Jan. 18, 2013
CONNECTICUT (12-4, 2-2 Big East) at PITT (14-4, 2-3 Big East)
Saturday, January 19, 2013 Noon ET Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN2 (John Saunders and Derek Whittenburg; Producer: Darren Chiappetta).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-91 (Pitt feed), XM-91 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 14th year at Pitt, 10th year as head coach (252-81); Connecticut: Kevin Ollie, 1st year at UConn (12-4), 1st year overall (12-4).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-ARV; ESPN-NR; Connecticut: AP-ARV; ESPN-ARV.
Series: Pitt and Connecticut meet for the 50th time in series history. UConn holds a 32-28 all-time advantage in the series which began on Dec. 28, 1949. Pitt is 5-1 overall and has claimed each of the last three meetings against UConn at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is 12-11 all-time vs. UConn in home games. The series is tied 5-5 in the last 10 matchups. The two schools represent two of the top Big East programs over the last 12 seasons.
PITTSBURGH--Pitt (14-4, 2-3 Big East) hosts Connecticut (12-4, 2-2 Big East) for a Saturday, January 19 matchup. Tipoff is at noon.
The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with John Saunders and Derek Whittenburg making the call. Darren Chiappetta will handle production.
The game marks the final Big East Conference regular season matchup played between the two schools before Pitt departs for the Atlantic Coast Conference next year.
Pitt and Connecticut represent two of the Big East's top programs over the last 12 seasons. The two schools have combined for 12 Big East Championships (regular season or tournament), a 75.2 winning percentage (598-197 record), 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances and 11 Big East Tournament title game appearances over that time period.
Pitt enters Saturday's game after defeating Villanova 58-43 on Wednesday at the Pavilion. The Panthers won their fifth straight game vs. VU by using stellar defense and rebounding, then outscored Villanova 15-0 over the game's final five minutes. Pitt limited Villanova to 31.8 percent shooting, only 14 field goals made and only one offensive rebound. Villanova entered the game as the Big East's leading rebounding team. Offensively, Pitt was led by two players off the bench, Durand Johnson and Trey Zeigler, who each finished with 13 points apiece. Johnson hit three 3-pointers and Zeigler scored nine of his 13 points in a key second half run.
Prior to the Villanova contest, Pitt dropped a 74-67 overtime decision to Marquette at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt trailed for the majority of regulation, battled back and sent the game into overtime when Lamar Patterson converted a 3-pointer at the top of the key as the buzzer sounded. In overtime, Marquette grabbed an early lead with an 8-2 spurt and outscored Pitt 17-10 to register the win. Patterson led Pitt with a career-high 22 points and 6-7 3-point shooting.
Pitt has accomplished its 14-4 record with total team effort while utilizing a 10-man rotation. All 10 of its players are averaging 4.4 points or more and all 10 are playing at least 12.6 minutes per game. Through its first 18 games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-18.8 margin, shot 49.3 percent (487-988) from the floor and outrebounded its opponents by plus-7.8 boards per game. Pitt has forced 14.4 turnovers per game and totaled 127 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 636-372 in the paint. The Panthers' bench also has outscored their opponents by a 483-257 total. Additionally, Pitt has assisted on 66.3 percent (323 of 487) of its total field goals made.
In the latest NCAA statistical rankings (as of Jan. 13, 2013), Pitt ranks among the nation's top-10 teams in eight statistical categories: 5th in scoring defense, 6th in scoring margin, 9th in field goal percentage, 3rd in assists per game, 1st in assist:turnover ratio, 3rd in fewest turnovers per game and 8th in turnover margin.
Connecticut enters the game after splitting contests against two nationally ranked teams; winning at No. 17 Notre Dame (65-58) and losing at home to No. 1 Louisville (73-58). The Huskies are led by first-year head coach Kevin Ollie. UConn is led in scoring by guards Shabazz Napier (17.1 ppg.) and Ryan Boatright (15.8 ppg.). Deandre Daniels (10.9 ppg.) and Omar Calhoun (10.7 ppg.) are also top scorers for the Huskies.
SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt and Connecticut represent two of the Big East's winningest programs over the last 12 seasons. The two programs have combined for 12 Big East titles (regular season or tourney) and a combined 598-197 record (.752 pct.) during that span.
Pitt is in its 11th season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 174-21 overall record (.892) in the arena. Pitt is also 69-18 all-time vs. Big East opponents at the PEC. The Panthers have won 80 of their last 91 home games and 31 of their last 40 Big East Conference home games.
Over the last 12 years, Pitt has been the Big East Conference's leader in overall winning percentage (309-91, .773), league winning percentage (131-60, .686), Big East Championships (six), Big East Tournament wins (20) and NCAA Tournament appearances (10).