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Jan. 22, 2010

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GAME 19: #9 PITT (15-3, 5-1 Big East) at SETON HALL (11-6, 2-4 Big East)


Sunday, January 24, 2010 • 2 p.m. ET

Prudential Center (9,800) • Newark, N.J.



Television: ESPN-Regional/FSN Pittsburgh (Eamon McAnaney and Jim Spanarkel; P: D. Chiappetta).


Network Affiliates: Pittsburgh (FSN Pittsburgh), New York-New Jersey-Connecticut (SportsnetNY).


Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970-AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Sirius 91 (Pitt feed); XM 203 (Pitt feed).


Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats:

The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 11th year at Pitt, 7th year as head coach (178-48); Seton Hall: Bobby Gonzalez, 4th year at SHU (58-52), 11th year overall (187-129).


Rankings: Pitt: AP-9; ESPN-11; Seton Hall: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.

Series: Pitt and Seton Hall meet for the 49th time. Pitt holds a 29-19 advantage in the series and has claimed nine of the last 12 matchups. Pitt is 11-11 all-time in games played at Seton Hall and has defeated the Pirates in each of the last two meetings played in New Jersey.




NEWARK, N.J.--No. 9 Pitt (15-3, 5-1 Big East) hits the road after two consecutive home games when it travels to Seton Hall (11-6, 2-4 Big East) for a Sunday, Jan. 24 contest. Tipoff is a 2 p.m. ET at the Prudential Center.


The contest will be televised by ESPN Regional and broadcast locally on FSN Pittsburgh with Eamon McAnaney (play-by-play) and Jim Spanarkel (color analyst) handling play-by-play and color analyst duties respectively. Darren Chiappetta will handle production.


Pitt has won eight of its last nine games and 11 of its last 13 contests. It just completed 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 defeated Louisville 82-77 in overtime on Jan. 13 and concluded the stretch with a 74-66 home loss to Georgetown, which snapped the Panthers' 31-game home win streak.


Pitt hits the road again where it is an undefeated 4-0 this season. The Panthers have won five road consecutive contests including 10 of their last 13 road games.


At 5-1, Pitt is off to a school record tying best start in league play. Pitt also began with a 5-1 record in 2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2008-09. See chart page 4.


National Coach of the Year candidate Jamie Dixon and Pitt has been extremely difficult to defeat two times in a row. Since Dixon became head coach, he is 32-9 in games played after losing a contest. Under Dixon, Pitt has lost three consecutive games only two times and two straight contests four times. The last time it dropped back-to-back games was on Feb. 21-24, 2008 when it lost to both Notre Dame and Louisville.


For only the eighth 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 6-1 record. Since the duo's return, Brown and Dixon have combined to average 22.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while Pitt has seen an increase in offensive production as it has averaged 72.9 points per game, shot 47.0 percent (178-379) from the floor and 40.4 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. For a rundown on how much experience Pitt had in the early going this season, please take a look at the chart on page 6.


Pitt is 5-1 in Big East play after dropping a 74-66 loss at home to No. 12 Georgetown on Jan. 20. The loss snapped Pitt's eight-game win streak and 31-game home win streak. Georgetown's Chris Wright led all scorers with 27 points (11-17) including 15 in the second half. Pitt was led by Gilbert Brown's career-high 20 points (8-9 FG) and Jermaine Dixon's 14.


Pitt defeated Louisville 82-77 in overtime on Jan. 16. Nasir Robinson registered his second career double-double with career-highs of 26 points and 11 rebounds and Brad Wanamaker scored a career-high 20 points in leading the Panthers. Pitt forced overtime after battling back from a five-point deficit as Wanamaker nailed a 3-pointer and hit two game-tying free throws with one second left. Pitt defeated Louisville for the first time at the Petersen Events Center and entered the contest with an 0-2 home record vs. the Cardinals since they joined the Big East in 2005-06.


Even though it plays one more non-conference game (vs. Robert Morris on Feb. 8), Pitt concluded its non-conference portion of its schedule with 10 wins for the ninth consecutive season.


Seton Hall enters Sunday's game with an 11-6 overall and 2-4 Big East record. The Pirates are coming off an 80-77 win against Louisville on Thursday night that saw Jeremy Hazell score 25 points and four other Pirates reach double figure scoring. Seton Hall is led by Hazell (23.0 ppg/18.1 FGA per game), Aliquippa native Herb Pope (12.3 ppg/11.2 rpg), Jeff Robinson (9.6 ppg/6.0 rpg) and Robert Mitchell (9.1 ppg./4.9 rpg). In the series, Pitt has claimed three consecutive games and nine of the series' last 12 matchups. Sunday's contest is the first of two Pitt-Seton Hall matchups as the Pirates make the return trip to the Petersen Events Center on Feb. 6.


At home, Pitt concluded the nation's second longest home win streak at 31 games and is 10-1 on the year. Pitt also owns a 46-game win streak against non-conference opponents. It also is 51-10 vs. Big East opponents at the Petersen Events Center.




•Pitt enters the contest after having won eight of its last nine and 12 of its last 14.


•At 5-1, Pitt is off to a school-record tying best start in Big East Conference play. Pitt also began 2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2008-09 with a 5-1 record.


•Pitt has currently won five straight road games including four consecutive this year. Pitt has won 10 of its last 13 road contests.


•In games played after losing a contest, National Coach of the Year candidate Jamie Dixon's all-time record is 32-9.


•Pitt is 6-1 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.


•Three Panthers make local "homecoming" appearances on Sunday including Ashton Gibbs (Scotch Plains/Seton Hall Prep), Travon Woodall (St. Anthony) and Brandin Knight (East Orange/Seton Hall Prep).

No. 9 Men's Basketball Plays at Seton Hall on Sunday

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