Feb. 7, 2012
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GAME 25: PITT (15-9, 4-7 Big East) at USF (13-10, 6-4 Big East)
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 7 p.m. ET Tampa Bay Times Forum (20,500) Tampa, Fla.
Television: ESPN Regional/ROOT Sports in Southwestern Pennsylvania (Rich Hollenberg and Bob Wenzel; Producer: Steve Melton).
Network Television Affiliates: New York City (SNY), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (Brighthouse), Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla. (Brighthouse-O), Pittsburgh (ROOT Sports), Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (ROOT Sports2), Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (SNY-Conn.), Milwaukee, Wis. (TW-WI), New Orleans, La. (Cox-NO), Providence-New Bedford, R.I. (Cox-NE), Green Bay-Appleton, Wis. (TW-WI2).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG College Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-93 (USF feed); XM-N/A (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 13th year at Pitt, 9th year as head coach (231-69); South Florida: Stan Heath, 5th year at USF (64-87), 11th year overall (176-164).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-NR; ESPN-NR; USF: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.
Series: Pitt and South Florida meet for the ninth time in series history. Pitt leads the all-time series with a 5-3 record and has claimed five of the series' last six games. In those five wins, Pitt has won by an average margin of victory of 15.0 points per game. Pitt is 2-1 in contests played in Tampa including a 66-50 win over the Bulls on March 2, 2011.
TAMPA, Fla.--Riding a four-game win streak, Pitt travels to Tampa, Fla. to play USF (13-10, 6-4 Big East) for a Wednesday, Feb. 8 contest at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET.
The game will be televised by ESPN Regional and broadcast locally on ROOT Sports in Pittsburgh. Rich Hollenberg and Bob Wenzel will provide play-by-play and color commentary duties respectively, while Steve Melton will handle production.
Pitt's four-game win streak ranks as its 12th longest Big East win streak in school history. Pitt's four-game win streak has included back-to-back 12-point home wins over Providence (86-74) and No. 9 ranked Georgetown (72-60), a six-point road win at West Virginia (72-66) and a 79-70 home win over Villanova on Sunday. The difference has been the return of point guard Tray Woodall (groin/abdominal strain). With Woodall, Pitt has showed its typical efficient offense. Combining the last four games, Pitt has shot 47.7 percent (103-216) from the floor, 41.0 percent from 3-point range (25-61, 83.0 percent from the free throw line (78-94) and averaged 77.2 points per game. In its previous eight contests, all losses, the Panthers shot 39.3 percent (177-450), 25.3 percent from 3-point range (37-146), 64.4 percent from the free throw line (87-135) and averaged only 59.8 points per game.
Pitt won its fourth straight game on Sunday, Feb. 5 when it defeated Villanova 79-70 at the Petersen Events Center. Woodall scored a career-high 29 points and Ashton Gibbs finished with 25 points as the Panthers used a 22-2 first half run to gain control of the game. Pitt hit 27 of its 31 free throw attempts including each of the last eight to close down the game.
Pitt won its third in a row as it defeated West Virginia, 72-66, on Monday, Jan. 30 in Morgantown. Woodall sparked the Panthers, scoring 16 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, including 11 in a 6:32 stretch before intermission. Pitt shot 46.2 percent in the game and maintained its lead all the way through the second half to register the win. With the win, the Panthers captured their 17th contest in the last 24 meetings against West Virginia and Jamie Dixon won his fifth career game at WVU Coliseum, the most-ever wins for a Pitt coach in games played in Morgantown.
Pitt enters the week with an RPI rating of 65. Despite its eight-game losing streak, Pitt remains in contention for an NCAA bid.
This season, Pitt has had a variety of players play through and sidelined with injuries including Woodall who sat out 11 of 12 games with a groin/abdominal strain, Dante Taylor (concussion), Ashton Gibbs (ankle), Cameron Wright (finger), Nasir Robinson (knee surgery before the season). Because of the injuries, 11 different Pitt players have started and the Panthers have used seven different starting lineup combinations.
WEDNESDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt is on a four-game win streak just five games after point guard Tray Woodall's return from injury. With Woodall sidelined or attempting to play while injured, Pitt was 5-8 overall.
Woodall was named the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week and Big East's Player of the Week after averaging 26.5 points, 4.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and shooting 62.5 percent (15-24).
Pitt has won 25 of its last 37 road games and owns the Big East's best road record (53-36) over the last 11 seasons. Pitt is 3-4 on the road this year.
Over the last 11 seasons, Pitt has been the Big East's leader in overall winning percentage (288-80, .783), league winning percentage (128-51, .715), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (10) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (10).
Pitt is one of only three programs nationally to win more than 20+ games, 10+ league games and advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 10 seasons (Gonzaga, Kansas and Pitt).