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Pitt HC Jeff Capel Disillusioned by NCAA Tournament This Season

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This past week has been difficult for those who support the Pitt men’s basketball team after the Panthers were barely left out of the 68-team field in the NCAA Tournament.

It has hit even harder for those that would have taken the court for the Panthers and their head coach Jeff Capel, who admits he’s watched very little of March Madness in an interview with the PM Team on 93.7 the Fan.

“This is the first time in my life that I have not watched the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament,” Capel said.

The only game that Capel tuned in for so far was the Northwestern-FAU first-round matchup to watch his friend Chris Collins lead the Wildcats, but even that was tough to digest.

“My best friend is the head coach at Northwestern,” Capel said. “I watched a little bit of their game against Florida Atlantic to try and support him, but I had to turn it off. I’m looking at it and I’m thinking to myself, and it’s no disrespect to Chris, but we are better than both of these teams. It’s been really frustrating.”

Leading up to Selection Sunday, Pitt was often penalized for a weak non-conference schedule – ranked No. 340 according to Kenpom.com.

With today’s environment of college basketball, Capel believes that there should not be as much emphasis place on games in November and December.

“You will not know your team in today’s climate of college athletics, especially college basketball because you have so much transferring,” Capel said. “You don’t know your roster. Last Monday opened up the transfer portal. Why was it opened the day after Selection Sunday, I have no idea? It’s another thing that doesn’t make sense. By the end of the week there were over 900 kids in the transfer portal. You don’t know your team, and so people are working out the kinks earlier and people are getting to know your team.”

There was a reason Pitt designed its non-conference schedule a certain way with an overhauled roster.

“This year, I knew we were going to have a young backcourt. I knew we were going to be playing two freshmen in the rotation,” Capel said. “We staggered our schedule. We didn’t play the West Virginia game as early as we have since I’ve been here. We had those four games early and we wanted to get our feet wet. I thought it was smart, in the end it wasn’t.”

Capel felt that Pitt situated itself well with joining the NIT Season Tip-Off multi-team event in Brooklyn, NY. It set up a date with Florida, who went on to make March Madness. However, the consolation matchup with Oregon State did not bolster their schedule with the Beavers finishing last in the Pac-12.

Pitt also couldn’t prepare themselves for how West Virginia and Missouri’s last-place finish in their respective conference would impact the Panthers.

“We were given Missouri in the SEC Challenge – they were a top four team in the SEC last year with three starters back. West Virginia probably had the best recruiting class in the portal. Their season was turned upside down in the summer,” Capel said.

After a slow start to ACC play, Pitt flipped a switch and became one of the hottest teams in the nation, putting themselves in prime position to earn a bid to the Big Dance.

“If you look at us, going into the last game against [North] Carolina, we were 12-3. North Carolina was 12-3 in the conference during that time. I thought we were the two best teams. We had road wins, we had beaten quality opponents and I thought we were playing our best basketball, that’s why it hurt so much,” Capel said about being left out of the tournament.

In Capel’s eyes, he feels the selection committee needs to tweak the way they look at the non-conference slate.

“I don’t like the way the process is going. Sometimes, too much emphasis is put on what you do in non-conference and especially in today’s environment with the non-conference strength of schedule, that was a big thing and especially with us, ours wasn’t good this year,” Capel said.

Moving forward, Capel understands that Pitt and the ACC need to do a better job positioning their non-conference schedule to benefit their overall resume.

“We have to look at what is going to be the best things for us to position ourselves to be able to participate in the postseason,” he said. “We also as a league have to be more together and figure out how to get more teams in. It’s ridiculous for the ACC to only get five teams in.”

Even with five teams earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament, the ACC has exceeded expectations with four teams residing in the Sweet 16.

“I’m not surprised,” Capel said. “Every year during the NCAA Tournament, ACC teams produce at a very high level. There’s a narrative that’s been out there for the past few years about the ACC being down. Not exactly sure where that comes from, how it’s gotten started, how its continued to be on the forefront of the talking heads’ mind, but it’s not true.”

North Carolina, Duke, Clemson and NC State will look to continue the ACC’s march through the tournament starting on Thursday.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Rob Radich
Rob Radich
24 days ago

This is too funny- whining like a baby. Par for the course. I’ll offer some tips: 1. Don’t lose to 0-18 teams in the ACC/SEC Challenge. 2. Enough cupcakes- play somebody. 3. Don’t lose by 33 in a Quad 1 opportunity. The entitlement is insufferable

GFF
GFF
24 days ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

He’s a true Leader of Men.

Robert
Robert
21 days ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

100% agreed

GFF
GFF
24 days ago

He grudgingly acknowledges his errors in scheduling. Yet, he still won’t give up on making excuses.
Now, get him to acknowledge his dereliction of duty; in allowing his players to dictate to him under what circumstances they will play. How much $ did the athletic dept. eschew by skipping the NIT? Next season, what happens when there are games/opponents that the team finds beneath them?

Last edited 24 days ago by GFF
Jake
Jake
24 days ago
Reply to  GFF

Capel acknowledged that he made mistakes in scheduling, then explained why he thinks the non-conference should be handled differently when picking teams for the tournament. Where is the excuse? He took accountability then offered a perspective for a better system. Dereliction of Duty is a strong phrase to describe something you don’t have knowledge of. The decision not to participate in the NIT was called a group decision and unless you have connections into the inner circle of the program then respectfully you know nothing. And lets be honest, the amount of money given up by the athletic department wasn’t… Read more »

GFF
GFF
23 days ago
Reply to  Jake

I stand by my comments.
If the amount is >$0.00, I don’t know how it could be described as anything but a dereliction. You conveniently fail to consider TV revenue.
Does Pitt not, as a member of the ACC, benefit from BC’s, Wake’s and VT’s participation?
A precedent has been set: The team voted, and the coach and AD acquiesced.
Leading from Behind.

kmp30
kmp30
23 days ago
Reply to  GFF

I’m not going to waste time researching it… but I’ve heard teams may not even break even on NIT revenue, after their expenses, depending on how many games they end up playing and travel. The money is very minimal. Not saying it is right or wrong to consider that. I don’t think BC Wake and VT are bringing home money to spread around. I very well could be wrong. Just something I’ve come to understand over the years.

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
23 days ago
Reply to  kmp30

Travel expenses are paid by the tourney. $6k per team per game. Home team keeps the gate. Considering staff salaries are a sunk cost, it’s most likely a slight moneymaker

PittBand
PittBand
24 days ago

A big reason for being left out was the oversize presense of Joseph Lunardi as the mbb guru. He blew off Pitt after the 1 -5 conference start and to save face kept repeating Pitt had a weak preconference schedule. His ego couldn’t accept the quality of the team. Go to the English FA Cup model. Accept any team which wants to participate. It will add posibly 3 games to the tournament and serve a better purpose, making Ken Pomeroy and Joe Lunardi superfulious.
And who watches the NIT and CBI anyway?

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
24 days ago
Reply to  PittBand

You’re an idiot. Lunardi has absolutely no sway with the committee.

Paul
Paul
24 days ago
Reply to  Rob Radich

The only idiot in this form, is you. Let me guess Big Ten guy or an SEC guy. One conference, total, joking, football, and the other conference joke in basketball. or maybe you’re a big 12 or mountain west guy? That is just laughable.

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
24 days ago
Reply to  Paul

LOL…………..Bite me fanboy

Chris
Chris
24 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul, agree, sure Rob is a PSU apologist who lives to come on Pitt sites and bash the university. Rob, if you hate Pitt so much why are you even on this site? Get lost, HAIL PITT!

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
24 days ago
Reply to  Chris

lol. Nope.

PITT GUY
PITT GUY
24 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul let me inform you what RaDICK is ….he’s a little troll who lives in his moms basement and he comments on here because he has absolutely nothing else in life …….. total loser

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
24 days ago
Reply to  PITT GUY

Lol. The irony of you calling anyone a loser. Hysterical. Just a complete fucking zero.

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
24 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Actually skippy a dual degree Pitt grad who is embarrassed that my alma mater hired a whiny beeotch that recruits felons.

PittBand
PittBand
24 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Guys, he’s looking for validation, don’t give it to him. Ignore him. I have and will continue.

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
24 days ago
Reply to  PittBand

Aw, that hurts Band boy. Lol.

Old Faithful
Old Faithful
24 days ago
Reply to  PittBand

You are correct on all counts; and, most often, the real idiot is the person who can only argue by calling someone an idiot. And for complete accuracy, we should add Seth Davis and the CBS crew to ESPN’s Lunardi, who clearly pushed the SEC and MW narrative; check the tape.

Jake
Jake
24 days ago
Reply to  Old Faithful

Not to get too conspiratorial, but I wonder if the narrative of a weak ACC was to add pressure to the conference, adding onto the pressure with football, to ultimately crumble the league and fast track super conferences B10 and SEC. Yes I know that the B12 and MWC are who were propped up this year, but that could be intentional. I’d be curious to know if there are any similar members on the CFP and NCAA Tournament selection committees.

Also, please no one take this too seriously, just thinking outside the box for fun.

PittBand
PittBand
24 days ago
Reply to  Jake

Guess which former Pitt AD (hired Stallling) was added to the selection committee last year? His team (from the PAC 2) joins the Mountain West Coference next year after pledging over a $1M per football game.Yep, Scott Barnes. Coincidence the MWC got exposure, I think not.

Jake
Jake
24 days ago
Reply to  PittBand

lol, yeah he seems like the corrupt piece of shit with the means to pull something like that. Didn’t realize that occurred, but to your point, perfect timing. Even though they go by their metrics and criteria, the selection process is still an anonymous vote among committee members, so definitely possible Scottie persuaded his fellow committee members.

Skip White
Skip White
24 days ago

He has every right to be frustrated. 4th in the ACC with a 12-8 record and 22-11 overall is good enough to be playing in the tournament. If you watched the first and second round games last week Pitt would have beat quite a few of those teams selected instead of them….especially the darlings of the MWC like Boise St. Nevada and New Mexico.

howardlauderback@gmail.com
howardlauderback@gmail.com
24 days ago

Hey everybody the class clown is back. Always good for a laugh.

Rob Radich
Rob Radich
24 days ago

That’s right Howie! How you enjoying the tournament, cuck?

Toledo Window Box
Toledo Window Box
23 days ago

Capel will regret not playing the extra games in the NIT. Young team like this needs that experience for next year. No excuses

PittBand
PittBand
20 days ago

Team was disappointed. They are young and probably wouldn’t have had their heart in the NIT. Capal didn’t make the call, Heather did with input.

Marty
Marty
19 days ago

This thread is a perfect example of a troll who can’t wait to create discord. Kind of like a nasty turd in the punchbowl. SMH

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