Jan. 15, 2010
GAME 17: LOUISVILLE (12-5, 3-1 Big East) at #16 PITT (14-2, 4-0 Big East)
Saturday, January 16, 2010 Noon ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN Regional/WTAE-TV (Mike Gleason and Mike Kelley; Producer: Steve Melton).
Television Affiliates carrying game: 39 nationally--ESPN360, ESPN-Plus, New York-New Jersey-Connecticut (SportsnetNY), Chicago (WCIU-DT4), Boston-Manchester (WCVB), Washington D.C. (MASN), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota (Brighthouse), Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla. (Brighthouse-O), St. Louis (Charter-St. Louis), Pittsburgh (WTAE), Indianapolis (WTTV), Baltimore (MASN), Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (WCTX), Kansas City (Metro-KC), Cincinnati (WKRC), Columbus, Ohio (WWHO), Milwaukee, Wis. (WMLW), Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York (WLYH), Louisville, Ky. (WHAS), New Orleans, La. (Cox-New Orleans), Providence, R.I. (Cox-New England), Wilkes-Barre-Scranton (WSWB), Lexington, Ky. (WTVQ), Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (WCHS), Dayton, Ohio (WBDT), Green Bay-Appleton, Wis. (WACY), Rochester, N.Y. (TW-Rochester), Syracuse, N.Y. (TW-Syracuse), Madison, Wis. (WMSN), South Bend-Elkhart, Ind. (WMYS), Johnstown-Altoona, Pa. (WHVL), Evansville, Ind. (WAZE), Youngstown, Ohio (WYTV-DT), Lansing, Mich. (WHTV), Rockford, Ill. (WTVO-DT2), Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill, W.Va. (WOAY), Wheeling-Steubenville, W.Va. (WTOV), Clarksburg-Weston, W.Va. (WVFX), Parkersburg, W.Va. (GTAP).
Tape Delay: Los Angeles (11 p.m. on KJLA).
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970-AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Channel 121 (Pitt feed); Channel 90 (UL feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 11th year at Pitt, 7th year as head coach (177-47); Louisville: Rick Pitino, 8th year at UL (212-78), 23rd year overall (564-202).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-16; ESPN-20; Louisville: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.
Series: Pitt and Louisville meet for the ninth time in series history. The overall series record is tied at 4-4. Louisville owns a 2-0 record vs. Pitt in the Petersen Events Center. It is the only program to defeat the Panthers on two different occasions in the Petersen Events Center.
PITTSBURGH--No. 16 Pitt (14-2, 4-0 Big East) returns home for the first time in 19 days to play its fifth Big East Conference regular season game when it hosts Louisville (12-5, 3-1 Big East) for a Saturday, Jan. 16 contest. Tipoff is at noon ET at the Petersen Events Center.
The contest will be televised on ESPN Regional and broadcast locally in Pittsburgh on WTAE-TV Channel 4 with Mike Gleason (play-by-play) and Mike Kelley (color analyst) making the call. Steve Melton will handle production. Dubbed as the "Big East Game of the Week," the contest will be aired on 39 different affiliates around the nation.
Pitt is currently on a seven-game win streak and has won 10 of its last 11 contests. Additionally, Pitt is in the midst of one of its most difficult schedule stretches in years. For the first time since it joined the Big East Conference in 1982, Pitt won three consecutive back-to-back-to-back road games at No. 5 Syracuse (87-72), at Cincinnati (74-71) and at No. 16 Connecticut (67-57). It will now play Louisville and No. 11 Georgetown at home.
A win vs. Louisville would give a Pitt a 5-0 start, which would tie the program record for best start in Big East play. Pitt was also 5-0 in both 2002-03 and 2006-07. Pitt began league play with 4-0 starts in 2003-04, 2005-06, 2008-09 and now 2009-10. See chart page 4.
For only the sixth game this year, Pitt will have its roster entirely intact with the return of its two most experienced players-Gilbert Brown (academic suspension) and Jermaine Dixon (right foot fracture). Since both players have returned to the floor against Ohio on Dec. 22, 2009, Pitt owns a perfect 5-0 record. Since the duo's return, Brown and Dixon have combined to average 22.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while Pitt has seen an increase in offensive production as it has averaged 72.4 points per game, shot 46.6 percent (125-268) from the floor and 44.4 percent from three point range. Dixon sat out the season's first eight games after suffering a broken right foot in August. Entering the season, Pitt returned just one starter (Dixon) and six letterwinners from its 2008-09 squad. Through its first 10 games, Pitt started five players that had accumulated just one previous career start. Dixon made his return vs. Indiana after sitting out the first eight games while recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot.
Pitt is 4-0 in Big East play after winning its third straight road game, a 67-57 decision at No. 15 Connecticut on Wednesday. Nasir Robinson's driving layup sparked a 9-2 run that gave the Panthers a cushion going into the game's final two minutes. Pitt outrebounded the host Huskies 26-13 in the second half, Ashton Gibbs (3-5 3FG) and Brad Wanamaker (9-10 FT) each scored 19 points and Gilbert Brown added 11. Pitt converted a season-high 85.0 percent (17-20) of his free throw attempts.
As part of its three-game road swing, Pitt also defeated Cincinnati, 74-71, on Jan. 4. Gilbert Brown scored a 13 of his career-high 17 points in the second half, Ashton Gibbs finished with 19 points (10-11 FTM) and Jermaine Dixon added 10 as the Panthers held off the Bearcats. Pitt also defeated No. 5 Syracuse on January 2, 82-72. The game featured the Big East's best defensive team (Pitt) and the league's best offensive team (Syracuse). Pitt scored a season-high 82 points and limited Syracuse to 15 points below its season average in registering the victory. Pitt outscored SU 55-42 in the second half alone. Ashton Gibbs scored a game-high 24 points on 6-9 3-point shooting, Jermaine Dixon registered a career-high 21 points (3-8 3FG), Brad Wanamaker contributed 12 points (10-14 FT) and Dante Taylor added 10 points as Pitt claimed its 12th contest out of its last 15 matchups against the Orange and won its fifth straight over SU at the Carrier Dome.
Louisville (12-5, 3-1 Big East) is the only program to defeat the Panthers two times at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt has never defeated the Cardinals in the PEC. Coached by Rick Pitino, Louisville is led by Samardo Samuels (15.8 ppg./7.9 rpg), Edgar Sosa (13.9 ppg.), Jerry Smith (9.4 ppg.), Jared Swopshire (8.5 ppg.) and Preson Knowles (8.5 ppg.). The eight-game series is deadlocked at 4-4 with Pitt winning each of the last three Big East Tournament meetings between the two schools.
At home, Pitt currently owns the nation's second longest home win streak at 30 games, is 9-0 on the year and owns a 46-game win streak against non-conference opponents. It also is 50-9 vs. Big East opponents at the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center with a 124-10 all-time record and .925 winning percentage. The .925 winning percentage ranks among the nation's best home court records over the last seven years (see chart page 8). Pitt has won 55 of its last 64 Big East home games and is 50-9 against Big East opponents in the Petersen Events Center. Only one opponent (Louisville) has defeated the Panthers two times in the Petersen Events Center. Pitt also owns a 74-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center and has claimed 95 of its last 96 home games against regular season non-conference opponents. In addition, Pitt concluded the 2008-09 regular season with an undefeated 19-0 home record, its fourth all-time undefeated year at home. Pitt also was undefeated in 2002-03 (16-0), 1973-74 (13-0) and 1974-75 (10-0).
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
*Pitt enters the game on a seven-game win streak and has won 10 of its last 11. Pitt returns home after a three-game road swing in which it defeated No. 5 Syracuse, Cincinnati and No. 15 Connecticut. Pitt won three straight Big East road games for the first time in school history.
*Pitt is 5-0 since veterans Jermaine Dixon (right foot injury) and Gilbert Brown (academic suspension) both returned to the floor. Pitt played its first 10 games with a starting five that combined for one career start prior to the season opener.
*Louisville is the only program to defeat Pitt two times in the Petersen Events Center. The Cardinals are 2-0 all-time vs. Pitt in the PEC.
*Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 124-10 overall record (.925 winning percentage) and 50-9 record vs. Big East opponents in the arena.
*Pitt has won 30 straight home games, a streak which ranks as the nation's second longest current win streak (Kansas, 51). It also ranks second among the school's all-time longest home win streaks.