Pitt coach Jamie Dixon’s rep as a weak scheduler won’t change next season

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There may not be a program in the country that is more notorious for their weak non-conference scheduling that Pitt.

In the 11 seasons that Jamie Dixon has been the head coach of the Panthers, they’ve averaged a KenPom non-conference schedule strength of 250.1. Their highest ranking during those 11 years was 129th back in 2007. Only three times in Dixon’s tenure has their non-conference SOS been in the top 200, none of which were in the last five years. In 2012-2013, only seven teams played a weaker non-conference schedule.

While this has allowed Dixon to rack up wins, it has drawn the ire of national media pundits on every medium and annually hurts Pitt’s seeding in the NCAA tournament.

On Tuesday, the Panthers announced their 2014-2015 non-conference schedule:

  • Nov. 14: vs. Niagara
  • Nov. 16: vs. Samford
  • Nov. 21: at Hawaii
  • Nov. 24-26: Maui Invitational (teams in field: Arizona, BYU, Chaminade, Kansas State, Missouri, Purdue and San Diego State)
  • Dec. 2: at Indiana (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
  • Dec. 5: vs. Duquesne (neutral court)
  • Dec. 13: vs. St. Bonaventure
  • Dec. 17: vs. Manhattan
  • Dec. 20: vs. Oakland
  • Dec. 23: vs. Holy Cross
  • Dec. 30: vs. Florida Gulf Coast
  • Feb. 2: vs. Bryant

The Maui Invitational is a nice addition, but it’s not a guarantee. If the Panthers lose their first game and wind up in the loser’s bracket, they could end up in a situation where they play Chaminade, a Division II program, and Purdue, who doesn’t look like they’ll finish in the top ten in the Big Ten next season.

A trip to Indiana is also nice, but it’s part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, meaning that Pitt had no say in the scheduling of that game. The only other road game on Pitt’s schedule is a visit to Hawaii, which comes as an acclimation to Hawaiian time for the Maui Invitational.

The schedule should be an upgrade of last season, but Dixon once again did not exactly putting together a murderer’s row. We’ll see how it affects them this season.

VIDEO: Top 2018 recruits Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford go head-to-head at adidas

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This weekend is the first live evaluation period of the spring recruiting calendar as college coaches from all over the country are scouting (and babysitting) the top recruits in the Class of 2018 and 2019.

Friday night the adidas Gauntlet in Dallas opened with a marquee matchup of two star players as five-star forward Zion Williamson and five-star guard Romeo Langford went head-to-head in what should be one of the best games of the spring.

Most scouting services have Williamson and Langford as the No. 2 and No. 3 overall prospects in the Class of 2018 as the duo didn’t disappoint in front of the huge crowd in Fort Worth.

Williamson helped his team to a win with 26 points and seven rebounds while Langford had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. You’ll be hearing plenty about both of these guys over the next few months as both are still wide open in the recruting process.

(H/t: Ball is Life)

Report: Coppin State hires Juan Dixon as new head coach

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Coppin State has hired former Maryland star guard Juan Dixon to be its next head coach, according to a report from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

The 38-year-old Dixon is best known for leading Maryland to the 2002 national championship as he was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four that year. Now Dixon will have a chance to lead a Division I program for the first time.

Dixon spent seven years in the NBA and also played professionally in Europe before joining the Maryland coaching staff in 2013 as a special assistant to head coach Mark Turgeon. Not retained by Maryland after the 2015-16 season, Dixon took the head coaching job for the women’s team at the University of the District of Columbia last season as the Division II program finished only  3-25.

Coppin State finished last season with an 8-24 record after losing its first 12 games of the season. While Dixon will generate some positive local buzz given his background, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to rebuild that program.

Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen

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Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.

A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.

Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

North Carolina lands four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks

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North Carolina pulled in a late Class of 2017 commitment to begin the weekend as the Tar Heels secured a pledge from four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Brooks was previously committed to Mississippi State, but he was granted his release this spring to explore other opportunities.

The Tar Heels pounced as they’re getting a low-post threat who could develop into a potential double-double threat. A solid rebounder who isn’t afraid to play with physicality, Brooks has a chance to earn some immediate rotation minutes with seniors like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks exhausting their eligibility.

Brooks is regarded as the No. 120 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, as he is a four-star prospect. The native of Auburn, Alabama joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes point guard Jalek Felton, shooting guard Andrew Platek and big men Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.

Report: NCAA ‘anticipates’ hearing UNC case in mid-August

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Today, the AP churned out a story on Greg Sankey’s involvement with the NCAA’s investigation into the academic scandal at North Carolina, and buried within that story is this little nugget:

UNC must respond to the latest charges by May 16. The NCAA enforcement staff then has until July 17 for its own response. Sankey wrote that his panel will hear the case in August with “anticipated” dates of Aug. 16 and 17.

Rulings typically come weeks to months later.

We’ve been down this road before, as the current iteration of the Notice of Allegations is the third that the NCAA has provided the university. The first was given out back in May of 2015 for an investigation that began back in 2010.