Pitt is terrible. Coach Hamilton has been at FSU for 16 years, and – even during the dark rebuild years recovering from being perhaps the worst high major program in the nation – he’s never lost at home to a team this bad. Pitt is currently ranked 234 by Pomeroy, and you have to go back 13 years to find a game where Ham lost at home to a team ranked north of 200 (FIU, No. 201, in 2005).
So what happened? Pitt used to be one of the most consistent non-bluebloods in the nation. In Jamie Dixon’s final ten years at Pitt, they went to the NCAA Tournament eight times. Unless you’re Kansas or Duke, that’s remarkable.
But Pitt fans were tired of just making the Dance. They wanted to make some noise! They needed fresh blood! Better to hire the next hot thing than accept mediocrity, right?!!!
So they ran Coach Dixon out of town.
What happened next, though, was a bit of an issue.
No coach in their right mind wanted anything to do with the Pitt job. Getting fired for being the most successful coach in school history? Having to compete against Duke and North Carolina and Louisville? Yeah, no thanks.
So instead of the next hot thing, they got notorious asshat Kevin Stallings who’d just worn out his welcome at a relatively cosy SEC job in Vanderbilt.
Now 0-18 in the ACC is a very real possibility, and their recruiting class consists of a fringe 3* and an unranked JUCO player.
Life comes at you fast.
But since this morality tale obviously has no lesson for FSU fans, let’s move on to the game.
Pitt is 0-14 in ACC play, and 8-19 overall. They had a 2-game stretch in the middle of their ACC schedule where they lost by single digits, but the other 12 games have been by 10+. They’ve lost three conference games by more than 30.
Since advanced data became available 17 years ago, they have the 2nd worst ACC offense over that period (and are barely ahead of No. 1).
Their defense – which is the rock they build on – is merely the 5th worst ACC defense over that time span.
Jared Wilson-Frame leads the team with 12.6 points per game, because someone has to. Wilson-Frame’s offensive efficiency is slightly ahead of Ike Obiagu’s. A bit more than 60% of his shots are 3s, and he’s a 30% shooter from deep. But hey, you miss every shot you don’t take.
Marcus Carr, a 6-1 freshman, scores 10.5 per game. He’s a solid 3-point shooter (36%), but like a lot of freshmen he struggles to understand the value of every possession. He does has huge upside as a tenacious defender if we want to give credit where credit is due.
That’s it for double digit scorers, and in ACC play they’re last in shooting and last in turnovers. Not ideal. Ryan Luther, a 6-9 senior, might be their most trustworthy player, but he’s out for the year with an injury.
Defensively, they’re less of a train wreck, but they don’t force turnovers and they’re one of the worst rebounding teams in the nation.
FSU should have a bunch of chances to extend possessions. Because of that I don’t expect this to be a high scoring game, but I also don’t expect it to be close.
A loss would be a disaster to FSU’s resume.
The game tips at 6 PM on Sunday from Tuck, and will be broadcast on ESPNU. FSU is a 22-point favorite.