Feb. 12, 2009
GAME 25: CINCINNATI (17-8, 7-5 Big East) at #4 PITT (22-2, 9-2 Big East)
Saturday, February 14, 2009 4 p.m. ET Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN/ESPN 360 (Sean McDonough, Bob Wenzel; Producer: Steve Ackels).
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Channel 123 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 10th year at Pitt, 6th year as head coach (154-42); Cincinnati: Mick Cronin, 3rd year at UC (41-46), 6th year overall (110-70).
Rankings: Pitt: 4-AP, 4-ESPN; Cincinnati: unranked (as of Feb. 9, 2009).
Series: Pitt and Cincinnati meet for the 13th time in series history. Pitt is 5-7 all-time vs. the Bearcats. The Panthers have defeated Cincinnati in four of the last five meetings. Pitt owns an 18-8 record vs. schools that joined the Big East in 2005-06.
No. 4 ranked Pitt (22-2, 9-2 Big East) plays its second consecutive Big East home game when it hosts Cincinnati (17-8, 7-5 Big East) Saturday at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 4 p.m. ET.
The contest will be broadcast nationally on ESPN with Sean McDonough and Bob Wenzel making the call. Steve Ackels will handle production.
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 one more league wins to accomplish that feat for an eighth straight season.
Pitt enters the game after scoring over 90 points in three of its last four games. Pitt scored over 90 points in three straight games 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).
Following a loss at No. 21 Villanova (Jan. 28), Pitt has bounced back with four consecutive wins. Pitt enters the game after defeating West Virginia 70-59 on Monday night. The Panthers took control of the game with a 13-3 run in the first half. Sam Young scored 20 points and Levance Fields added 13 points as Pitt held WVU to 40 percent field goal shooting. Pitt also defeated DePaul 92-69 on Saturday. 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 previous four games.
Pitt's 22-2 record ties for the school's all-time best record after 24 games played. Pitt also began 22-2 in Jamie Dixon's first year in 2003-04 and 22-2 in 1929-30, 21-3 in 2006-07, 20-4 in 1987-88, 2002-03 and 2005-06, and 19-5 in 2007-08. A sidenote: Pitt finished an undefeated 21-0 en route to the mythical national title in 1927-28.
Through its first 24 games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-16.2 margin and outrebounded its opponents by a plus-10.1 margin. The Panthers are also converting 48.0 percent (708-1475) of their field goal attempts and limiting opponents to 39.8 percent shooting. Pitt has also held 21 of its 24 opponents to 70 points or less and 11 teams to 60 points or less. Pitt is ranked among the nation's top-10 teams in five statistical categories (as of Feb. 8, 2009): 4th in winning percentage, 5th in scoring margin, 2nd in rebound margin, 4th in assists per game, 2nd in assist:turnover ratio.
Several Pitt players are ranked among national leaders in various statistical categories (as of Feb. 8, 2009). DeJuan Blair ranks third nationally in rebounding (12.7) 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. 16th in field goal percentage (59.7). Levance Fields ranks first in assist:turnover ratio (3.55) and second in assists per game (7.4), while Sam Young is rated 79th in scoring (17.8).
Cincinnati and Pitt meet for the 13th time in series history. Pitt owns a 5-7 overall record vs. the Bearcats but has claimed four of the series' last five contests. The two teams met three times last year, with Pitt claiming two of the three matchups including a 70-64 win over the Bearcats in the Big East Tournament.
Cincinnati enters the contest on a three-game win streak after defeating Notre Dame, Georgetown (OT) and St. John's. Deonta Vaughn (16.0 ppg.), Mike Williams (9.7 ppg.) and Yancy Gates (10.7 ppg.) lead the Bearcat offensive attack.
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Pitt has won 17 straight home games and carries a 111-10 all-time record (.918 percentage) in the Petersen Events Center. Pitt also owns a 45-9 record vs. Big East opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is also 15-0 at home this year.
At 22-2, Pitt has won 20-plus games for its eighth consecutive season. A win vs. Cincinnati would give Pitt its eighth straight 10-win league 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 (211-53) and has advanced to a league-best seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments.