Feb. 10, 2011
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GAME 25: #4 PITT (22-2, 10-1 Big East) at #9 VILLANOVA (19-5, 7-4 Big East)
Saturday, February 12, 2011 9 p.m. ET
The Pavilion (6,500) Villanova, Pa.
Television: ESPN (Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas; Sidelines: Erin Andrews; Producer: Phil Dean).
ESPN College Game Day Broadcast Times on Saturday: 10 a.m. ET, ESPNU; 11 a.m. ET, ESPN; 8 p.m. ET, ESPN (Rece Davis, Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis, Bob Knight, Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale, Erin Andrews).
Radio: Panther Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 122; XM: 143 (Villanova feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 12th year at Pitt, 8th year as head coach (210-56); Villanova: Jay Wright, 10th year at VU (222-104), 17th year overall (344-189).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-4; ESPN-4. Villanova: AP-9; ESPN-10.
Series: Pitt and Villanova meet for the 61st time. Villanova holds a 32-28 advantage in the series and has won six straight games vs. Pitt at the Pavilion. Pitt is 4-9 all-time at the Pavilion.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa.--No. 4 ranked and first place Pitt (22-2, 10-1 Big East) travels to No. 9/10 Villanova (19-5, 7-4 Big East) for a Saturday, February 12 contest at the Pavilion. Tipoff is slated for 9 p.m. ET.
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (color analyst) and Erin Andrews (sidelines) calling action. Phil Dean will handle production. Saturday is also the site of ESPN's College Game Day broadcast featuring Rece Davis, Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis, Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale and Erin Andrews. Broadcast times for the College Game Day shows are as follows: 10 a.m. on ESPN-U, 11 a.m. on ESPN, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
With its league-leading 10-1 league record, Pitt sits atop the Big East Conference with a 1.5-game lead. Notre Dame is in second place with a 9-3 record, Georgetown is third at 8-4, followed by Villanova and Louisville (7-4), Connecticut (6-4), Syracuse (7-5) along with Marquette, West Virginia and Cincinnati at 6-5. Pitt must play four remaining games against three of those opponents (Villanova-2, Louisville and West Virginia) in the coming weeks.
Winners of 12 of its last 13 overall games and 13 of its last 14 Big East regular season contests, No. 4 Pitt enters the game on a three-game win streak and following a 71-66 win at No. 25 West Virginia. Playing without injured junior guard Ashton Gibbs, Pitt outrebounded the Mountaineers 40-28 and shot 60.7 percent (17-28) in the second half to defeat WVU. Four Pitt players reached double figure scoring including Nasir Robinson (15), Gary McGhee (13), Travon Woodall (12) and Brad Wanamaker (11 points/nine rebounds). Woodall stepped in as the starter at point guard. Pitt also registered a 71-59 home win over Cincinnati on Feb. 5. Taking advantage of 54.2 percent shooting and 55.6 percent 3-point shooting in the first half, Pitt jumped out to a 17-point halftime lead. Ashton Gibbs (5-5 3FGM) scored 18 first half points en route to a career-high tying 25 points to lead the Panthers.
Villanova represents Pitt's seventh nationally ranked opponent of the year. Pitt enters the game with a 4-2 record vs. top-25 teams. Pitt has won four straight games against top-10 ranked opponents and is 11-2 vs. top-10 ranked teams since the 2007-08 season. In addition, Jamie Dixon owns a 22-9 all-time record vs. top-10 ranked teams.
Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon has winning records against all 15 other Big East schools except for Villanova. He is 5-5 vs. the Wildcats. Here are Dixon's records: Cincinnati 7-1, Connecticut 7-5, DePaul 7-0, Georgetown 6-5, Louisville 5-3, Marquette 6-4, Notre Dame 6-4, Providence 8-1, Rutgers 6-2, St. John's 7-2, Seton Hall 6-3, USF 3-1, Syracuse 9-2, Villanova 5-5, West Virginia 10-6.
A win on Saturday would give Pitt its 11th Big East victory of the year. Pitt is the only league school to win 20 overall games and 10 league game in each of the last 10 seasons. With its win over Rutgers, Pitt claimed its 20th win for the 10th consecutive season and Jamie Dixon compiled his eighth straight 20-win campaign.
Pitt's 10-1 start to Big East regular season play matches its best-ever start to league play. Pitt also began the 2006-07 season with a 10-1 record. A win vs. Villanova would give Pitt its first-ever 11-1 Big East regular season start. Pitt won its first seven Big East regular season games for the first time in school history. Previously, the best league start was five straight wins in three other seasons: 2002-03, 2006-07 and 2009-10.
Pitt's 22-2 record ranks tied for the second-best start in school history after 24 games. Pitt completed a 21-0 season en route to the mythical national championship in 1927-28, began 23-1 in 1929-30 and 22-2 three times (2003-04 in Dixon's first year as head coach, 2008-09 and now in 2010-11).
Currently on a six-game road win streak which ranks tied for the second longest of its kind in school history, Pitt has won 18 of its last 24 road games. Over the last 10 seasons (2001-11), Pitt owns the Big East's best road winning percentage with a 50-30 record. Pitt's school-best road win streak was 11 consecutive wins in 1927-28.
Pitt and Villanova meet for the 61st time in series history with VU holding a 32-28 advantage. In games played at Villanova's Pavilion, VU, has defeated Pitt in six consecutive meetings. Pitt is also 1-9 in the last 10 meetings at the Pavilion. Pitt is 5-18 in games played at Villanova. Since the 2000-01 season, Pitt has an 8-6 record vs. Villanova.
SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
With a 1.5-game first place lead at 10-1, Pitt is off to its best-ever start to a Big East regular season. Pitt also began Big East Conference play with a 10-1 record in 2006-07. Pitt has never begun a Big East regular season with an 11-1 record.
Pitt plays its sixth road game of the year as the Panthers have won 18 of their last 24 games away from home. Over the last 10 years, Pitt owns the Big East's best road winning percentage with a 50-30 combined record. Pitt is 5-0 this year on the road and has won six straight road games.
Pitt has lost six straight games to Villanova at the Pavilion and is 1-9 in its last 10 meetings vs. the Wildcats on campus.
Pitt is 4-2 vs. ranked teams this season.
Pitt has won 12 of its last 13 and 13 of its last 14 Big East regular season contests.
Over the last 10 seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning pct. (267-67, .799), league winning pct. (119-42, .739), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (9) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (10).