playoff Power Rankings Week 13
https://roughingthepasser.football/2020/11/29/official-college-football-playoff-power-rankings-week-13/
Link: https://roughingthepasser.football/2020/11/29/official-college-football-playoff-power-rankings-week-13/

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
FINAL: Pitt falls to Saint Francis, 80-70.
Defensively, Pitt shaped up in a big way for the second half, but it wasn't enough. With no clear number one shooter in crunch time, defense could only get them so far.

The Panthers will be back in action on Saturday when they take on Drexel at the Pete.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
Final media timeout, Pitt trails 72-61 with 2:50 to go in this one.
Pitt's defense improved a lot in the tail end of the second half but it has been too little, too late. They would need a minor miracle to come back and win this one.

Still, lots of notable bits from tonight's game. One of the biggest stories, in my view? 17 minutes so far for William Jeffress, who has largely looked pretty good. Five points, three boards, a steal, and an assist so far.

Another takeaway? He may not have the highest ceiling, but Terrell Brown is Pitt's most reliable center (for now). In 10 minutes, he's put up five points (2-for-5 shooting), two blocks, and two rebounds. Hugley will probably be the better big man when all is said and done, but he's had a rough debut: seven points on 3-for-10 shooting, four turnovers (though he's done a nice job on the boards with eight rebs).

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
Saint Francis timeout with 8:24 to go, Pitt trails 61-49.
Pitt's defense has looked fantastic for the past five or six minutes. At one point, they had forced shot clock violations on three straight possessions. They haven't allowed a bucket in 5:16 of game play.

Will they be able to bridge the gap with their offense?

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
U12 media timeout, Pitt trails 61-45 with 11:27 to go.
Heading into the break, Pitt had four freshmen on the floor--Collier, Hugley, Jeffress, and Odukale. Toney is the only upperclassman.

Tells you what Capel thinks about this incoming class, and regardless of the result tonight, that's a good thing long-term for Pitt.

With the four freshmen on the floor, Pitt strings together perhaps its best two defensive possessions of the evening: (1) forcing a turnover by Saint Francis, followed by (2) forcing a shot clock violation.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
U16 media timeout, Pitt trails 57-40 with 15:53 to go.
It's as bad as the score indicates at the Pete. The Panthers look sloppy, and they ran into a buzz saw in SFU who is putting up ridiculous numbers from deep (9-for-18 so far).

Still, there's no reason to overreact to one game. Pitt seems to do this annually against a bad team. In 2018, Pitt lost to Niagara; last year, Pitt lost a bad one to Nicholls State. Is it a motivation issue against the OOCs? Hard to say. But it's happened with some regularity.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
Start of the second half, Pitt trailing 46-33
Horton, Johnson, Toney, Champagnie, Hugley on the court to start the half.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
Halftime, Pitt trails 46-33
Toney is the only reason that Pitt is in this game thus far--15 points on 6-for-7 shooting. Everyone else has struggled, including Xavier Johnson, who has the same number of turnovers as points (six).

Capel hasn't found a big man that he can count on offensively yet, as Hugley, Coulibaly, and Brown combined for five points on 2-for-7 shooting in the first half.

Pitt's frontcourt depth is something of an improvement over years past, with at least three usable big men in 2020-21, and possibly four depending on Amadasun's development. Still, especially against ACC opponents, without the ability to rely on them as scoring options, Pitt will struggle. They've had the same issues shooting from deep as they've had the past couple of seasons, and not being able to rely on inside scoring exacerbates that issue greatly.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
Final timeout of the first half, Pitt trails 36-26
Very sloppy start for Pitt, though there's been a certain element of seeing what everybody on the bench has in thank. The Panthers have played 10 players so far. Toney has been the star for Pitt, with 10 points, four rebounds, and two steals in the half so far.

For Saint Francis, its Myles Thompson leading all Red Flash scorers with nine points of 4-for-7 shooting. He also has three rebounds, an assist, and a steal.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
U8 media timeout
Pitt still trails by eight with 7:59 to go in the half, 27-19 Red Flash lead. Toney has 10 of Pitt's 19 points on 4-for-5 shooting.

Still, Pitt has trailed for the last 11 minutes and seven Saint Francis players have scored in the first half so far. They've spread the ball around well, and Pitt has struggled to keep up defensively.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
U12 media timeout
With 11:46 to go in the half, Pitt trails 19 to 12. The Panthers are off to a slow start offensively, shooting just 31.3 percent from the floor and just 22 percent from three. Meanwhile, the Red Flash are shooting 58 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep.

Still, Pitt has done some nice things. Toney has been a star so far, with eight points, two boards, and two steals. However, he's also got two fouls and is likely to sit for much of the rest of the half.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
U16 media timeout
14:42 to go in the first half, Panthers trail Saint Francis by a score of 14-8. Toney has started 3-for-4 from the floor with eight points, accounting for all of the Panthers' points thus far. The rest of the team is 0-for-4 (0-for-3 from deep).

On the other side, Myles Thompson has five points. Panthers have already turned the ball over four times. First subs off the bench? Abdoul Karim Coulibaly and Femi Odukale.

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posted in the thread Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread by Ryan Schaitkin on the Message Board 58 days ago
Pitt's starting five tonight
Ithiel Horton
Xavier Johnson
Au'Diese Toney
Justin Champagnie
John Hugley

I can't say that I'm all that surprised to see Hugley start over Brown, but as a senior, I still expect Brown to get plenty of minutes... if he earns them.

As we have seen throughout his past at Pitt, uninspired play has cost him minutes before, despite periodic flashes of strong play. We'll see how Capel uses his bigs tonight.
[Post edited by Ryan Schaitkin at 11/25/2020 6:57PM]

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started a new thread on the Message Board 58 days ago
Pitt vs. Saint Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread
Pitt vs. St. Francis (PA) - November 25, 2020 - 7pm - Live Game Thread

Game Preview
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Hello Pitt fans, and welcome to the DreamBackfield.com forums for our first live game thread of the early season, as Pitt (0-0, 0-0) squares off with Saint Francis (PA) (0-0, 0-0) at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Wednesday night, in Pitt's 2020-21 season opener.

It's great to have Pitt hoops back on Thanksgiving-eve, and to do our first live game thread since the ACC tournament this past spring. This is sure to be a weird basketball season, and with the unpredictability of COVID, we likely won't know who is available (or unavailable) for Pitt (or their opponent) with much advance notice. I expect that some games will be cancelled throughout the year, and maybe several games; I also expect that Pitt will play some games with notable absences. We'll have to take that day-by-day.

With that being said, it's great to be back talking Pitt hoops, and without further ado, here's your game preview for the season opener. Tonight's game will be broadcast at 7pm EST on AT&T SportsNet.

Fast Facts
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*Pitt is 29-0 all-time against the Red Flash, having won each contest dating back to 1972-73. Their most recent matchup came in 2011-12 when no. 15 Pitt beat Saint Francis (PA) by a score of 71-47.
*Out of the 29 games that the teams have played against one another, only five have been decided by fewer than 10 points. The most recent of these games occurred in 1990, when no. 13 Pitt beat Saint Francis (PA) 91-85. The Panthers have won every game since by 14 or more points.
*One name that Pitt fans might recognize: Luke McConnell, Director of Basketball Operations for the Red Flash, is the cousin of Pittsburgh native, Duquesne basketball alum, and current Philadelphia 76er T.J. McConnell.

Saint Francis (PA) Background:
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The Red Flash have had several nice years in a row under ninth-year head coach Rob Krimmel. Krimmel inherited a Saint Francis team which had won just six games in 2011-12, and by the 2016-17 season, he had built a formidable and competitive squad in the Northeast Conference. Saint Francis won 22 games last year, has had a better-than-.500 conference record in each of the past four years, and has won 75 games dating back to 2016-17.

However, despite the fact that this program is headed in the right direction, the 2020-21 team could experience some growing pains, as they enter the season having graduated their top two scorers from a year ago--Isaiah Blackmon (18.8 ppg, 41.2% from three) and Keith Braxton (17.6 points per game).

The losses of Blackmon and Braxton are huge for the Red Flash, as those two players averaged 36.4 points, 27.2 field goal attempts (10.3 from three-point range), 9.2 free throw attempts, 12.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. They shot a very respectable 45.7% combined, including 37.7% from three, and 83.2% from the free throw line.

In comparison, Saint Francis returns four players who averaged greater than 10 minutes per game last season. They return just one who averaged 20+ minutes per game--junior forward Myles Thompson, who averaged 25.6 minutes per game and started 31 of the team's 32 games. Those four returning contributors last season averaged 31.1 points, 23.8 field goal attempts (4.4 from three-point range), 7.9 free throw attempts, 15.2 rebounds, and 4.2 points per game. Those players shot 47.0% combined, including 31.7% from three, and 67.2% from the free throw line.

It goes without saying that they have to find a player (or two, or three) to replace a massive amount of scoring and production from those two seniors, and I expect that it will take some time for those players to emerge. As a result, I do expect that Pitt's defense will stifle Saint Francis as the Red Flash try to find their floor general.

Players to watch:
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Saint Francis (PA) - Myles Thompson
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As mentioned above, Thompson is Saint Francis' only returning player who averaged more than 20 minutes per game last season. He's also their only returning player who averaged 10 points per game last year, and he was their highest volume shooter from inside and outside the arc (behind Blackmon and Braxton).

Thompson showed a lot of skill from different spots last year, shooting 51.2% from two-point range, and 33.8% from beyond the arc. Those are solid numbers, especially for a sophomore who was in his first full season as a starter, playing significantly more minutes than he did in 2018-19.

This year, Thompson will need to fill an even greater role for the Red Flash, and given that he's the only returning starter, it is likely that he'll be expected to do the heavy lifting for this team early on as it grows into its new offensive identity.

Thompson will surely be one of the Red Flash's top scoring options, but as a player who has averaged just 0.6 assists per game throughout his career thus far, it will be interesting to see whether he continues to play primarily as an off-ball scoring threat, or whether he'll work more as a facilitator without Blackmon and Braxton around.

Whatever happens tonight, you can be sure that the Panthers enter knowing that Thompson will be a major threat offensively. I would expect Au'Diese Toney and Justin Champagnie to each take a stab at guarding the sharp-shooting forward.
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Pitt - Xavier Johnson
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There are a ton of interesting player storylines tonight for Pitt. What will Gerald Drumgoole's role be after a disappointing and injury-riddled freshman campaign? What impact with sharp-shooting transfer guard Ithiel Horton have? Will Terrell Brown's minutes take a hit with the addition of two freshman bigs in John Hugley and Max Amadasun? Which of the freshmen--Hugley, Amadasun, Femi Odukale, William Jeffress, and Noah Collier--will make the biggest impact?

But really, could Pitt's player to watch be anyone other than Johnson? Pitt's electric junior guard exploded onto the scene in 2018-19, alongside Trey McGowens, putting up 15.5 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game to gain some national attention as a true freshman point guard for a rebuilding Pitt program.

Last year, he and McGowens both took a step back--or at least didn't improve as much from their freshman to sophomore years--and despite Pitt improving to the middle of the pack in the ACC, their two stars very notably regressed in some key statistical areas.

After the season, McGowens transferred to Nebraska, and Johnson decided to return for his junior year, where he'll hope to build on a breadth of experience (he's started 65 of 66 games since joining Pitt's team) and captain an offense that features six players who have never played a minute of basketball in the ACC.

Last year, the emergence of Champagnie and Toney took some of the burden off of Johnson to be the predominant offensive force for this offense, and those players, combined with Horton, the freshmen, and Brown, will be important to this team's success. Nevertheless, until Johnson graduates or leaves for the NBA, he will be Pitt's most explosive, most dynamic playmaker, and the offense will run through him for 35 minutes per game.

Watch for Johnson to take the reins tonight and lead Pitt in their season opener.

The Odds
According to ESPN, Pitt has a 91.8 percent chance of winning tonight's game. In KenPom's college basketball rankings, Pitt starts the year ranked no. 84 in the country, while Saint Francis (PA) starts off at no. 237. The game tips off at 7p.m. EST and will be broadcast on the AT&T SportsNet.

What do you think will happen today? Sound off in our live game thread! We'll be discussing Pitt hoops throughout the game.

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started a new thread on the Message Board 61 days ago
Official College Football Playoff Power Rankings Week 12
https://roughingthepasser.football/2020/11/22/official-college-football-playoff-power-rankings-week-12/
Link: https://roughingthepasser.football/2020/11/22/official-college-football-playoff-power-rankings-week-12/

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started a new thread on the Message Board 62 days ago
Great win Pitt vs VT
Pickett played fantastic

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started a new thread on the Message Board 75 days ago
Official College Football Power Rankings Week 10
https://roughingthepasser.football/2020/11/08/official-college-football-power-rankings-week-10/

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vm314