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Jan. 30, 2010

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GAME 21: #17 PITT (16-4, 6-2 Big East) at SOUTH FLORIDA (13-7, 3-5 Big East)


Sunday, January 31, 2010 • 1 p.m. ET

Sun Dome (10,411) • Tampa, Fla.



Television: ESPN-Regional/FSN Pittsburgh (Rich Hollenberg and Mark Adams; P: J.R. Starling).


Television Network Affiliates: Pittsburgh (FSN Pittsburgh), New York City-New Jersey-Connecticut (MSG), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (Brighthouse), Orlando-Daytona-Melbourne Beach (Brighthouse-O), Baltimore (MASN), Washington DC (MASN), Kansas City (Metro KC), Providence (Cox-NE), ESPN Full Court, ESPN360.

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), Sirius 122 (USF feed).

Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats:

The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 11th year at Pitt, 7th year as head coach (179-49);

South Florida: Stan Heath, 3rd year at USF (34-48), 9th year overall (146-125).

Rankings: Pitt: AP-17; ESPN-17; South Florida: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.

Series: Pitt and USF meet for the sixth time with Pitt holding a 3-2 edge. Pitt is 3-0 vs. USF since

the Bulls joined the Big East in 2005-06. Pitt is 24-8 all-time against schools who were added to the Big East in 2005-06: Cincinnati 6-1, DePaul 6-0, Louisville 5-3, Marquette 4-4, USF 3-0.




TAMPA, Fla.--No. 17 Pitt (16-4, 6-2 Big East) travels to Tampa, Fla. to play South Florida (13-7, 3-5 Big East) on Sunday, Jan. 31. Tipoff is at 1 p.m. ET at the Sun Dome.


The contest will be regionally televised on  ESPN-Regional and aired locally on FSN Pittsburgh with Rich Hollenberg and Mark Adams handling play-by-play and color duties respectively. Jimmy Lee Starling will handle production.


With a 6-2 league record, Pitt's start in Big East play ranks tied for the second best start in school history. Pitt began the 2003-04 and 2006-07 seasons with 7-1 league records and was 6-2 in 1986-87, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2005-06, 2008-09. See chart page 4.


Pitt owns the Big East's best road record over the last nine years with a 44-27 record (.620 winning percentage). Connecticut ranks second with a 42-27 slate. Pitt has claimed 11 of its last 14 games, is 4-1 overall and 3-1 in league play on the road this year.


Pitt enters the contest after having won nine of its last 11 games and 13 of its last 16 contests. It recently 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 is 6-2 in Big East play after winning a 63-53 home victory against St. John's on Thursday night. Pitt sealed the win with a 9-1 run to close out the contest. Brad Wanamaker (16 points), Gary McGhee (10 points) and Ashton Gibbs (14 points) each scored key field goals down the stretch to fuel the win. Pitt shot 52 percent in the second half and defensively, held St. John's to 27 percent shooting in the second half.


Pitt dropped a 64-61 road loss at Seton Hall on Sunday, Jan. 24. Despite committing 20 turnovers, Pitt had possession of the ball with an opportunity to tie in the final 11 seconds, but two 3-pointers missed their mark. Ashton Gibbs finished with a game-high 23 points and tied a school record for best free throw percentage in a game with a 14-14 performance from the line. Jermaine Dixon added 11 points.


With its 63-53 home win over St. John's, Pitt snapped a two-game losing streak. Pitt lost two straight games for the first time in 23 months and for the first time since February 21-24, 2008 when it lost to both Notre Dame and Louisville. Pitt has been extremely difficult to defeat two times in a row. Since Dixon became head coach, he has accumulated a 33-10 record in games played after losing a contest. Under Dixon, Pitt has lost three consecutive games only two times (Feb. 20-26, 2005 and Feb. 15-24, 2008) and two straight contests five times. Dixon owns a 5-2 record after dropping two straight games.


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.


South Florida (13-7, 3-5 Big East) enters the game on a two-game win streak after winning back-to-back overtime contests at Providence (109-105) and Seton Hall (76-74). Dominique Jones leads the Bulls in scoring (21.4 ppg.) and averages 6.0 rpg. Augustus Gilchrist (18.8 ppg./7.4 rpg.), Jarrid Famous (11.7 ppg., 8.1 rpg.) and Chris Howard (9.7 ppg., 3.9 rpg.) are all key contributors. South Florida owns a 7-3 home record. The Panthers are 3-0 vs. USF since the Bulls joined the Big East Conference in 2005-06.




•Pitt enters the contest after winning nine of its last 11 and 13 of its last 16 games.


•Pitt hits the road again for a contest at South Florida. Pitt is 4-1 on the road this year and has won 11 of its last 14 games. Pitt owns the league's best road winning percentage (.620) over the last nine years with a 44-27 record. Connecticut is second at 42-27.


•Pitt owns a 24-8 all-time record against schools that were added to the Big East in 2005-06: Cincinnati 6-1, DePaul 6-0, Louisville 5-3, Marquette 4-4, and USF 3-0.


•Pitt is 7-2 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.


•Jermaine Dixon injured his right foot in the St. John's game. He is listed as day-to-day for the South Florida game.

No. 17 Men's Basketball Plays at South Florida on Sunday

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