Feb. 15, 2011
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GAME 26: USF (8-18, 2-11 Big East) at #4 PITT (23-2, 11-1 Big East)
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 7 p.m. ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN3.com (John Sanders and Curtis Aiken; Producer: Matt McCandlish).
Radio: Panther Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 154 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 12th year at Pitt, 8th year as head coach (211-56); South Florida: Stan Heath, 5th year at USF (49-72), 10th year overall (161-149).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-4; ESPN-4. South Florida: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.
Series: Pitt and USF meet for the seventh time in series history. The series is tied at 3-3. Pitt is 2-0 vs. USF in the Petersen Events Center and 3-1 vs. the Bulls since USF joined the Big East Conference in 2005-06. Pitt owns a 28-9 record vs. schools added to the Big East in 2005-06: Cincinnati 7-1, DePaul 7-0, Louisville 5-3, Marquette 6-4, USF 3-1.
PITTSBURGH--No. 4 ranked and first place Pitt (23-2, 11-1 Big East) hosts USF (8-18, 2-11 Big East) for a Wednesday, February 16 contest at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. ET.
The game will be broadcast on the internet on ESPN3.com with John Sanders (play-by-play) and Curtis Aiken (color analyst) calling action. Matt McCandlish will handle production.
With its league-leading 11-1 league record, Pitt sits atop the Big East Conference with a 1.5-game lead. Notre Dame is in second place with a 10-3 record, Georgetown is third at 9-4, Louisville fourth at 8-4, followed by Villanova, Connecticut and St. John's all at 7-5, Syracuse is 8-6 and West Virginia 7-6. Pitt must play three of its six remaining games against three of those opponents (Villanova, Louisville and West Virginia) in the coming weeks.
Winners of 13 of its last 14 overall games and 14 of its last 15 Big East regular season contests, No. 4 Pitt enters the game on a four-game win streak and following two straight road wins against nationally rated opponents including a 57-54 win over No. 9 Villanova and a 71-66 win at No. 25 West Virginia. In each of the two wins, Pitt played without starting point guard and leading scorer Ashton Gibbs, who is injured with an MCL injury in his left knee. Fueled by a 21-point performance from Philadelphia native Brad Wanamaker and a 15-point outing from Chester native Nasir Robinson, Pitt defeated Villanova on Saturday at the Pavilion, a venue that it lost six straight games and nine of its last 10. Pitt improved to 5-2 vs. nationally ranked teams on the year, won its fifth straight against top-10 ranked opponents and improved to 12-2 vs. top-10 ranked teams since the 2007-08 season. Jamie Dixon improved to 23-9 all-time vs. top-10 ranked opponents. The Panthers snapped Villanova's 46-game win streak at the arena. On Feb. 7, Pitt outrebounded the Mountaineers 40-28 and shot 60.7 percent (17-28) in the second half to defeat West Virginia. 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 in each of the last two games.
With the Villanova victory, Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon now has winning records against all 15 Big East schools. Here is 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 6-5, West Virginia 10-6.
Pitt and USF meet for the first of two matchups this season. The two schools meet for the seventh time in series history. The series is tied at 3-3, although Pitt has claimed three of the last four meetings. USF won the last meeting, a 70-61 win at the Sun Dome on January 31, 2010.
A win on Wednesday would give Pitt its 12th Big East victory of the year. Pitt is the only league school to win 20 overall games and 10 league games 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 11-1 start to Big East regular season play marks its best-ever start to league play. A win vs. USF would give Pitt its first-ever 12-1 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 23-2 record ranks tied for the best start in school history after 25 games. Pitt completed a 21-0 season en route to the mythical national championship in 1927-28, also began 23-2 in 1929-30, 2003-04 and 2008-09 and now in 2010-11.
In the midst of his eighth season as Pitt's head coach, Jamie Dixon ranks tied for third in NCAA Division I history for most wins after eight years (see chart on page 5). With his 211 career wins, he now needs only three more wins to break the NCAA Division I record for this category. He currently ranks tied for third behind North Carolina State's Everett Case (213), Kansas' Roy Williams (213) and Gonzaga's Mark Few (211). With a win Wednesday, he will pass Few for sole possession of third place on the list.
At home, Pitt has won 21 of its last 22 games, 52 of its last 54 games, recently completed a 20-game home win streak and is 14-1 this year. The 20-game win streak ranks as the fourth longest streak of its kind in school history. It concluded last season with an 18-1 home record and ended a 31-game home win streak. It is 62-11 vs. Big East opponents at the Petersen Events Center. In addition, Pitt owns a 55-game win streak against non-conference opponents at home. Pitt also owns an 84-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center and has claimed 105 of its last 106 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.
Pitt is in its ninth season in the Petersen Events Center with a 146-12 all-time record and .924 winning percentage. The .924 winning percentage ranks among the nation's best home court records over the last nine years (see chart page 8). Pitt has won 67 of its last 78 Big East home games. Only two opponents (Louisville and Georgetown) have defeated the Panthers two times in the Petersen Events Center.
WEDNESDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
With a 1.5-game first place lead at 11-1, Pitt is off to its best-ever start to a Big East regular season. Pitt has never begun a Big East regular season with an 11-1 record. Pitt's 23-2 overall record ranks ties for its best-ever start in school history after 25 games.
Pitt is in its ninth season at the Petersen Events Center and carries a 146-12 record (.924 winning percentage) in the arena. Pitt owns a 62-11 record vs. Big East opponents at the PEC. Pitt has won 21 of its last 22 home games, is 14-1 at home this year and has won 52 of its last 54 home games.
Pitt has won 13 of its last 14 and 14 of its last 15 Big East regular season contests.
Over the last 10 seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning pct. (268-67, .800), league winning pct. (120-42, .741), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (9) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (10).