Caulton Tudor

Pitt's Dixon ready for Gary Williams role

Posted March 13, 2014

Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon reacts to a call during action at the Dean E. Smith Center between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Pitt Panthers on February 15, 2014 in Chapel Hill, NC. (Will Bratton/WRAL contributor)

For the sake of sheer atmosphere and excitement, the ACC Tournament would have been better served with a Wake Forest win over Pitt in Thursday’s round.

For years and years, a Wake vs. North Carolina quarterfinal tournament game has been about as appealing and compelling as the early tourney going gets.

Pitt didn’t get that memo.

And based on the way Wake played defense - more correctly, didn’t play defense - neither did the Deacons. Or if they did get it, they trashed it without a read.

One day after an impressive 81-69 win over Notre Dame, the Deacons (17-16) ended their season with the sort of lackadaisical performance that has marked much of the past four years.

So what we have - after the Panthers’ absurdly easy 84-55 win in Greensboro Coliseum - is still an intriguing consolation prize for Friday’s 2 p.m. quarterfinal game.

Pitt, after one victory over an old-line ACC team, now gets a shot at arguably the biggest barn on Tobacco Road’s frat row, North Carolina.

We get the Pitt vs. UNC game, and we get to play “guess the new coach” as Wake athletic director Ron Wellman almost certainly will go shopping for Jeff Bzdelik’s successor only a few months after replacing football coach Jim Grobe with Dave Clawson.

Bzdelik would not address the future, saying only that he would entertain questions about the game when asked what the job review process would be.

But asked if he would like to get a chance to play somewhere in the postseason - the College Basketball Invitational, say - Bzdelik seemed to like the suggestion.

“We certainly don’t want to go out like this,” he said.

So much for that.

Then there’s Pitt coach Jamie Dixon.

For an ACC Tournament rookie, the 48-year-old native Californian has displayed an immediate willingness to fill former Maryland coach Gary Williams’ old role of persecuted Northern invader.

When asked earlier this week if North Carolina’s four schools have an unfair advantage with the traditional Greensboro playing site, Dixon stepped right up to the mike and homered to deep center.

“They (ACC folks) made it very clear that it wasn't an advantage,” Dixon, with a classic deadpan delivery, told The Pittsburgh Times Tribune.

“I haven't heard the North Carolina teams say it, as well, but they've assured me that there's no advantage going forward. We look toward the opportunity of a balanced and fair crowd, game and environment.”

The Tar Heels have won 17 ACC Tournament titles - seven more than Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech Maryland, Georgia Tech, Miami, Clemson, Boston College and South Carolina combined.

And even with 17 trophies, the Tar Heels are still two behind Duke.

Pitt, which lost at Carolina, 75-71 on Feb. 15 in the lone regular-season meeting, obviously deserved its first league tournament win.

It will be an NCAA seedings placement game, too.

The win over Wake left Pitt 24-8 and solidly inside the cut line, assuming the ACC’s 15 members of at least five bids on the final day of Maryland’s basketball membership.

History will be made Friday with Syracuse and Pitt in the house for their first ACC quarterfinals. Dixon is a guy who likes the big top, so he’ll help make it fun.

But Bzdelik’s likely final game at Wake Forest will always be recalled as “what if?” situation. Had the Deacs moved forward, it would have been a 10,000 against 10,000 equation - UNC’s fans against everyone else with what would have been a tough ticket to score.



6 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • jhilfiker2001 Mar 14, 2014

    Dixon is a rare breed. Reminds me a lot of Pitino, guy is a duesche but last guy you're gonna wanna face. I wouldn't even call it an upset.

  • Jeanne Gunn Mar 13, 2014

    As a Heels fan, I was hoping Wake would beat Pitt!

  • trolllordv00 Mar 13, 2014

    Do they even proof read these articles before they submit them? My first grader turns in better reports than this.

  • 903 Hail Providence Mar 13, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Lately, the only adjustment teams have had to make playing at the ACC Tourney are playing in a 23,000 seat arena with less than 1/2 the seats actually occupied. I rarely see any Duke fans there on Thursday or Friday until the 1 game that Duke is in. Same with UNC and State and all the others. Most of the big $ donors that get the best seats to these games don't show up until the game in which their team is playing. Saturday and Sunday are a different story.

  • wjuliang Mar 13, 2014

    We didn't make them join the ACC....

  • JPack Mar 13, 2014

    Unfair advantage? I would think the outsider has the advantage. Whichever triangle team you are playing, there are two other schools of fans cheering you on.

  • 1st Look: 100 days to Rio

    Tonight at 7:00 on WRAL-TV

  • Barclay’s Premier League Soccer: Arsenal vs. Norwich City

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL Playoffs: NY Islanders at Tampa Bay

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • 1st Look: Race to the Triple Crown

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL Playoffs: Pittsburgh at Washington

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL Playoffs: St. Louis at Dallas

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL Draft: Rounds 2-3

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: San Francisco at NY Mets

    Tomorrow at 4:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Zurich Classic (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1B. Stuard-818
2R. Goosen-718
3tD. Ernst-518
3tJ. Henry-518
3tC. Howell III-518
3tG. Ogilvy-518
3tP. Rodgers-518
8tB. An-418
8tR. Fowler-418
8tD. Lee-418
View Full Leaderboard
 
Texas LPGA (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1M. Hur-518
2tE. Ji-418
2tG. Piller-418
2tS. Ryu-418
5tS. Kim-318
5tC. Matthew-318
5tJ. Shin-318
5tA. Yang-318
9tI. Chun-218
9tC. Ciganda-218
View Full Leaderboard
 
Volvo China Open (EURO)
PosNameScoreThru
1F. Aguilar-1118
2tA. Noren-1018
2tB. Wiesberger-1018
4tT. Kim-918
4tL. Bjerregaard-918
4tT. Hatton-918
4tH. Otto-914
4tM. Siem-913
9tM. Kieffer-818
9tH. Li-818
View Full Leaderboard
 
ATP Scoreboard
Friday, Apr. 29
Istanbul Open (ATP)
Quarterfinals
D. Schwartzma5 77 1   
D. Dzumhur7 64 2   
(4) F. Delbonis 
(8) A. Ramos-Vino 
(2) G. Dimitrov 
(6) J. Vesely 
(3) I. Karlovic 
(5) M. Granollers 
 
(ATP)
Quarterfinals
(3) D. Thiem6 4 6   
I. Dodig4 6 3   
(1) D. Goffin1     
(8) A. Zverev3     
(5) F. Fognini 
J. Kovalik 
(4) P. Kohlschrei 
J. del Potro 
 
Estoril Open (ATP)
 
WTA Scoreboard
Friday, Apr. 29
Grand Prix de SAR (WTA)
Semifinals
K. Bertens6 1    
M. Erakovic2 2    
(1) T. Bacsinszky 
(5) T. Babos 
 
(WTA)
Semifinals
(2) L. Safarova6 77    
(3) K. Pliskova4 64    
(1) S. Kuznetsova     
(4) S. Stosur