Jan. 16, 2009
GAME 17: #1 PITT (16-0, 4-0 Big East) at #20 LOUISVILLE (12-3, 3-0 Big East)
Saturday, January 17, 2009 6 p.m. ET Freedom Hall (18,865) Louisville, Ky.
Television: ESPN-HD (Sean McDonough, Fran Fraschilla and Bill Raftery; Producer: Eric Posman).
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Channel 123 (Pitt feed), XM Radio 144.
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 10th year at Pitt, 6th year as head coach (148-40); Louisville: Rick Pitino, 7th year at UL (181-70); 22nd year overall (533-194).
Rankings: Pitt: 1-AP, 1-ESPN; Louisville: 20-AP, 20-ESPN.
Series: Pitt and Louisville meet for the eighth time in series history. Pitt is 4-3 all-time vs. Louisville. Pitt is 4-2 vs. UL since the Cardinals joined the Big East. Pitt is 17-7 vs. programs added to the Big East in 2005-06: Cincinnati 4-1, DePaul 3-0, Louisville 4-2, Marquette 3-4, USF 3-0.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--No. 1 ranked Pitt (16-0, 4-0 Big East) travels to No. 20 Louisville (12-3, 3-0 Big East) for a Saturday, Jan. 17 game at Freedom Hall. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. ET.
The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN with Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Fran Fraschilla (color commentary) and Bill Raftery (color commentary) calling action. Eric Posman will handle production.
Pitt begins its second consecutive week and third straight contest as the nation's No. 1 ranked team. Last week, Pitt ascended to the No. 1 ranking following a 70-54 victory at No. 11 Georgetown. Previous No. 1 North Carolina lost to Boston College and previous No. 2 Connecticut lost to Georgetown. Pitt had previously been ranked No. 2 on 16 different occasions, the last being on Dec. 11, 2006. Pitt has been ranked among the nation's top-25 in 118 of the previous 127 national polls. Additionally, Pitt has been ranked among the nation's top-10 teams in each of the last seven seasons (2002-09). The men's basketball team becomes the first Pitt team to hold the No. 1 national ranking since the 1982 Pitt football season. The 1982 Pitt football team entered its season ranked No. 1 and held the top spot for three weeks during the year (Sept. 7, Oct. 26, Nov. 2).
With its 75-62 win over South Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 11, Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon moved into sole possession of third place on Pitt's all-time coaching victories list with 148 wins in six years. He surpassed Paul Evans, who compiled a 147-98 record in eight years at Pitt from 1986-94. Dixon and Evans are both behind H.C. Carlson (367-247 in 31 years) and Robert Timmons (174-189 in 15 years).
For the second time in the last six years, Pitt begins a season with a 16-0 start. The 16-0 start ranks third among Pitt's all-time best men's basketball starts to a season. Pitt went 21-0 to win the mythical national title in 1927-28 and began the 2003-04 season with an 18-0 record in Head Coach Jamie Dixon's first season. 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.
Pitt is one of only three schools nationwide to own an undefeated college basketball record. The three schools include Pitt (16-0), Clemson (16-0) and Wake Forest (15-0). Pitt's 16-game win streak ties for the nation's longest win streak with Clemson (16).
Pitt improved to 4-0 in Big East play with a 75-62 win over South Florida on Wednesday. For the first time in his career, Tyrell Biggs led the Panthers in scoring (16 points), DeJuan Blair added 13 points and 18 rebounds and Levance Fields registered his second career double-double with 11 points and 13 assists. After being idle for a week, Pitt defended its No. 1 ranking with a 90-67 win over St. John's on Jan. 11. DeJuan Blair led the Panthers with his 10th double-double of the year with 23 points, 15 rebounds and six steals. The Panthers defeated both No. 11 Georgetown (70-54) and Rutgers (78-72) in consecutive road games. The Georgetown game saw Blair finish with his ninth double-double of the year with 20 points and 17 rebounds as Pitt outrebounded Georgetown 48-23 in registering the win. 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.
Through its first 16 games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-19.3 margin and outrebounded its opponents by a plus-10.7 margin. The Panthers are also converting 47.8 percent (474-992) of their field goal attempts and limiting opponents to 37.7 percent shooting. Pitt has also held 15 of its 16 opponents to 70 points or less and nine teams to 60 points or less.
Several Pitt players are ranked among national leaders in various statistical categories (as of Jan. 11, 2009). DeJuan Blair ranks third nationally in rebounding (12.6) and most likely leads the nation in offensive rebounds (The NCAA does not rank top offensive rebounders). He is also ranked No. 18 in field goal percentage (60.6). Levance Fields ranks No. 2 in assist:turnover ratio (4.35) and 10th in assists per game (6.7), while Sam Young is rated 43rd in scoring (19.0).
In No. 20 Louisville, Pitt plays its second nationally ranked opponent of the season. In its next five games, Pitt will play four nationally ranked opponents in No. 20 Louisville, No. 8 Syracuse, West Virginia, No. 23 Villanova and No. 12 Notre Dame. Pitt has played four nationally ranked opponents only once in its 101-year men's basketball history. That stretch occurred from Jan. 5, 1990-Jan. 19, 1990. Pitt and Louisville meet for the eighth time in series history. Pitt leads the series with a 4-3 record and has claimed four of the last six matchups since Louisville joined the Big East Conference in 2005-06. Pitt is a combined 17-7 vs. Big East schools added in 2005-06 (Cincinnati 4-1, DePaul 3-0, Louisville 4-2, Marquette 3-4, USF 2-0). Last year, Louisville defeated Pitt 75-73 at the Petersen Events Center, but the Panthers claimed a 76-69 overtime win over the Cardinals in the Big East Tournament. Pitt has eliminated Louisville in three straight Big East Tournaments.
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt plays the first of a five-game stretch against teams who either are or were nationally ranked during the season. Three of those games will be on the road. The stretch includes No. 20 Louisville, No. 8 Syracuse, at West Virginia, at No. 23 Villanova and vs. No. 12 Notre Dame.
Pitt plays its third game as the nation's No. 1 ranked team. The Panthers ascended to the No. 1 ranking last week for the first time in school history. Previously, Pitt had been No. 2 on 16 different occasions.
At 16-0, Pitt is the only undefeated Big East team and one of only three unbeaten teams nationally. The other unbeatens are Clemson (16-0) and Wake Forest (15-0).
Pitt's 16-0 start ranks as the school's third-best start to a season. The other top starts to a season in school history are 21-0 in 1927-28 and an 18-0 start in Jamie Dixon's first season as head coach in 2003-04.
Pitt plays its third Big East road game.
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