Jan. 2, 2009
#3 PITT (13-0, 1-0 Big East) at #11 GEORGETOWN (10-1, 1-0 Big East)
Saturday, January 3, 2009 Noon ET Verizon Center (20,600) Washington, D.C.
Television: ESPN and ESPN-360 (Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale; Producer: Scott Matthews).
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Channel 130 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 10th year at Pitt, 6th year as head coach (145-40); Georgetown: John Thompson III, 5th year at GU (110-37); 9th year overall (178-79).
Rankings: Pitt: 3-AP, 3-ESPN; Georgetown: 11-AP, 8-ESPN.
Series: Pitt and Georgetown meet for the 72nd time. Pitt owns a 32-39 record vs. Georgetown. Pitt has claimed each of the last two meetings including last year's Big East Tournament title.
PITTSBURGH--No. 3 ranked Pitt (13-0, 1-0 Big East) plays its second Big East Conference game when it travels to Washington, D.C. to take on No. 11 Georgetown (10-1, 1-0 Big East) on Saturday, Jan. 3 at the Verizon Center. Tipoff is at Noon.
The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN with Dan Shulman (play-by-play) and Dick Vitale (color commentary) calling action. Scott Matthews will produce.
Pitt and Georgetown renew their rivalry which has seen both teams advance to the Big East Championship title game in each of the last two years. Pitt claimed last season's title with a 74-65 victory over the Hoyas, while Georgetown won a 65-42 decision in 2007. Over the last seven years, the two programs have combined for eight Big East championships (Pitt, five: 2008 Tourney, 2003-04 regular season, 2003 Tourney, 2002-03 regular season and 2001-02 regular season; Georgetown, three: 2007-08 regular season, 2007 Tourney, 2006-07 regular season).
For the third time in the last six years, Pitt begins a season with a 13-0 start. Head Coach Jamie Dixon has guided Pitt to 10-0 starts in each of his first six seasons as head coach. Additionally, Dixon has guided Pitt to six of the top-10 best starts to a season in school history.
According to www.realtimerpi.com, Pitt is ranked No. 1 nationally in Ratings Percentage Index and No. 8 nationally in the strength of schedule rankings (as of Jan. 1, 2009). Pitt also has the best RPI and highest strength of schedule rating of any Big East Conference school.
Pitt is one of six schools nationwide to own an undefeated college basketball record. The six schools include Pitt (13-0), Clemson (13-0), North Carolina (13-0), Illinois State (13-0), Wake Forest (12-0) and Stanford (10-0). On Dec. 31, Pitt became the first program in the nation to win 13 games. Pitt's 13-game win streak ranks tied for the nation's longest with North Carolina, Clemson and Illinois State.
Pitt plays its second Big East contest after defeating Rutgers 78-72 in its conference opener on Wednesday. Pitt employed a 2-3 zone for the first time this year and held Rutgers to 27 percent shooting in the second half, Pitt's bench outscored Rutgers' 31-9 and Sam Young paced the Panthers with 18 points. Brad Wanamaker scored a career-high 15 points including 13 in the second half, and Gilbert Brown added 11. Tyrell Biggs also played a key role with a game-high 10 rebounds. Pitt entered Big East play with a perfect 12-0 non-conference record after defeating Florida State (56-48) and Siena (79-66). Pitt defeated Florida State 56-48 by limiting the host Seminoles to 29.8 percent shooting (14-47) while Sam Young scored a game-high 21 points, DeJuan Blair registered his eighth double-double (10 pts/12 reb.) and Jermaine Dixon totaled 11 points. In defeating Siena, DeJuan Blair totaled another double-double with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
For the second consecutive season Pitt opens Big East play with two consecutive road games.
Through its first 13 games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-19.7 margin and outrebounded its opponents by a plus-9.8 margin. The Panthers are also converting 47.6 percent (379-796) of their field goal attempts and limiting opponents to 36.6 percent shooting. Pitt has also held 12 of its 13 opponents to 70 points or less and eight teams to 60 points or less.
Several Pitt players are ranked among national leaders in various statistical categories (as of Dec. 21, 2008). DeJuan Blair ranks second nationally in rebounding (13.0) and most likely leads the nation in offensive rebounds. He is also ranked No. 13 in field goal percentage (63.3). Levance Fields ranks No. 3 in assist:turnover ratio (4.28) and 17th in assists per game (6.4), while Sam Young is rated 32nd in scoring (20.1).
Pitt and Georgetown meet for the 72nd time in series history. Pitt owns a 32-39 all-time record vs. the Hoyas. In addition, Pitt is 10-21 all-time in games played at Georgetown. The Hoyas have defeated Pitt in each of the last two matchups played at the Verizon Center.
Georgetown enters the contest ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press poll with a 10-1 overall and 1-0 Big East record. The Hoyas began Big East play by knocking off No. 2 ranked Connecticut 74-63. Georgetown is led by DaJuan Summers' 14.6 points per game, Austin Freeman (13.6 ppg.), Chris Wright (13.5 ppg.) and Greg Monroe (12.7 ppg./5.4 rpg.). The Hoyas also have registered victories over Maryland and Memphis and dropped a 90-78 decision vs. Tennessee.
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
In a rematch of the last two Big East Tournament title games, Pitt and Georgetown meet in regular season play. Pitt claimed a 74-65 win in last year's title game.
At 13-0, Pitt is the only undefeated Big East team and one of only six unbeaten teams nationally. It became the first team in the nation to reach 13 wins on Dec. 31. Pitt's 13-game win streak ranks tied for the nation's longest.
For the second straight year, Pitt opens Big East play with two consecutive road games. The contest marks the third of three straight road games for the Panthers.
Pitt is 13-0 for the third time in the last six seasons. Dixon has won at least 10 straight games to start each of his six seasons at Pitt.
Pitt enters the game ranked No. 1 nationally in RPI and No. 8 in strength of schedule. It has the best RPI and strength of schedule ratings in the Big East.