Mehno: Pitt hoops has some serious problems

PITTSBURGH — Pitt’s basketball program has fallen on hard times. That much is indisputable.

The Panthers don’t win very much, and their home court is three-quarters empty for some games.

The issue here is how can the university fix the program and make Pitt basketball a hot ticket again?

It won’t be easy.

The decision starts with the question of whether Kevin Stallings is the coach to revive Pitt basketball. His second season has represented an almost complete rebuild, and the awful results speak for themselves.

Can Stallings and his staff recruit well enough to make Pitt competitive in the tough ACC? The results this season have been especially disheartening. Pitt doesn’t just lose, the Panthers often lose big.

Losses as lopsided as many the Panthers have endured suggest a serious talent gap between Pitt and the rest of the conference.

It would take a significant investment to buy out the remainder of Stallings’ contract, but it’s hard to imagine there’s much sentiment to keep him. His hiring wasn’t popular at the time, and the results haven’t changed many minds.

Pitt fans had gotten used to having the NCAA Tournament on their schedule. Their big complaint was Jamie Dixon didn’t get his teams deep enough in the tournament.

Now the season ends with the last game, and that’s it. Does this season also end with an unhappy parting with Stallings?

Low class

Not many people were probably aware of Jason Kelce until a few days ago.

Kelce plays center for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. When the city celebrated its first NFL championship since 1960, Kelce unfortunately stole the moment by addressing the team’s doubters.

It’s a common theme in sports — nobody gave us a chance and we showed them. It took a turn for the bitter, though, and Kelce unleashed some heavy-duty profanity as he addressed a crowd and live TV and radio microphones.

Several Eagles players spoke, but only Kelce had reason to regret what he’d said. He’s 30, certainly old enough to know better.

On a subsequent radio appearance, he said, “Did I do something stupid? Did I do anything dumb?”

Yes to both questions. Celebrate. Enjoy the accomplishment. Don’t waste time castigating critics, and don’t use language better suited for a biker bar.

Between choreographed end zone celebrations and Kelce’s nonsense, the idea of winning with style is becoming obsolete.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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