PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – A couple of notes from practice day before the Panthers play Iowa State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Friday at 3:10 on 93.7 The Fan.
Pitt head coach Jeff Capel did not really have an update on center Federiko Federiko who missed Tuesday’s win with a knee injury. Capel saying he’s still ‘kind of day-to-day’. He said he will know better after their practice Thursday afternoon, but we won’t know really until game-time.
“I think he is doing okay,” Capel said Thursday morning. “You know, it's interesting because these foreign kids, they don't understand the tournament like we do. You know, Guillermo and Jorge and Fede, when they walked out in Dayton, they couldn't believe how many people were there. They were like, what's this about?
“Now, I think that makes Federiko a little more anxious to be out there, to be a part of it, but we will do what's best for him long term, not what's best in the short term for us. It has to be what's best for him. We will not put him or anyone out there if there's going to be any harm for right now or for anything in the future.”
President Obama love
President Barack Obama picked Pitt to beat Iowa State in his annual bracket and they he may have Pitt advancing, he left the line after the Pitt-Xavier matchup blank, but had either team losing to Texas in the Sweet 16. The immediate reaction from junior Blake Hinson ‘all right, Barack’.
“You think Barack going to see this?” Hinson added. “Barack, what up, man? I love Barack. I'm not going to forget that right there.”
“Man, you know, it feels good to know that Barack Obama, you know, is placing us to get this win, man, but at the end of the day we've got to come out and take care of business,” said guard Nike Sibande. “But, you know, just a year ago nobody had us projected to win nothing, so it just feels good to be able to be on the other side of that for sure.”
“That's super exciting,” said guard Greg Elliott. “Just to know that we got people that's believing in us.”
Facing old team
Hinson started his career at Mississippi, but then transferred to Iowa State. He didn’t play either year with the Cyclones saying Thursday he’d ‘rather not say’ why he left there. He said he had no reaction to facing his old team and keeps in touch with nobody at ISU.
“I’m just ready to play my next game in March Madness, and I’m focused on winning,” Hinson said. “I love it here (Pitt). I love it here. This is my favorite location I’ve ever been. H2P.”
Capel said he really hasn’t talked to Hinson about it.
“You know, it's interesting,” Capel said. “I don't think young people are as emotional about this stuff as we maybe adults are. They're able to move on very, very quickly and turn the page. So for us it's Pitt against Iowa State. It's not Blake against Iowa State or Iowa State against Blake.”
“They have an outstanding team. They have an outstanding coaching staff. They've done an incredible job, T.J. has, in his second year. The run they made this year, they played in an incredible conference. We have our hands full with Iowa State, not just the emotion of -- or not just emotion of Blake playing against
Capel is friends with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. They text throughout the year and Capel has been over to the Steelers facility. He seems to be rubbing off on the Pitt basketball coach, asked about the program getting its first NCAA win in nine years on Tuesday. Capel had his own variation of the oft-used Tomlin clichés ‘our windshield is bigger than our rearview mirror’.
“You know, one of the things I've talked about is right now we have to remove all the rearview mirrors. We're just looking straight out the front and what's ahead of us. When we're finished, and hopefully it's a while before we're finished, then we'll have time to look behind us and really, you know, talk about what we've accomplished. But right now we're just focused on Iowa State and what we have to do to try to beat really a good basketball team.”