Feb. 11, 2014
GAME 25: #1/1 SYRACUSE (23-0, 10-0 ACC) at #25/23 PITT (20-4, 8-3 ACC)
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7 p.m. ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN (Dave O'Brien and Doris Burke; Producer: Scott Matthews).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-Channel 91 (Pitt feed), XM-Channel 91 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 15th year at Pitt, 11th year as head coach (282-90); Syracuse: Jim Boeheim, 38th year at SU (943-314), 38th year overall (943-314).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-25; USA Today-23; Syracuse: AP-1; USA Today-1.
Series: Former Big East Conference rivals Pitt and Syracuse meet for the second time this year and 104th time in series history with Syracuse holding a 64-39 advantage. Since 2001, Pitt holds a 14-6 edge in the series. Since Jamie Dixon became head coach at Pitt in 2003-04, Pitt is 10-5 overall vs. Syracuse. Pitt is 25-24 all-time vs. Syracuse in games played in Pittsburgh. The Panthers are also 6-1 vs. the Orange in the Petersen Events Center.
PITTSBURGH--No. 25/23 Pitt (20-4, 8-3 ACC) will host No. 1 Syracuse (23-0, 10-0 ACC) in a Wednesday, February 12, contest at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET.
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN with Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Doris Burke (color analysis) making the call. Scott Matthews will handle production.
At 8-3 in ACC competition, Pitt enters the game in a third place tie with Duke. Pitt and Duke are two full games behind Virginia (10-1) in the standings. Syracuse is in first place with a 10-0 ACC record.
The Pitt-Syracuse matchup features two former Big East Conference teams who are presently ranked among the ACC's top-4 squads. Pitt has had recent success against Syracuse, sporting a 10-5 record vs. the Orange under Jamie Dixon (6-1 at the Petersen Events Center overall).
Pitt meets the nation's No. 1 ranked team for the 17th time in school history and for the first time since it played at No. 1 Syracuse on Jan. 16, 2012. The last time Pitt hosted a No. 1 ranked team was on March 7, 2009, a 70-60 win over No. 1 ranked Connecticut. Pitt is a combined 2-14 all-time vs. the nation's No. 1 ranked team with wins in two of the last three matchups. In addition, Pitt owns a perfect 9-0 record vs. top-5 ranked teams at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is also 13-1 vs. top-10 teams at PEC.
Pitt has won 20 games for the 13th consecutive season. Pitt has won its 20 games by an average margin of 13.1 points per game. Sixteen of Pitt's 20 wins have come by nine or more points and 12 of its 20 are by 17 points or more. Offensively, the Panthers are averaging 73.2 points per game, converting 46.8 percent (605-1292) of field goals, 34.6 percent (115-332) of 3-point field goals and a solid 71.8 percent (433-603) of free throw attempts. Pitt is also outrebounding its opponents by a sizable plus-6.5 margin. Defensively, Pitt is holding its opponents to 60.1 points per game and yielding a 40.0 (506-1266) field goal percentage. In their past three games the Panthers have held their opponents to an average of 53.3 points per game and 35.5 (54-152) shooting from the floor. Twenty of Pitt's 24 opponents have been held to 70 points or less and 14 have been limited to 60 points or less.
Through 11 Atlantic Coast Conference games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-7.0 margin. Pitt is shooting 45.2 percent (252-557) and 37.0 percent (50-135) from 3-point range. National/ACC Player of the Year/First Team candidate Lamar Patterson is averaging 17.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game and Talib Zanna nearly averages a double-double in points (13.3) and rebounds (7.7).
The Panthers are coming off back-to-back overtime victories over Virginia Tech (62-57 in 2OT) at PEC) and Miami (59-55 OT) on the road. It is the first time since the 1997-98 season that Pitt has played back-to-back overtime games. Cameron Wright sparked Pitt with 18 points and James Robinson contributed 16 (3-4 3FG) in the double overtime win vs. Virginia Tech. Wright converted four free throws to give Pitt an early lead in the second overtime period. Robinson sent the game into overtime as he converted a rare four-point play. Pitt held Virginia Tech to 0-13 shooting in the overtime periods.
At home, Pitt is 13-2 this year, has won 15 of its last 17 games and owns a 19-game consecutive win streak against non-conference opponents. In its 12th season in the Petersen Events Center, Pitt owns a 193-24 overall record in the arena and a 79-21 conference record (4-2 vs. ACC/75-19 vs. Big East). The Panthers also own a 110-3 record vs. non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center and have won 131 of its last 135 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.
Pitt plays Syracuse for the second time this year. The Orange claimed a 59-54 win at the Carrier Dome on Jan. 18. Syracuse is led by C.J. Fair (16.8 ppg./5.9 rpg.), Trevor Cooney (14.0 ppg.), Jerami Grant (12.8 ppg./7.0 rpg.) and Tyler Ennis (11.8 ppg.). With its 2-3 zone, Syracuse is holding its opponents to 58.4 points per game and 40.7 percent (458-1126) shooting and outscoring its opponents by 12.7 points per game. The two teams feature two groups of high school teammates: Pitt's James Robinson and SU's Jerami Grant (DeMatha H.S.) and Pitt's Michael Young and SU's Tyler Ennis (St. Benedict's Prep, N.J.).
WEDNESDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt enters Wednesday's game with a 9-0 all-time record vs. top-5 ranked teams at the Petersen Events Center. It is also 13-1 vs. top-10 ranked teams in the arena.
Pitt plays the nation's No. 1 ranked team for the 17th time in school history. Pitt is 2-14 all-time with wins in two of its last three meetings vs. a No. 1 team.
Pitt is in its 12th season in the Petersen Events Center with a 193-24 all-time record and .889 winning percentage. The Panthers are 13-2 this year and have won 15 of their last 17 at home.
When comparing ACC basketball programs over the last 13 years, Pitt ranks second among league programs in overall winning percentage (339-100, .772), league winning percentage (149-66, .693), homecourt winning percentage (.889) and NCAA Tournament appearances (11).