Feb. 8, 2009
WEST VIRGINIA (16-7, 5-5 Big East) at #6 PITT (21-2, 8-2 Big East)
Monday, February 9, 2009 7 p.m. ET Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN/ESPN 360 (Sean McDonough, Bill Raftery, Jay Bilas; Producer: Bo Garrett).
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Channel 125 (Pitt feed); ISP Sports National Radio Broadcast (Andy Demetra and John Celestand).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 10th year at Pitt, 6th year as head coach (153-42); West Virginia: Bob Huggins, 2nd year at WVU (42-18), 27th year overall (632-229).
Rankings: Pitt: 6-AP, 5-ESPN; West Virginia: unranked (as of Feb. 2, 2009).
Series: Pitt and West Virginia meet for the 177th time in basketball. Pitt is 83-93 all-time vs. WVU, but has claimed five of the series' last six contests. Pitt is 59-33 vs. WVU in games played at Pitt and has won nine of the series' last 10 games played in Pittsburgh dating back to Feb. 29, 1996.
PITTSBURGH--No. 6 ranked Pitt (21-2, 8-2 Big East) plays the second of a two-game Big East regular season series when it hosts West Virginia (16-7, 5-5 Big East) Monday night at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET.
The basketball version of the "Backyard Brawl" rivalry will be broadcast nationally on ESPN with Sean McDonough, Bill Raftery and Jay Bilas making the call. Bo Garrett will handle production.
Pitt enters the game on a three-game win streak after scoring over 90 points in each of the last three contests for the first time in 18 years. The last time Pitt scored 90 or more points in three straight games was from Dec. 6-15, 1990 when it defeated Marshall (105), West Virginia (96) and Robert Morris (98) in consecutive games. Pitt has scored 90 or more points in four straight games only one time during the 1986-87 season (Nov. 29-Dec. 8).
Pitt has won 20 or more games for the eighth straight season and for the 16th time in school history. Jamie Dixon became the first coach in school history to win 20-plus games in six straight years. Pitt is the only Big East program to win 20 overall games and 10-plus league games in each of the last seven seasons. It needs two more league wins to accomplish that feat for an eighth straight season.
Pitt defeated DePaul 92-69 on Saturday to improve to 8-2 in Big East play. The Panthers used a 13-0 run before halftime to take control of the game. Three players totaled double-doubles for Pitt. Levance Fields tied a school record for most assists in a game with 16, DeJuan Blair scored a career-high 32 points and hauled in 14 rebounds including nine offensive and Sam Young contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds. Brad Wanamaker (13 points) reached double figures for the third time in the past four games.
With its 92-72 win over Robert Morris on Feb. 2, Pitt completed its third all-time undefeated non-conference slate with a 13-0 record. Pitt also went undefeated in both 2003-04 (14-0) and 2005-06 (11-0).
Pitt's 21-2 record ranks as the school's all-time second best record after 23 games played. Pitt began 22-1 in Jamie Dixon's first year in 2003-04, 20-3 in 1929-30, 2005-06 and 2006-07, 19-4 in both 1987-88 and 2002-03, and 18-5 in 2007-08. A sidenote: Pitt finished an undefeated 21-0 en route to the mythical national title in 1927-28.
Following a loss at No. 21 Villanova, Pitt bounced back with a 93-80 win over Notre Dame on Jan. 31. DeJuan Blair totaled the ninth 20-20 performance in school history with 23 points and a career-high 22 rebounds in leading five players in double figures. Trailing by six points at halftime, Pitt scored the second half's first nine points to take control of the game. The Panthers outrebounded Notre Dame 49-30 and grabbed 22 offensive rebounds in the 13-point win.
Through its first 23 games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-16.4 margin and outrebounded its opponents by a plus-9.8 margin. The Panthers are also converting 48.0 percent (682-1421) of their field goal attempts and limiting opponents to 39.8 percent shooting. Pitt has also held 20 of its 23 opponents to 70 points or less and 10 teams to 60 points or less. Pitt is ranked among the nation's top-10 teams in five statistical categories (as of Feb. 5, 2009): 6th in winning percentage, 6th in scoring margin, 3rd in rebound margin, 9th in assists per game, 2nd in assist:turnover ratio.
Several Pitt players are ranked among national leaders in various statistical categories (as of Feb. 5, 2009). DeJuan Blair ranks fourth nationally in rebounding (12.9) and leads the nation in offensive rebounds with 6.0 orpg according to StatsLLC (Note: the NCAA does not rank top offensive rebounders). He is also ranked No. 24 in field goal percentage (58.9). Levance Fields ranks second assist:turnover ratio (3.55) and fifth in assists per game (6.8), while Sam Young is rated 74th in scoring (17.9).
West Virginia and Pitt meet for the 177th time in series history. West Virginia owns a 93-83 advantage in the series but Pitt has won five of the series' last six matchups. At home, Pitt owns a 59-33 record vs. WVU and is 4-1 vs. the Mountaineers in the Petersen Events Center. Additionally, Pitt has claimed nine of the series' last 10 meetings in Pittsburgh.
West Virginia concluded a two-game losing streak with an 86-59 win at home over Providence on Saturday. The Mountaineers are led by Da'Sean Butler (17.8 ppg.), Alex Ruoff (16.2 ppg.) and Darryl Bryant (10.1 ppg.).
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt has won 16 straight home games and carries a 110-10 all-time record (.916 percentage) in the Petersen Events Center. Pitt also owns a 44-9 record vs. Big East opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is also 14-0 at home this year.
At 21-2, Pitt has won 20-plus games for its eighth consecutive season. Pitt is the only Big East school to win 20 overall games and 10-plus league games in each of the last seven seasons. Dixon is the only Pitt coach in school history to win 20 or more overall games in six straight seasons.
Over the last eight seasons, Pitt owns the Big East's top record (210-53) and has advanced to a league-best seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
Pitt and WVU meet for the 177th time in series history. Pitt has won five of the last six overall matchups, has claimed nine of the series' last 10 matchups in Pittsburgh and is 4-1 vs. WVU at the PEC.
COURTSIDE: Pitt Goes Retro in Win Over No. 17 FSU
Pittsburgh upsets No. 17 Florida State 80-66
GAME NOTES: Panthers Host No. 17 Florida State Saturday
Pitt Falls to Virginia Tech 66-63
GAME NOTES: Pitt Seeks Third Straight Win Tuesday Evening
COURTSIDE: Panthers Top Syracuse for Sixth Time in Seven Games