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Know! Your! Foe! - Pitt.

When the second round CBI pairings were confirmed, I sent out several emails that evening to potential Know! Your! Foe! interview subjects and the only person who got back to me was Chas Rich (potentially pictured above) of Pitt Blather.

I'm glad he did. Rich tackled my preview questions admirably in advance of Pittsburgh hosting Princeton on Monday night. Our conversation follows after the jump.

If you cover a team the Tigers will face down the line, let us know. It would be great to talk with you.

After the NIT bids came out, was there surprise that Pitt opted to play in the CBI?

Some. I think there was some expectation that if Pitt didn't get an NIT bid, that Pitt would just end the season. And for a fair amount of fans, this season was so frustrating and disappointing that they just wanted it ended.

The Panthers have a reputation as one of the best defensive teams out there the past few years but it appears that in 2011-12 it is their offense that has been their more efficient side. Besides ludicrous offensive rebounding numbers, what does Pitt do well with the ball?

That's a bit overstated. Pitt's defense has been a touch overrated in recent years. Tempo-free stats have shown that Pitt has hardly been an elite defensive team for a few years. Because of Pitt's tempo, however, it has been easily ignored based on points per game.

The offensive efficiency of Pitt has been much more significant in recent years. This year, however, has seen Pitt struggle doing a lot consistently well on offense. When Pitt's offense is clicking, then the threes are falling. Problem is, that Pitt has been streaky with threes this year. Especially if teams have size on the perimeter or are effective at pressuring on defense.

Has there been something you can pinpoint that's different about Jamie Dixon's squad defensively this year?

The lack of it? The biggest issue has been that the interior defense has been really bad. You can see it by the use of a zone all season by Pitt. The guards have also struggled with keeping guys in front of them - which puts even more pressure on a shaky interior defense.

While I gather he is not near 100%, how different is the team with Tray Woodall on the floor?

A lot less stagnation. He was the guy giving orders out on the court. Something this team needs considering how many players are not nearly experienced enough.Plus, even though his shooting hasn't been that good since his return, he adds another perimeter threat and provides more space on the court.

What can you say about the play of New Jersey native and leading scorer Ashton Gibbs this season?

Not the way he (or Pitt fans) wanted this season to go. He wanted to show that he could be a guard in the NBA and lead Pitt deep into the NCAA Tournament. Instead, he established what was believed. He is a fine shooter, but not able to create his own shot or run point for a team.

He really struggled without Woodall to run the point. It not only took a toll on him while Woodall was injured. He never really got comfortable the rest of the season.

Besides these two, who is a Panther that Tiger fans should keep their eyes on come Monday night? Lamar Patterson stood out to me when I saw Pitt and Georgetown at MSG in the Big East Tournament earlier this month.

Patterson is good choice, because he can do a lot right. He has shown moments of being point-forward type player. He sees the court very well, and involves the other players. His problem is that while he sees the court well, his passing isn't nearly crisp enough. Allowing opposing teams to recover.

The one player to really watch at this point is J.J. Moore. He has really come on - not withstanding the Georgetown game - in the last month. He has fantastic athleticism, and a good shot. He can be streaky in his shooting, though, and can be too willing to shoot from outside rather than attack the basket. On a related note, you guys don't play zone do you?

Please fill in the blanks however you see fit: The Panthers end the Tigers' season in the Iron City if...

Pitt can defend the three. Your guys take almost 37% of your shots from beyond the arc. Pitt has not been good at consistently defending the perimeter. Especially against teams that can be patient and move the ball. If the threes aren't going for the Tigers, and/or Pitt is doing a great job of denying the shots, I like the chances for Pitt.

Princeton wins their second game of the year at a Big East school if...

Pitt gets impatient. It may seem odd to say that about Pitt, and a team that is such a low possession, slow tempo team. Yet, they can get easily frustrated at either end of the court - especially on defense. The longer you make them defend, the more likely you are to make them pay.

Please plug who you are, what you do and how people can follow you before we wrap up!

Like Zaphod Beeblebrox, I'm just this guy...

You can find me, obviously at as well as on Twitter: @ChasRich27.

Dave Mills said,

March 18, 2012 @ 9:48 am

"Potentially pictured above." Nice!

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