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Sophomore guard Crisshawn Clark transferring from Pitt

Pitt lost freshman guard Justice Kithcart, who was dismissed from the team in the middle of this year. They are now down another guard with the news that Crisshawn Clark has received approval to transfer out of the program:

I want to say thank you so much to The University of Pittsburgh for this opportunity!! I will be transferring to continue my career. pic.twitter.com/dqYfHCgLqq — Crisshawn Clark (@Ohio_Shawn) March 13, 2017

Pitt was one over the scholarship limit with all of the new recruits coming in but I was hoping Clark wouldn't be the odd man out. The move wasn't unexpected but I wanted to see him back if possible. Unlike other players on the roster that have already played, Pitt didn't really get a chance to find out what they might have in him. He played one year at junior college, where he was a Freshman of the Year before injuring his knee there and then again here, sitting out the past two years. I would have loved the opportunity to see what he could do if/when healthy. Problem is that we don't know exactly when that might have been and how limited he might be upon returning.

I don't know how good Clark could have been but there's little doubt that with help needed in the backcourt, he would have gotten his shot to play if he had been healthy this year.

Like most transfers, Clark has some limited options and you likely won't see him line up against Pitt anytime soon. He was blocked from transferring to any team in the ACC and also from upcoming future opponents.

The program's dramatic roster changes over a bit more and things still might not be done. The team will have a completely different look next season and there's little doubt that for those that wanted to see head coach Kevin Stallings get his own team on the floor that that is what will be happening next season.

Thoughts?

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.
Poll What are your thoughts on the Crisshawn Clark transfer? Fairly big loss Moderate loss Small, but manageable loss Mrh   22 votes | Results

Cardiac Hill NCAA Bracket Contest (Reminder)

I mentioned this in an earlier post but figured a reminder wouldn't hurt now that the official NCAA bracket was revealed over the weekend.

Pitt isn't in the field, of course, but I suspect that will only help most of us that were more often than not convinced the team could make a Sweet 16 run these past few years only to be disappointed with yet another early exit.

If you missed the first announcement I ran last week, here's the link to sign up for our Cardiac Hill bracket contest. As we've done in the past several years, the bracket contest will be run through our gracious sponsor, Yahoo. There's no prize other than bragging rights but why not take the opportunity to show us all how smart you are, anyway? That alone is worth the 3-4 minutes it will take to fill one out. Super secret password once you click on the link? Why, that's: h2p

Hope you'll join us -

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

UnScripted: The Cardiac Hill Podcast (S2 Ep15)

In this episode of UnScripted: The Cardiac Hill Podcast, Corey Cohen and Jim Hammett wrap up the Pitt Basketball season, discuss the Stallings vs. Dixon debate, and make their picks for the NCAA Tournament.

Panther of the Week: Jamel Artis

Senior Jamel Artis lands Panther of the Week honors as Pitt goes 1-1 in the ACC Tournament.

Jamel Artis took home the Panther of the Week award from the ACC Tournament with a solid showing in a victory and then a loss. Tuesday night Artis came up one rebound short of a double-double in a win over Georgia Tech. The following night, while Pitt came up short, Artis almost hit for 20 points to keep the Panthers in the game against Virginia well into the second half.

Though Artis didn’t shoot particularly well against the Yellow Jackets, he still finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. The following night did see the senior step up his shooting as he contributed 18 points, three rebounds, and one assist. Artis shot 43% from the floor. That’s not impressive, but it is when you consider he only hit 3/12 on Tuesday evening. Artis also hit 86% of his free throws in the two games Pitt played in the conference tournament.

While this senior season was one that Artis and his fellow seniors would like to forget, the Baltimore native certainly did his part on the offensive side of the ball. He finished the season with 18.2 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per contest. Artis also dished out over three assists per game, while also having over 2 turnovers per game. Those aren’t the numbers you’d like to see from a person handling the point, but considering Pitt didn’t have a true point guard, it makes Artis’ year even better, when you take that into account.

People have been saying Pitt lacked a true point guard all year and they are not wrong. It makes you wonder how much better this team could have been with someone else running the point and players like Artis concentrating more on other parts of his game. One can only wonder, as he will move on after this season while a couple of true PGs come into the program.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh

Oakland Zoo t-shirt design bracket contest

2017 NCAA Tournament: Brackets, schedules, predictions, players to watch

Rejoice, college basketball fans: The 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket is officially out.

>> Click here to download your printable bracket (PDF)

Here's what you need to know about each region:

>> Read more trending news

 

2017 NCAA Tournament East Region

Bracket:

Here it is: the East Region #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/SENjhn4ryU— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The top four seeds are Villanova, Duke, Baylor and Florida. Potential sleepers in the region are SMU and Virginia. And the upset darlings could be UNC-Wilmington and East Tennessee State.Schedule:

  • No. 1 Villanova vs. Mt. Saint Mary’s/New Orleans, 7:10 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech, Approx 9:40 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 5 Virginia vs. No. 12 UNC-Wilmington,  12:40 p.m. on truTV, Thursday
  • No. 4 Florida vs. No. 13 East Tennessee State, Approx 3:10 p.m. on truTV, Thursday
  • No. 2 Duke vs. No. 15 Troy, 7:20 p.m. on TBS, Friday
  • No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 10 Marquette, Approx 9:50 p.m. on TBS, Friday
  • No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 14 New Mexico State, 12:40 p.m. on truTV, Friday
  • No. 6 SMU vs. No. 11 Providence/USC, Approx 3:10 p.m. on truTV, Friday

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 5 Virginia, No. 2 Duke vs. No. 6 SMU
  • Elite Eight: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 2 Duke
  • Final Four: No. 2 Duke

Players to watch:

  • Villanova’s Josh Hart: Hart was the Big East Player of the year and a key piece of last year’s national championship team.
  • Duke’s Luke Kennard: Kennard and Jayson Tatum helped lead Duke to the ACC Tournament title.
  • Baylor’s Jonathan Motley: Motley had a monster year for the Bears and is one of the best big men in the country.
  • Virginia’s London Perrantes: Perrantes was a key piece of last year’s Virginia team that went to the Elite Eight.

 

2017 NCAA Tournament West Region

Bracket:Time to make your picks in the West Region. #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/eQ1llCKWjX— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017

The No. 1 seed in the region is Gonzaga, which completed a 32-1 regular season, followed by Arizona at No. 2, Florida State at No. 3 and West Virginia as the No. 4 seed. The region also features teams that could pull an upset like No. 12 Princeton or No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast.Schedule:

  • No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 South Dakota State, 2 p.m. ET on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt, Approx 4:30 p.m. on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Princeton, 12:15 p.m. on CBS, Thursday
  • No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 13 Bucknell, Approx 2:45 p.m. on CBS Thursday
  • No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 North Dakota, Approx 9:50 p.m. on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 7 Saint Mary’s vs. No 10. VCU, 7:20 p.m. ET on TBS, Thursday
  • No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast, Approx 9:20 p.m. on TNT, Thursday
  • No. 6 Maryland vs. No. 11 Xavier, 6:50 p.m. on TNT, Thursday

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 6 Maryland
  • Elite 8: No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 2 Arizona
  • Final Four: No. 1 Gonzaga

Players to watch:

  • Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss: Williams-Goss is one of the top point guards in the country and easily one of the best talents the Bulldogs have ever had.
  • Arizona’s Allonzo Trier: Trier’s return from an PED suspension helped change the trajectory of Arizona’s season and could get the Wildcats to the Final Four.
  • Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac: Isaac is one of the most talented players in the country and figures to be a top NBA draft pick.
  • Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski: Karnowski is more mountain than man as he’s listed at 7-foot-1 and 300 pounds. But he’s also an extremely skilled big (averaging 12.6 points, 6 rebounds).

 

2017 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region

Bracket: The Midwest Region #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/o1lYukeITh— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 12, 2017

The Kansas Jayhawks lead the way as the No. 1 seed, followed by Louisville, Oregon and Purdue to round out the top four. Lower seeds like Rhode Island or Nevada could prove to be bracket busters if they come to play later this week.Schedule: 

Thursday, March 16: 

  • No. 5 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Nevada (Milwaukee), 9 p.m., truTV
  • No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 13 Vermont (Milwaukee), 6:27 p.m., truTV

Friday, March 17: 

  • No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 N.C. Central -or- UC Davis (Tulsa, Okla.), 6:50 p.m., TNT
  • No. 8 Miami vs. No. 9 Michigan State (Tulsa, Okla.), 9:20 p.m., TNT
  • No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 11 Rhode Island (Sacramento, Calif.), 3:30 p.m., TBS
  • No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 14 Iona (Sacramento, Calif.), 1:00 p.m., TBS
  • No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State (Indianapolis), 11:15 a.m., CBS
  • No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 15 Jacksonville State (Indianapolis), 1:45 p.m., CBS

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 8 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Purdue, No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 2 Louisville
  • Elite Eight: No. 4 Purdue vs. No. 2 Louisville
  • Final Four: No. 2 Louisville

Players to watch:

  • Kansas’ Frank Mason: The Big 12 player of the year, Mason has had one of the best seasons in all of college basketball.
  • Oregon’s Dillon Brooks: Also a player of the year, but in the Pac 12, Brooks will need to have a standout tournament to compensate for the serious injury suffered by teammate Chris Boucher.
  • Michigan State’s Miles Bridges: Bridges will have Kansas sweating if both teams advance to the round of 32. He’s one of the most-athletic players in the country.
  • Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan: The third major conference player of the year winner in the Midwest Region, Swanigan laid waste to the Big Ten as the Boilermakers took home the regular-season conference crown.

 

2017 NCAA Tournament South Region

Bracket: 

Let's take a complete look at the South Region. #SelectionSunday pic.twitter.com/41ODmegBGQ— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 12, 2017

The Tar Heels are somewhat of a surprise pick for the No. 1 seed. North Carolina fell to Duke twice, including in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, and the committee rewarded the Blue Devils with a No. 2 seed. Still, North Carolina is very deserving, having won the ACC regular-season title.

The region’s top four seeds are North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA and Butler.Schedule:

  • No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Texas Southern, Friday 2 p.m., truTV
  • No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Seton Hall, Friday 12:30 p.m., TNT
  • No. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Middle Tennessee, Thursday 3 p.m., TNT
  • No. 4 Butler vs. No. 13 Winthrop, Thursday 12:30 p.m. TNT
  • No. 6 Cincinnati vs. Kansas State/Wake Forest, Friday 7:27 p.m. truTV
  • No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 14 Kent State, 10 p.m., TNT, Friday
  • No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Wichita State, Friday 7:10 p.m., CBS
  • No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 15 Northern Kentucky, Friday 9:40 p.m., CBS

*All times are Eastern.Predictions:

  • Sweet 16: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Minnesota, No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 3 UCLA
  • Elite Eight: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Kentucky
  • Final Four: No. 2 Kentucky

Players to watch:

  • Kentucky’s Malik Monk: A star freshman among young stars who helped lead the Wildcats to the SEC regular season and tournament championships.
  • UCLA’s Lonzo Ball: Projected to be one of the top picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-6 freshman averaged a very healthy 14.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists for the Bruins.
  • North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks: Along with fellow upperclassmen Justin Jackson and Joel Berry IIMeeks led UNC to the regular-season ACC championship and could help take the Tar Heels back to the NCAA final.

2017 NCAA Bracket Released, ACC with nine teams

The NCAA Tournament field has been announced and even though Pitt isn't in it, you're likely to need a printable bracket for office pools and whatnot. Here is a printable bracket showing all of the matchups, courtesy of the fine folks from SB Nation.

Your No. 1 seeds are Villanova (in the East Region), Gonzaga (West), Kansas (Midwest), and North Carolina (South). The ACC ended up with nine teams Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, Notre Dame, Florida State, Miami, Wake Forest, Louisville, and North Carolina all in. That, in case you're counting, is more than any other conference in college hoops. The one team that missed that had a legitimate shot was Syracuse, who was 18-14. As I said earlier, 14-loss teams have gotten in, but it's just hard to do.

Pitt had a down year but I expect most people will be following the tournament to some degree.

And don't forget to sign up for the Cardiac Hill bracket contest, set up through Yahoo.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus cheers on son in college game

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an actress and producer, but Thursday night she was a mom and a basketball fan.

>> Read more trending news

Louis-Dreyfus’ son, Charlie Hall, plays for Northwestern University. Toward the end of the Wildcats’ 81-63 victory against Rutgers in the Big Ten tournament, ESPN2 focused a camera on Louis-Dreyfus as Hall entered the game.

Hall didn’t score any points, but he did grab two rebounds, and viewers were treated to a split-cam version of the rebound and Louis-Dreyfus cheering the play.

Hall did not get into Friday night’s game, but Northwestern continued to advance in the tournament with a 72-64 quarterfinal victory against Maryland. The Wildcats (23-10), reaching the conference tournament semifinals for the first time, will play Wisconsin at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

ESPN2 caught Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) celebrating a rebound by her son, @NUMensBball sophomore @charlie_hall23. pic.twitter.com/xgbBwrWGQm— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) March 10, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

A look back at ten of the greatest wins in Pitt basketball history

With Pitt now out of the ACC Tournament, I figured everyone could use a pick-me-up. Recently, I put together a list of PItt's worst losses. This time I've got a list of some of the program's biggest wins. I tried to include games from every era of Pitt basketball. There were so many great games to choose from, and I could see any of the honorable mention selections making the top 10.

Honorable Mentions

Pitt 55, WVU 54 (2008)

Yes, the Ramon shot. Pitt has been on the wrong end of way too many buzzer beaters over the years, and for once it went their way. This might’ve made the list if the first 39:51 of the game wasn’t an awful display of basketball. Nobody shot the ball well. Blair was 3-13 and WVU somehow managed to shoot a higher percentage from three-point range (47%) than free throws (41%) and two pointers (29%). Pitt is forgiven slightly because this game was during the stretch that Fields was out with an ankle injury and they had no one to handle the ball.

Pitt 45, Penn State 28 (1928)

Pitt capped its only undefeated season at 21-0 with a win at Penn State. They were named National Champions by the Helms Athletic Foundation. If this game occurred after WWII it would be number one on this list by a mile. Alas, there were no national tournaments back then.

Pitt 59, Wisconsin 55 (2004 NCAA Second Round)

This is possibly Pitt’s most impressive tournament win ever. Despite being the 3 seed, Pitt drew a second round matchup with Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Pitt did just enough to defeat Big Ten POY Devin Harris and the rest of the Badgers. Harris would be a top 5 pick a few months later. Luckily for Pitt, Wisconsin sophomore Alando Tucker was out for the season with a foot injury.

Pitt 76, UConn 68 (2009)

The Thabeet Flip. Blair goes for 22 and 23. Pitt gets its first win over a number one ranked team. The only thing that prevents me from having this ranked higher is my desire to not have the list be the entire 2008-2009 season.

Pitt 74, Georgetown 65 (2008 Big East Tournament Final)

Pitt wins its second Big East Championship by winning four games in four nights. The only thing I remember from this game is Young’s insane block of Hibbert in the final minute.

Pitt 80, North Carolina 75 (2014 ACC Quarterfinals)

A win that signified that perhaps Pitt could be successful in the ACC. Beating North Carolina in Greensboro avenged a four point loss in the Dean Dome weeks earlier.

The Top Ten

10. Pitt 26, North Carolina 20 (1941 NCAA Tournament)

I had to include Pitt’s only trip to the Final Four, even if there were only eight teams in the tournament. This game also holds special meaning as the lowest scoring game in NCAA Tournament history. What an excellent non-shot clock era defensive game plan by Coach Doc Carlson.

9 Pitt 70, Georgetown 66 (2001)

Early in the first half Julius Page took a pass from Ricardo Greer coming down the lane. The resulting dunk over 7’0" Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje provided the game’s signature moment, and Howland had his first signature win as coach of the Panthers.  Page led all scorers with 18 points, and the previously unbeaten Hoyas were held without a point over the final 3:48.

8. Pitt 65, Duke 64 (2007)

A battle of two unbeaten and top 10 teams at MSG, what more could you want from a December non-conference game? Down by as many as 16 in the first half, Pitt came back to force OT on the strength of Blair’s rebounding (20 total boards) and Jon Scheyer’s inability to hit water if he fell out of a boat that night (1-10 shooting). The game went to OT and Fields took over. Duke wouldn’t lose again until the middle of February.

7. Pitt 72, St. John’s 71 (1983)

When Pitt moved to the Big East in 1983, it came with a huge increase in competition. The team had moderate success in the Eastern 8, but the Big East was an entirely different animal. In the six years Pitt was in the Eastern 8, its members spent a combined 12 weeks ranked in the AP poll and three of those six didn’t feature a single ranked team at any point. Never once were multiple teams in the polls.

On the flip side, Pitt looked at their 1982 schedule and saw two meetings each with #2 Georgetown and Patrick Ewing, #5 Villanova, and #19 St. John’s. Pitt was still looking for its first win over a ranked team in their new conference when #5 St. John’s came to the Field House on February 1. The early part of the game was dominated by Chris Mullin of St. John’s as he rained jumpers from all over the court. He would finish 9-12 from the field and 2-2 from the line for 20 points. But in the second half, Pitt switched to a full-court press and held Mullin scoreless in the final 10 1/2 minutes. This is notable because it might be the last recorded instance of Pitt running a successful full-court press. Pitt didn’t hit a field goal in the final six minutes but it didn’t matter because they made their free throws (28-35). Clyde Vaughn and Andre Williams led the Panthers with 24 points a piece. The victory kick-started a run in which Pitt would defeat St. John’s, #20 Syracuse and #14 Georgetown in a span of 19 days.

6. Pitt 85, Syracuse 84 (1988)

Pitt was up and down in their first four years in the Big East. They were capable of beating good teams on a given night (see #7), but couldn’t put it together for an entire season. They had finished 6th, 6th, 5th, and 6th in the standings. In 1987 they broke through by tying for the conference regular season lead with Georgetown and Syracuse at 12-4. Georgetown won the tie-breaker for sweeping both Pitt and Syracuse while Pitt was number 2 for its own season sweep of the Orangemen.

The next season Syracuse and Pitt met at the Carrier Dome in the regular season finale with identical 11-4 conference records. The winner would claim the Big East outright. Syracuse won the first meeting 84-75 at the Civic Arena a month earlier. After Syracuse grabbed an early 2-0 lead, Pitt would score the next 10 and never trail again. Syracuse trailed by as many as 14 but tied it at 79 with 2:38 left. Pitt went ahead 85-82 on two Charles Smith free throws and Syracuse missed two game-tying three point attempts in the closing seconds. In a league dominated for most of the decade by Georgetown, Syracuse, and St. John’s, Pitt was finally on top. Since this is a happy article, we’ll just assume the season ended on that night.

5. The Entire 2001 Big East Tournament

Pitt Basketball’s resurgence began with a four-game stretch in March of 2001. Pitt had six Big East Tournament wins total (and never multiple wins in the same year) prior to this year. They began the run with a relatively easy win over a sneakily-talented Miami squad led by long-time NBA veterans John Salmons and James Jones. Next they shut down two-time consensus All-American Troy Murphy and Notre Dame in the quarterfinals 66-54. To put into perspective what an incredible defensive effort this was, Murphy (college career avg 21.4 ppg) scored in double figures in 92 of his 94 games played. He had eight that night. After a nail-biting 55-54 OT win over Syracuse in the semi-finals, Pitt finally ran out of gas against Troy Bell and BC in the finals. Pitt trailed by five midway through the second half, but a 19-0 BC run put the game out of reach. A disappointing finish, sure, but they would be back.

4. Pitt 74, UConn 56 (2003 Big East Championship)

A third straight trip to the Big East Final gave Pitt their first championship. The Panthers annihilated the competition, beating Providence by 10, BC by 26 and UConn by 18. The 18 point average margin of victory was the third-highest total for a tournament champion in the history of the Big East (Seton Hall 18.33 ppg 1993, BC 21 ppg 2001).

3. Pitt 60, Xavier 55 (2009 East Regional Semi-Finals)

After four failed attempts, Pitt finally got over the Sweet 16 hump. Poor shooting nights from both teams led to an incredible 35 offensive rebounds (18 Pitt 17 Xavier). I can still hear Lundquist and Raftery’s call of the go-ahead three by Fields.

Raftery: Tough shot…

Verne: Jumper noooo.  YES!!!!

Raftery: OOOOOHHHH!!!! HOW BOUT THIS KID!!?! LEADERSHIP QUALITY!!! OOOHHHH!!! EARLY!!! ONIONS!

2. Pitt 98, WVU 95 3OT (2010)

This was probably the most exciting game in the Pete’s history, and beating your chief rival’s best non-Jerry West team ever put this high on the list. Gibbs and Woodall led a 9-2 run in the final minute to tie it.  Each team had shots to win the game at the buzzer. WVU PG Truck Bryant missed a jumper at the end of regulation but then tied it with a three-pointer in the closing seconds of the first OT. Gary McGhee missed a game-winning tip at the end of the second OT before clutch free throws closed it out in the third extra session. You can watch the end of this one in all its glory here. Here’s the steal by Robinson, sideline tip-toe by Wanamaker and game-tying three by Gibbs to complete the comeback.

1. Pitt 70, UConn 60 (2009)

In my opinion this game was the apex of Pitt Basketball. A Sunday afternoon nationally televised game between the #1 and #3 ranked teams in the country. A record crowd saw Sam Young pour in 31 to lead Pitt to their second win over a top-ranked team. This was also the first ever Zoo sleepover (now a more regular occurrence) in which 50 or so students slept on the floor of the Pete the night before. The Oakland Zoo twitter account was created that night as well. Having been one of those 50 students, this game and the night that preceded it were some of my very best memories of college.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Dawn Staley expected to be named U.S. women’s national team coach

USA Basketball has called a news conference for Friday and is expected to name South Carolina women’s coach Dawn Staley to direct the women’s national team, the Post and Courier reported.

 >> Read more trending news

Staley won three gold medals as a player and two more as an assistant. Staley would succeed Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, who has led the U.S. women’s teams for the past two Olympics. Staley was an assistant to Auriemma in Rio de Janeiro and also assisted Anne Donovan on the gold-winning team at Beijing in 2008.

According to USA Basketball, the news conference will be to announce the head coach who will lead the U.S. women’s national team in the 2018 FIBA World Cup of Basketball, if necessary the 2019 Olympic qualifying tournament, and the 2020 Olympics.

“I think it is the perfect person for our game and for generations to come," basketball television analyst Debbie Antonelli told the Post and Courier. "There’s no better competitor. There’s no greater ambassador for our game. Dawn has embodied the full patriotic experience. She gets it.” 

The United States has won the gold medal in women’s basketball in six consecutive Olympics. The American women have won 49 straight games and are 66-3 since beginning play in 1976.

Staley played on U.S. Olympic teams that won gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and was the U.S. flag bearer at the opening ceremonies before her final games in Sydney.

As a head coach, Staley has led U.S. women's teams to gold medals three times: at the 2007 Pan-American Games, the 2014 under-18 FIBA Americas Championship, and most recently the 2015 under-19 FIBA World Championships in Russia, where Gamecocks star A'ja Wilson was named MVP.

At South Carolina, Staley has led the Gamecocks to four straight Southeastern Conference titles and three straight SEC Tournament crowns. She guided South Carolina to its first Final Four in 2015. This season the Gamecocks went 27-4 and are ranked No. 4 in the latest Associated Press poll.

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