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No. 2 Men's Basketball Travels to Rutgers for Saturday game at 8 p.m. ET




Jan. 27, 2011

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GAME 22: #2 PITT (19-2, 7-1 Big East) at RUTGERS (12-8, 3-5 Big East)

 

Saturday, January 29, 2011 • 8 p.m. ET

Louis Brown Athletic Center (8,000) • Piscataway, N.J.

 

MEDIA INFORMATION

 

Television: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins and Mike Kelley; Producer: Jeff Dufine).


 

 

 

Radio: Panther Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel: 125; XM: N/A (Pitt feed).

 

Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.

 

 

The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 12th year at Pitt, 8th year as head coach (207-56); Rutgers: Mike Rice, 1st year at Rutgers (12-8), 4th year overall (85-39).

 

Rankings: Pitt: AP-2; ESPN-2. Rutgers: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.

 

 

Series: Pitt and Rutgers meet for the 46th time in series history as the Scarlet Knights hold a 23-22 advantage. Since 1999-2000, Pitt has won 11 of the previous 13 meetings, including each of the last five consecutive games played in Piscataway. Pitt is 9-12 all-time in games played at Rutgers. The series dates back to the 1914-15 season.

 

GAME PREVIEW

 

PITTSBURGH--No. 2 ranked Pitt (19-2, 7-1 Big East) travels to Rutgers (12-8, 3-5 Big East) for a Saturday, January 29 contest at the Louis Brown Athletic Center. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. ET.

 

The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with Beth Mowins (play-by-play) and Mike Kelley (color analyst) calling action. Jeff Dufine will handle production.

 

Winners of nine of its last 10 games and 10 of its last 11 Big East regular season contests, No. 2 Pitt enters the game following a 56-51 home loss to No. 15 Notre Dame. The loss snapped a nine game win streak, 10-game Big East regular season win streak and 20-game home win streak, its fifth longest in school history. Notre Dame's Ben Hansbrough scored a game-high 19 points and Carleton Scott hit 5-6 3-pointers as the Fighting Irish used their "burn" tactic against the Panthers. Pitt shot just 40.0 percent from the floor and managed only 45 shots and 51 points when it came into the game averaging 56 field goal attempts and 79.9 points. Pitt registered an 80-50 road win at DePaul on Jan. 22. With the win, the Panthers improved to 7-0 and won their 16th of their last 22 road games.

 

Pitt's 19-2 record ranks tied for the fifth-best start in school history after 21 games. Pitt completed a 21-0 season en route to mythical national championship in 1927-28, began 20-1 three times (1929-30, 1973-74 and 2003-04) and also started 19-2 in 2008-09.

 

Pitt won its first seven Big East regular season games for the first time in school history. Previously, the best league start in school history was 5-0 in three other seasons: 2002-03, 2006-07 and 2009-10.

 

Pitt has defeated Rutgers in 11 of the last 13 meetings. In addition, the Panthers have registered five consecutive wins vs. Rutgers in Piscataway dating back to the 2002-03 season. In the 45-game, 96-year series dating back to 1915, the Scarlet Knights own a 23-22 advantage against Pitt. Rutgers Head Coach Mike Rice and Associate Head Coach David Cox are former Pitt basketball staff members. Rice served as an assistant coach under Jamie Dixon at Pitt for one year (2006-07) before moving on as Head Coach at Robert Morris. Cox served as Director of Operations at Pitt in 2006-07.

 

Additionally, a win over Rutgers would also give Pitt its 10th consecutive 20-win season and 18th in school history. A win will give Jamie Dixon his eighth consecutive 20-win season at Pitt. He is the only Big East coach to achieve seven consecutive 20-win seasons. Over the last 10 years, Pitt has proven to be the winningest basketball program in the Big East Conference and one of the nation's top-5 winningest programs (see chart page 3). From 2001-10, Pitt owns the league's top record in both overall games (264-67) and league games (116-42). It has averaged 12.0 league wins and 27.0 overall wins per year during that period. Pitt is the only Big East Conference school to win 20 or more overall games and 10 or more league contests in each of the last nine seasons. Pitt's streak of nine consecutive 10-win Big East regular seasons ranks second only to Syracuse's run of 11 10-plus win league seasons set from 1985-96. Pitt has now won 20 or more games 17 times in school history. In addition, Pitt is one of only three programs nationwide to advance to the NCAA Tournament, win 20 overall games and 10 league games in each of the last nine seasons. Those programs include Gonzaga, Kansas and Pitt. In addition, Jamie Dixon became the first head coach in program history to win 20-plus games in seven straight years. He is the only coach in school history to guide Pitt to a 30-win season (two times: 31 in 2003-04 and 30 in 2008-09).

 

SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES

 

•At 7-1, Pitt is off to its best-ever start to a Big East regular season. Pitt's 19-2 record after 21 games ties for its fifth all-time best overall start in school history.

 

•A win on Saturday would give Pitt 20 wins for the 10th consecutive year.

 

•Pitt has won nine of its last 10 games and 10 of its last 11 Big East regular season contests.

 

•Pitt plays its fourth road game of the year as the Panthers have won 16 of their last 22 games away from home. Over the last 10 years, Pitt owns the Big East's best road winning percentage with a 49-30 combined record. Pitt is 3-0 this year on the road and has won four straight road games.

 

•Jamie Dixon is 36-11 after losing a game.

 

•Over the last 10 seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning percentage (264-66, .800), league winning percentage (116-41, .739), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (9) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (9).