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Cardiac Spill: Sheep Game!

I’m bored and sad and want to run a game out of this blog I barely write for. Let’s play the Sheep Game!

Here’s where the preamble about not having written for Cardiac Hill would go if anyone asked. We’re in the Deep Offseason, which is the time for dumb lists, endless season previews, and, apparently, the dissolution of a prestigious basketball program.

But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s play a Sheep Game.

I was introduced to the concept by the Something Awful forums a while back, although other people have apparently played it on cruise ships. I have reproduced the rules here, as written by “Xenophon” ten or so years ago:

The game is not complicated. 1. There will be a list of questions at the bottom of this post. The object of the game is to provide the MOST COMMON response from the people playing the game, kind of like Family Feud. You receive one point for each person who provided the same answer. In other words, if the question was "What is best in life," and 10 players said "To crush your enemies," each of those players would receive 10 points. If 5 players said "The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist," they would each receive 5 points. If 1 player said "Hello Kitty," he would receive 1 points (and the public condemnation of his peers). 2. Every question scores points, even if only one. The player with the MOST points, after all the questions are added up, wins the game. 3. There are no right or wrong answers - your job is to provide the MOST COMMON answer. So even if you really, really think that "The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist" is best in life, it might still be in your best interest to answer "To crush your enemies." This means that even a factually incorrect answer can score the most points! You have to decide what you think everyone else will say. 4. Some of the questions are vague - intentionally so! It's your job to interpret them as you think the majority will.

Got it? The goal is to give the answer you think everyone else is going to give. I’ll be checking answers for misspellings, same general concept, etc., so that for a question like, for example, “Penn State is what?”, “Terrible” and “Way Terrible” both count in the same group.

Scores and results (the good part) will be posted whenever I think there are enough entries. You may never see scores and results. To ensure that scores and results are posted, share this post. (I’d love to do a general-audience version of this eventually.)

THE QUESTIONS:

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I’ll Venmo the winner $1, maybe. Probably.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. also @N_THEYSTAYTHERE .

North Carolina in play for Cameron Johnson but Pitt would force him to sit a year first

Former Pitt player Cam Johnson already had a list of potential suitors a mile long. Now, North Carolina is also in the mix for him.

Johnson can transfer to the Tar Heels, but the Panthers would force him to sit a year first.

Count Jay Bilas among the outraged:

No school should restrict the transfer of an unpaid, amateur student for any reason. Period. Pitt is wrong here, and should let Johnson go. pic.twitter.com/QFAa8lE5a9 — Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) May 21, 2017

Personally, I'm a pretty big fan of Bilas. Love his analysis, insight, and generally think he's right on most topics. And he's even been gracious enough to preview some Pitt games in the past for us against Duke and also against Villanova. But the idea that he's specifically calling Pitt out here as if the school is some sort of standalone villain here is kind of amusing given that, well ...

This. Happens. Almost. Everywhere.

Even if Bilas' tweet didn't mean to come off that way, that's the way it sounds. Really, it should be clarified so that he's addressing the larger issue in general.

Bilas didn't stop there, however. He actually sent out another tweet (again, Pitt-specific) asking if the school's players were students or employees:

Restricting Cam Johnson's transfer is the same as a non-compete provision in an employment contract. Pitt athletes: students or employees? pic.twitter.com/YQkpDZAA9i — Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) May 21, 2017

Again, the idea in general may not be a bad one. But by trying to make this specific to the Panthers is where Bilas is wildly wrong. In-conference restrictions are not only allowable, they're commonplace. Right or wrong, that's the widespread environment.

Schools routinely block players from transferring in conference. The ACC doesn't have any such rule but it's pretty standard operating procedure. The idea, really, is that you don't want players giving their new team an advantage against you in head-to-head matchups.

There will undoubtedly be talk about Kevin Stallings previously blocking Sheldon Jeter from coming to Pitt when the pair was at Vanderbilt. But that isn't even remotely the same type of situation since Jeter was going out of conference. Stallings' problem then, it seemed, was that Pitt had talked to Jeter when they shouldn't have. That, in and of itself, is an entirely different issue.

I have no problem with the bigger issue that Bilas wants to raise - removing these kind of transfer restrictions in general. You won't get much argument from me on that even though I do think it opens up some very slippery slopes. In general, though, giving kids more freedom is fine by me. But this idea that this is a new thing and that the Panthers are somehow in uncharted territory here isn't accurate.

At all.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

James Conner, Adam Bisnowaty sign NFL rookie contracts with Steelers and Giants

I've been trying to keep an eye out on the contract status for the five Pitt players drafted. But in reality, it doesn't mean a whole lot. None were taken extremely high so a holdout situation isn't something that would be huge news, even if it happened.

But a couple of Panthers are already signed to their new teams. About a week ago James Conner signed a four-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Earlier today, news was released that Adam Bisnowaty signed a four-year deal with the New York Giants.

To date, I haven't heard anything about Nathan Peterman, Dorian Johnson, or Ejuan Price inking deals yet.

Two things of note on each of the signees is that Conner is apparently slimming down a bit with the Steelers and while Bisnowaty played left tackle at Pitt, the Giants are trying him out at right tackle for now.

The move for Biz isn't unexpected. Left tackle is generally the more important position for teams with right-handed quarterbacks (which Eli Manning is) and he'll probably need to work his way up a bit. Conner losing weight will be something to watch. So much of his game is based on a bruising style of running so you wonder if that will have any impact on how he holds up and how much punishment he gives to defenders. But anything within reason shouldn't affect him too much.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt women's basketball player Brenna Wise headed to Indiana

Two years ago, guard Josh Newkirk transferred out of Pitt's basketball program to Indiana. Women's basketball star Brenna Wise is doing the same.

Wise announced the move recently.

"Oh, my gosh, it was one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make," she said. "It came down to a lot of heart and soul. I fell in love with the coaching staff. "It's truly an honor to have the opportunity to play in the Big Ten. Indiana is a basketball mecca."

Funny enough, but the first thing I thought of after that were the comments made by Josh Newkirk about Indiana being a 'dream come true.'

Per NCAA transfer rules, will have to sit out for a season.

Wise said she was leaving the Pitt program earlier this year after the season ended. She's been one of the team's best players over the past two seasons and it was pretty clear there was sort of a rift between her and head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio.

As anticipated, she commanded a lot of interest. Other reported finalists included Ohio State, Michigan, Villanova, and Dayton. Those are all fairly close by for her (since she's from the area) so it looks like she wanted to stay pretty near home. I have to imagine that more offers from quality programs a little farther away were there, too.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt will host Montana and UC Santa Barbara in Legends Classic

In March, it was announced that Pitt would participate in the 2017 Legends Classic. This week, the Panthers' opening round opponents were determined.

Pitt will face Montana on November 13th then play UC Santa Barbara on November 15th.

Regardless of the outcome of those games, Pitt will still advance to the semifinals along with Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Penn State.

Ordinarily those early-round games would just be footnotes. But with all of the roster turnover Pitt has had, I don't think fans will be feeling overly confident in those games as much as in years past. Still, UC Santa Barbara was only 6-22 last year and Montana was 16-16 while playing in the Big Sky. If Pitt can't find a way to win those games (at home, no less), it will probably be a very long year.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pat Signal: Noah Palmer commits to Pitt

Pitt lands a local defensive end.

Proud and very excited to announce that I have fully committed to the University of Pittsburgh #H2P #L1TS8URGH pic.twitter.com/NUh6t28GCu— Noah Palmer (@npalmer_3623) May 18, 2017

Noah Palmer announced via Twitter today that he has committed to Pitt. Palmer is a 6’4” 225 pound defensive end from Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania. He chose Pitt over offers from a number of MAC schools.

Palmer plays his high school football for Thomas Jefferson, a local powerhouse in the Pittsburgh region. He helped guide the Jaguars to a 12-1 record and a WPIAL championship in AAAA. Palmer posted 43 total tackles and 3 sacks along with two defensive touchdowns. Here is a look of his highlights from his junior season.

Palmer becomes the third commitment for this class, joining tight end Jay Symonds and Quarterback Nick Patti. Historically, Pitt’s recruiting efforts tend to pick up considerably in the months of May and June, and that looks to be the case again this season. Pat Narduzzi and his staff are still waiting to land a big time prospect, and perhaps by landing Palmer could help land his teammate, highly touted defensive tackle Devin Danielson.

Pitt offensive lineman Alex Bookser arrested and facing numerous vehicular charges, possible DUI

Well, this seems like fun:

Pitt offensive lineman Alex Bookser was arrested Sunday morning and charged with eight vehicular charges, including misdemeanor driving under the influence, after he was accused of crashing his SUV into two parked vehicles on campus, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The newspaper indicated Bookser was also charged with accidents involving damages to attended and unattended vehicles, failure to obey stop signs, driving at an unsafe speed, careless and reckless driving and operating a vehicle without an official certificate. He is scheduled to appear in Pittsburgh Magisterial District Court for a preliminary hearing on June 26.

Not good news.

Bookser, of course, is a key figure on Pitt's offense. With the Panthers' offensive line in a partial rebuild with the loss of two starters that were just drafted to the NFL, that unit isn't expected to be as strong as it was last year. Not a train wreck, mind you - just a little weaker.

Bookser is one of the reasons for some optimism on the line because he is a returning starter and played quite a bit two years ago. An experienced player, Bookser adds quite a bit to the line.

I don't want to get into the silly discussion of ranking DUIs/reported DUIs. I know there's going to be a lot of comparisons made to what Tyler Boyd did just prior to his senior season but driving under the influence is a bad situation no matter where you are. Even if it's not a populated area, you run the risk of hurting yourself.

All that being said, this seems like it could have been very, very bad. Hitting cars? Police officers drawing firearms? Yikes. Driving under the influence in Oakland is just a bad deal. Congested streets, one-way streets, and not to mention drunk students milling around all hours of the night. That no one was hurt as seems to be the case is obviously great news.

All eyes will be on Pat Narduzzi for this regarding a suspension. Boyd, you might remember, got a game. But he also had three fewer charges than what Bookser seems up against and Bookser is reported to have hit cars, hit a building, and there's some video of the incident.

The elephant in the room will be if Bookser plays against Penn State in the team's second game of the year. Missing the Panthers' game against Youngstown State wouldn't be as big of a deal. But if he's not there in Happy Valley, that would make winning an already difficult game even tougher.

Regarding that suspension, too, I'm not sure we can expect to hear a decision soon. While Narduzzi can act swiftly if he so chooses, he also didn't announce Boyd's suspension until about two months after the charges were reported - and that was in part because the season was closer to kickoff.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Pitt baseball team on slide after sweep to North Carolina State

As recently as a couple of weeks ago, the Pitt baseball team still had a good chance to make some noise in the ACC standings. But the team has really faltered since then and now sits at 22-27 on the year.

After taking four out of five in non-conference games against SIUE and Maryland Eastern Shore, the team was promptly swept on the road at Georgia Tech. The games were close as Pitt lost by only a combined five runs (including two one-run losses) but a sweep is still a sweep no matter how you look at it.

Then, after managing an extra-inning win over Youngstown State in the middle of the week last week, the Panthers were swept again in ACC competition, dropping three games to North Carolina State this weekend. Those games weren't as close and the series culminated in a 14-6 beatdown.

Things have really taken a nosedive for Pitt, not only lately, but dating back to the beginning of April. Pitt had just taken consecutive series' from Duke and Virginia Tech and looked like they could make some progress in the conference this year. In the five series' since then, however, they've won only two of 15 games. Now, at 8-19 in the conference, they are last in the Coastal Division and tied for last in the entire ACC.

Admittedly, this was supposed to be a down year for the Panthers. But when you haven't yet had a winning season in the ACC (in conference or overall), the losing starts to grow old. Assuming he is back next season, that should be a big one in terms of evaluating head coach Joe Jordano. The ACC is difficult to compete in, there's no doubt about it. But as I wrote at the beginning of the season, at some point the program needs to take a real step forward. They sort of did that last season, finishing a game under .500 overall. However, if they're unable to make any real progress next year, that will make five losing seasons in a row. And if the idea is to be competitive across the board in all sports, that's just not good enough.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

Monty Boykins transfers to Pitt

Pitt lands a transfer guard from Lafayette

Excited to officially be committed to play basketball at the University of Pittsburgh next year! #H2P #OaklandZoo #Panthers pic.twitter.com/7NI4ujJQ6W— Monty Boykins (@MontyBoykins32) May 15, 2017

Monty Boykins announced today his intentions to transfer to Pitt. He chose the Panthers over other finalists Penn State and Duquesne. The commitment comes after he visited campus last weekend. He is immediately eligible for one season.

Boykins spent the past four years with Lafayette College in the Patriot League. He was injured for nearly the entire season this past year, but as a junior he averaged 10.7 points per game along with 2.7 rebounds. Here is a better look of the type of player Boykins is.

Boykins is a native of West Chester, Ohio. Out of high school, he chose Lafayette over offers from Duquesne, Lehigh, James Madison, among some other mid-major programs. He was rated as a two-star recruit by Scout.com.

Boykins will likely figure as a bench option for next season, but could compete for the starting shooting guard position. Boykins and incoming recruit Khameron Davis are the only natural off-guards on the roster for now, but it appears they are still approaching other names on the transfer market.

To give an update where things are roster wise, Pitt has Ryan Luther and Jonathan Milligan returning. They have six commitments signed on for next season and will be welcoming St. John’s transfer Malik Ellison into the program. Monty Boykins now gives Pitt 10 scholarship players. Kevin Stallings and company can still add three more players.

Desmond Palmer, Gillian Schriever named to All-ACC First Team

Pitt's track and field teams competed at the ACC Outdoor Championships over the weekend. Neither team fared incredibly well with the men's team finishing 10th and the women's team 12th overall. A few individuals, though, made All Conference teams.

Desmond Palmer and Gillian Schriever both landed on the All ACC First Team. Palmer made the All ACC First Team in both the 110m hurdles and the 400m hurdles (runner-up in both) while Schriever earned her achievement in the 5000m race, finishing thrd. In addition, Matt McGoey made the All-ACC Second Team in the 3000m Steeplechace event by finishing in fourth.

The Pitt men's relay team, often a strong group, nearly finished third to make the podium. They finished one-hundredth of a second too late and fell to fourth.

Next up are the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds on May 25-27.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.

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