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NBA considers changing game over millennials’ short attention spans

NBA basketball games are shorter than the other major league sports games like football and hockey, but the last minutes of a game can drag on for a considerable time.Commissioner Adam Silver said last week the league is considering making changes so they don’t lose millennials, who are tuning out in the final minutes of the game.

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“It’s something that I know all of sports are looking at right now, and that is the format of the game and the length of time it takes to play the game,” Silver said to ESPN.com’s Tom Hamilton.

“Obviously people, particularly millennials, have increasingly short attention spans, so it’s something as a business we need to pay attention to,” he added.

During the last two minutes of a basketball game, coaches call time outs, they switch players, and plan for plays that could help them win, but it can turn those final two minutes into 10 to 15 minutes, or longer.“We are going to take a fresh look at the format, specifically in the last two minutes," Silver said. It’s ultimately up to the NBA’s board of owners, but there’s been no word on what kinds of changes might happen or when.

Pat Signal: Jason Pinnock commits to Pitt

Pitt lands a three-star cornerback

Pinnock to Pittsburgh. ✌ #412 pic.twitter.com/VPNj7WViH6— Jason (@Jason_Pinnock) January 17, 2017

Jason Pinnock just announced via Twitter that he is committed to the University of Pittsburgh. Pinnock is a 6’1” 190 pound cornerback from Windsor, Connecticut. He is graded as a three-star by Rivals, while just a two-star by Scout, ESPN, and 24-7. Pinnock was initially a member of the Boston College recruiting class, but de-committed shortly after a Pitt offer. After visiting this past weekend, Pitt was able to close the deal.

In addition to his Pitt and Boston College offers, UConn also offered, but he was receiving high interest from Notre Dame. Many suspected a Notre Dame offer could be nearing, but Pinnock opted to shut down his recruitment today.

Pinnock is a rare recruit for Pitt from the state of Connecticut, or New England in general. Rivals calls him the 8th best player in the Constitution State. He helped lead his Windsor High School team to a 12-1 season in 2016. Pinnock led his team on offense with 59 receptions, 1,172 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Still his impact on defense was also equal or more important. He posted 7 interceptions and recovered three fumbles and displays great coverage skills in his Hudl highlights.

Pinnock now becomes the 20th recruit in the 2017 class. He joins Damarri Mathis as the second corner in the class. As we saw with this past season, Pitt really needs to add depth and talent to the position. Pinnock will have a chance at early playing time, but a redshirt seems most likely for next season.

We are now two weeks away from signing day, and Pitt still has plenty of work to do. There are two more official visit weekends coming up, and Pat Narduzzi and his staff will need to lock down 4-5 more recruits, at least.

Brawl breaks out during college basketball game in Memphis

A brawl broke out during the Lemoyne-Owen College vs. Lane College basketball game on Saturday, January 14th in Memphis, Tennessee. 

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 Police said no ambulances were called to the scene nor was a police report filed. 

No one was taken into custody. 

Both colleges are investigating. 

Against the Odds: NC State is the home favorite over Pitt

The line is moving in the direction of NC State for tonight’s game.

Pitt is on a losing streak and so is NC State. Both teams will come into tonight’s contest at 12-6 and 1-4 in the ACC Conference. Vegas opened the game up by giving the Wolfpack a 1.5 point advantage. The money seems to be trending towards NC State more and more as the line moved to 3.5 as of this writing. So, the odds are not in favor of Pitt being the team that snaps a losing streak this evening.

After being embarrassed at home, Pitt needs a strong effort and would like to get Michael Young and Ryan Luther healthy to make it happen. Young appears to be ready to work through it, but he has to be better than this past weekend. Luther will remain out for a little while, which clearly hurts this team.

The game will tip at 7PM tonight at PNC Arena, in Raleigh, NC. Head coach Mark Gottfried’s team puts up a lot of points and has five players averaging over double figures per game. Pitt’s defense will have to step up and score themselves. The Pack and the Panthers have each dropped four out of their last five to put themselves in this hole. Both need a win badly. Vegas is betting it will be NC State. Pitt’s fan base is already on life support. A loss here won’t help matters.

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

With injuries to Michael Young and Ryan Luther, Pitt needs to make some lineup decisions

I'm still having a problem digesting the hot mess that was the Pitt-Miami fiasco this weekend. Part of the real problem for me was not only that the chance for a seemingly winnable game is gone but that the Panthers looked so abysmal without Ryan Luther and a diminished Michael Young, who clearly isn't 100%.

The bigger issue, of course, is that things go far beyond that one game. Pitt will be without Luther for a couple of weeks and Young isn't going to be 100% right away. And as head coach Kevin Stallings said afterwards, he'll be continuing to wear the mask that hampered him a bit.

In other words, things could get bumpy.

Over the long haul, the Pitt basketball roster is going to need quite a bit of reworking after this season. But in the immediate future, Pitt has limited options. That's part of the problem. The Panthers have really only gone seven deep this year and are down to somewhere around 5 1/2 right now with Luther out and Young playing hurt. Pitt, whether they want to or not, is going to have to bring some more guys into the mix.

After the game, when asked about how Pitt would compensate (specifically, it was asked if Manigault would get Luther's minutes), Stallings said they team may need to go to a smaller lineup. That got me to thinking, what kind of options does he have?

Here are some ideas as I see them:

1. Start Kithcart and/or play him more

Freshman Justice Kithcart hasn't set the world on fire, but let's be honest here - there are few options. At the very least, particularly if Pitt is going small, he is going to have to play more than the six minutes he's averaged in the past three games. Starting Kithcart (along with Johnson, Artis, Jeter, and Young) might seem odd because you're actually penalizing Chris Jones for not much of a reason. But the flipside is that you would add some experience to a paper-thin bench.

Unlike Corey Manigault, Kithcart has played quite a bit this year. He averages about 15 minutes a game and is almost always in double figures (minutes). His assist-to-turnover margin is a close second only to Cam Johnson. He's nowhere near the level of a James Robinson even in terms of just that statistic, but that's a start. As we all know, Kithcart's biggest problem is his shooting and despite all the playing time he's getting, he shoots under 33% from the field. No amount of increased time is going to fix that this year and the best hope here is that, if he plays more this season, he's more of a facilitator and works on merely taking care of the ball and finding open men. Any scenario where Kithcart is asked to score more is simply a foolhardy one.

If Kithcart were able to give Pitt 20 capable minutes a game until Luther returns, that would fix quite a bit. Is that asking a lot? Depends on what your version of 'capable' is. Ten points and five or six assists per game? Too much. Five points and four or five assists? Closer.

If you're in favor of Kithcart starting, this option potentially replaces a starter since it likely means that Jones gets bumped. While replacing a starter right now might seem sort of ridiculous, consider that it would help upgrade the bench a bit and add a little more experience there. Plus, Jones isn't exactly producing a ton as a starter, anyway. But even if you don't start Kithcart, the idea is that he's playing more here and that Artis moves into the frontcourt.

2. Making Corey Manigault a featured player

If he doesn't start, Kithcart would remain the top guard off the bench. In this scenario (and really any scenario), Manigault becomes the top big reserve. Manigault is the top reserve big man, but here, he would play more, spelling both Jeter and Young. If those guys stay out of foul trouble and Young gets back close to his former self, that might not mean more than 15 minutes. Luther himself played less than that at times, after all.

Here, Manigault is the top reserve and Pitt basically maintains the status quo. Same starters playing the same minutes and no moving around. Manigault simply fills the role of Luther. Manigault certainly has not made much of an impact this year but a big reason for that is because he's barely played, only getting on the court for more than five minutes three times this season. His low averages shouldn't be alarming simply because he's not been out there much. Now, I'm not saying he deserves to be playing more. What I am saying is that his low totals are simply a product of not playing. If he plays more, his averages would be better. And as I wrote recently, it's not as if Luther had been tearing things up lately. If Manigault plays 15 mintues a game, the dropoff might not be big as it seems compared to Luther's recent production.

3. Small Ball

As Stallings alluded to, Pitt has the chance to go small. What does that look like? In a nutshell, more of Kithcart, Wilson, and/or Milligan. Maybe on a lesser scale, something like Kithcart, Johnson, Artis, Jeter, and Young, or some combination thereof to start. Then, instead of playing Manigault off the bench much, perhaps everyone simply moves up a spot. For example, if Young needs a break, Jeter moves to center, Artis to power forward, Cam to small forward, and Jones or Milligan comes off the bench to play shooting guard. Or if Artis needs a break, same scenario - guards move up a spot.

Have two guys coming out? Say, Artis and Jeter? Outside of inserting Manigault, perhaps you go with something like Young, Cam, Jones, Milligan/Wilson, and Kithcart. Ideally, I don't see how Pitt takes two bigs out at once barring an injury or foul trouble and doesn't go with Manigault, so I'm not even sure something like this comes to fruition ... at least not for very long. But you get the picture. In a small ball scenario, Artis almost has to leave his point guard role and move somewhere like small forward to make up for the loss of Luther and a diminished Young. If you're not convinced that Door No. 2 with Manigault is a good one, there's simply no other realistic option as a big man off the bench.

Frankly, I'm less enthused about the small ball option unless you have something like Milligan getting hot from three-point range (which is possible). Pitt's backcourt bench has been a weakness all year and asking those guys to do more seems like the wrong way to go. At least with playing Kithcart more, you're limiting it to one guy instead of potentially involving all three.

Conclusion

In the end, this really all comes down to do you want to play the guards more or would you rather play Manigault more. To me, Nix isn't an option other than for maybe 4-5 minutes.

The good news is that Pitt doesn't need these new guys to come in and produce huge games. They can lean on Artis and hope Young returns closer to 100%. Cam, although he hasn't shown it lately, is able to score. What Pitt needs these guys to do is defend capably and make a few buckets. Not much more.

Obviously there can be some mixing and matching here, so Pitt isn't forced to rely only on one of these options. If two bigs exit a game, for example, you could try Manigault and one of the guards. But if you had to choose only one path above, which would it be?

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 With the Luther/Young injuries, if you had only one choice, which option would you prefer? Pitt features Justice Kithcart Pitt features Corey Manigault Pitt goes small, relying on trio of Kithcart, Wilson, and Milligan   4 votes | Results

Panther of the Week: Jamel Artis

Jamel Artis put on a performance for the ages in a week most Pitt fans would like to forget

Pitt went 0-2 this past week, but Jamel Artis had a performance few will forget. It’s unfortunate that the senior guard’s top performance came in such a dismal week for the hoops team. The week started with a tremendous comeback, that fell short, against the ranked Louisville Cardinals. It ended with a thud, at home, against Miami. Through it all, Artis shined, giving him the Panther of the Week honors.

Let’s just start with the low point of the season, which saw Pitt lose to Miami, AT HOME, by 26 points! In a game that saw no Ryan Luther and Michael Young battling a face injury, Artis tried his best to keep Pitt in the game, but fell short. The senior finished the game most would like to forget with a team high 15 points. He also chipped in two boards and two assists.

While that game is one that everyone wants to forget, Artis had one fans will remember for a long, long time against Louisville. The Panthers finished the contest with a 85-80 loss to the Cardinals. The game saw Pitt fall behind early, by over 20 points, but then everyone witnessed Artis’ refusal to let Pitt go away. He finished with 43 points, three rebounds and two assists. 32 of his points came in a wild second half.

The Baltimore, MD native was draining threes from NBA range and with defenders in his face and Louisville had to feel like they were in a horror movie for a little while. They had to be wondering why Pitt wouldn’t die until the final seconds. Artis shot 68% from the floor and that included seven treys.

Unfortunately most will remember this for the dismal performance against the Hurricanes and they should, but it should not let us forget Artis’ performance earlier in the week. The team needs Young to rebound from his injury and they must have find someone to step up for Luther’s absence. If that doesn’t happen, it won’t matter what Artis does.

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

No. 23 Pitt wrestling dominates weekend duals to move to 7-2

The Pitt wrestling team returned to duals action for the first time in more than a month after beating West Virginia in December. The Panthers had three opponents as part of their hosted 'Pitt Duals' event on Saturday and won all three easily.

Pitt first shut out Franklin and Marshall, 46-0, before defeating Davidson (45-0) and Bloomsburg (32-6). Both Davidson and Franklin and Marshall were on the Pitt Duals slate last year and while the Panthers easily beat Davidson, they had more trouble with Franklin and Marshall, winning 'only' 25-12.

One minor note is that it was good to get Dom Forys back. Forys, a top ten ranked wrestler at 133 pounds, missed the team's last dual against West Virginia with an injury. He returned to win all three of his matches.

The only Pitt defeats on the day that the team suffered were losses by Taleb Rahmani at 157 pounds and Donovan McAfee at 184 pounds (both in the Bloomsburg dual). Both of those wrestlers had one other match and successfully won (Rahmani also won a third via forfeit, so he was 2-1 on the day).

Ranked wrestlers Dom Forys (No. 7), TeShan Campbell (No. 13), and Ryan Solomon (No. 20) all had easy days, finishing a perfect 9-0. Every bout except for a forfeit and Solomon's 2-0 win against Bloomsburg was a technical fall win or a pin.

The most interesting thing on a day full of easy wins was that Mikey Racciato didn't wrestle. Not sure if it was an injury issue but hopefully he's back in time for the next meet. That next one, by the way, is an important one - it's a road trip to Virginia Tech next weekend for the first ACC dual of the season.

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.

Historical marker dedicated at Ty Cobb’s Georgia home

Baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb had a historical marker dedicated in front of the Georgia home where he lived for 19 years and where four of his five children were born, the Augusta Chronicle reported Saturday.

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Cobb, one of the first five players elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, lived in the Summerville neighborhood of Augusta, Georgia from 1913 to 1932.

“The Georgia Peach” made his professional baseball debut on April 26, 1904 as a 17-year-old for the Augusta Tourists of the South Atlantic League. The Ty Cobb Augusta Heritage Foundation erected the marker at 2425 Williams St., and Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro helped unveil the marker.

"I think it’s long overdue," Niekro told the Chronicle.

Cobb was born in Narrows, Georgia, in 1886, and grew up in Royston.

A game after his debut, Cobb was shipped to Anniston, Ala., before returning to Augusta to rejoin the Tourists in August. After starting the 1905 season in Augusta, he was promoted to the major leagues, joining the Detroit Tigers.

Cobb played 24 seasons in the major leagues and had a lifetime .366 batting average. He collected 4,189 hits and won 12 American League batting titles.

Cobb’s ties to Augusta were deep, the Chronicle reported. He married a Richmond County woman, Charlie Marion Lombard, at her family’s home in 1908. He owned a tire business in downtown Augusta and also built an apartment complex.

Cobb’s home has only had two other owners since he sold it in 1932 and moved to California, the Chronicle reported. The Sherman family bought it from him.

Current owner Beverly Ford opened the house to the couple of hundred visitors who attended Saturday’s marker ceremony, showing off the rooms that have largely unchanged since Cobb lived there.

Cynthia Cobb McGowin, daughter of Cobb’s youngest son, Jimmy, spoke at the dedication.

Niekro pulled the cover off the marker to officially dedicate it.

 "Ty Cobb never got a hit off me," said Niekro, whose major-league debut came three years after Cobb’s death in 1961 in Atlanta. "But I never struck him out, either."

Seattle's Bennett berates reporter after playoff loss to Falcons

Frustration boiled over for Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett as he lashed out at a reporter after Seattle’s 36-20 NFC playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, ESPN reported.

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Bennett became angry when a reporter mentioned that the Seahawks’ rushers had difficulty putting pressure on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Bennett challenged the reporter’s observation.

 "We got a lot of pressure," Bennett said. “He threw the ball really fast. There was some busted stuff going on so obviously you don’t know football. He threw the ball pretty fast. He did his thing. We rushed as good as we could. Don’t point and say we didn’t do what we needed to do, OK? Don’t do that.”

Ryan completed 26 of 37 passes for 338 yards, three touchdowns and was not intercepted. The Seahawks had three sacks and eight quarterback hits during the game.

"Get out of my face now," Bennett continued. "Don’t tell me I didn’t do my job. … Get … out of my face. Don’t play with me. I just put my heart on the … field. … Try me again, see what happens. I ain’t one of these … out here. Don’t try to tell me what I didn’t do."

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