Jan. 4, 2013
GAME 15: #24 PITT (12-2, 0-1 Big East) at RUTGERS (9-3, 0-1 Big East)
Saturday, January 5, 2013 11 a.m. ET Rutgers Athletic Center (8,000) Piscataway, N.J.
Television: ESPN2 (Mike Crispino and Seth Greenberg; Producer: Steven Fenig).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Rob King and Dick Groat). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-123 (RU feed), XM-190 (RU feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Rankings: Pitt: AP-24; ESPN-22; Rutgers: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.
Series: Pitt and Rutgers meet for the 48th time in series history. Rutgers holds a 24-23 advantage in the series which began in 1915. Pitt has won six straight games at the RAC dating back to 2001. Since 2000, Pitt owns a 12-3 record vs. Rutgers and a 7-1 record in games played at the RAC.
PISCATAWAY, N.J.-- No. 24 Pitt (12-2, 0-1 Big East) travels to New Jersey to play Rutgers (9-3, 0-1 Big East) on Saturday, January 5 at the Rutgers Athletic Center. Tipoff is at 11 a.m. ET.
The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with Mike Crispino and former Pitt assistant coach Seth Greenberg (1980-83) making the call. Steven Fenig will handle production.
The game marks the final Big East regular season meeting between the two schools as Pitt joins the Atlantic Coast Conference next year and Rutgers is off to the Big Ten. Pitt has enjoyed recent success against Rutgers, winning 12 of the series' last 15 meetings dating back to the 2000-01 season. In addition, Pitt has won six consecutive games against the Scarlet Knights at the Rutgers Athletic Center. That streak began on January 8, 2002. All six of those games were decided by eight points or less. Rutgers won last year's meeting on Jan. 11, 2012, a 62-39 victory at the Petersen Events Center. The 23-point loss is Pitt's largest loss in Petersen Events Center history. Rutgers coach Mike Rice served as an assistant at Pitt from 2006-07 while associate head coach David Cox worked as a Director of Basketball Operations at Pitt (2006-07).
Pitt opened Big East play on Monday, Dec. 31 with a 70-61 home loss to No. 8 Cincinnati. The loss snapped Pitt's eight-game win streak, 15-game home win streak and 12-game win streak vs. top-10 ranked opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt shot a school-record low 0-10 from 3-point range and was outscored 44-27 in the second half after leading by eight points (34-26) at halftime. It marked the first time in 124 consecutive games that Pitt failed to convert a 3-pointer. Cincinnati used a 14-2 run over a three-minute second half span to take control of the game. Talib Zanna led the way with 16 points (6-9 FG), Lamar Patterson added 13 points and Cameron Wright finished with 10 points.
At No. 24 in the Associated Press poll and No. 22 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, Pitt enters its second week in the national rankings. Prior to the polls on Dec. 24, 2012, the Panthers spent 19 consecutive unranked weeks.
Pitt has accomplished its 12-2 record with total team effort while utilizing a 10-man rotation. All 10 of its players are averaging 3.3 points or more and all 10 are playing at least 10.3 minutes per game. Through its first 14 games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-21.9 margin, shot 51.3 percent (398-776) from the floor and outrebounded its opponents by plus-9.9 boards per game. Pitt has forced 13.9 turnovers per game and totaled 99 steals for a 7.1 steals per game average, numbers that are uncommonly high for the Panthers. Pitt has also dominated the inside, having outscored its opponents 536-288 in the paint. The Panthers' bench also has outscored their opponents by a 366-167 total. Additionally, Pitt has assisted on 67.0 percent (267 of 398) of its total field goals.
In the latest NCAA statistical rankings (as of Dec. 30, 2012), Pitt ranks among the nation's top-20 teams in 10 statistical categories: 3rd in scoring defense, 2nd in scoring margin, 4th in field goal percentage, 6th in rebound margin, 7th in won-loss percentage, 1st in assists per game, 1st in assist:turnover ratio, 1st in fewest turnovers per game, 12th in turnover margin, 20th in personal fouls per game.
SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt enters Saturday's game at Rutgers on a six-game win streak vs. the Scarlet Knights in games played at the Rutgers Athletic Center. Since 2000, Pitt is 7-1 vs. RU at the RAC.
Pitt plays its first road game of the 2012-13 season. Pitt has claimed 26 of its last 43 road games and owns the Big East's best road record (53-40) over the last 12 seasons.
Over the last 12 years, Pitt has been the Big East Conference's leader in overall winning percentage (307-89, .775), league winning percentage (129-58, .690), Big East Championships (six), Big East Tournament wins (20) and NCAA Tourney app. (10).
Pitt leads the nation in several statistical categories: assists per game, assist:turnover ratio and fewest turnovers per game.