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Feb. 17, 2013

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GAME 27: #21 NOTRE DAME (20-6, 8-5 Big East) at #16 PITT (20-6, 8-5 Big East)

Monday, February 18, 2013 • 7 p.m. ET

Petersen Events Center (12,508) • Pittsburgh, Pa.


TV: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Bill Raftery, Jay Bilas; Producer: Eric Mosley; Director: Jeff Evers).

Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-91 (Pitt feed), XM-91 (Pitt feed).

Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats:

Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 14th year at Pitt, 10th year as head coach (258-83); Notre Dame: Mike Brey, 13th year at Notre Dame (280-138), 18th year overall (379-180).

Rankings: Pitt: AP-16; USA Today-17; Notre Dame: AP-19; USA Today-19 (as of Feb. 11, 2013).

Series: Pitt and Notre Dame meet for the 58th time since the series began in 1927. Notre Dame holds a 30-27 overall advantage and has claimed each of the last four meetings. Notre Dame's four-game win streak represents its longest in the 57-game series. Prior to the last four games, Pitt had won six of the previous seven meetings against the Irish. Pitt is 17-9 vs. Notre Dame in games played in Pittsburgh, including a 5-1 record vs. the Irish at the Petersen Events Center. 


PITTSBURGH--After winning seven of its last nine games, No. 16 ranked Pitt (20-6, 8-5 Big East) plays its third consecutive nationally ranked team when No. 21 Notre Dame (20-6, 8-5 Big East) visits the Petersen Events Center for a Monday, February 18 matchup. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET. 

The "Big Monday" contest will be nationally televised on ESPN. Sean McDonough, Bill Raftery and Jay Bilas will make the call, while Pitt graduate Eric Mosley (producer) and Jeff Evers (director) will handle production.

Both teams enter the contest in a race for the Big East regular season championship and two-day bye into the Big East Tournament. Three teams- Syracuse, Georgetown and Marquette are tied for first place with 9-3 records. Louisville is in fourth place with a 9-4 record, while Pitt and Notre Dame are next with 8-5 records, followed by Connecticut at 7-5. 

The Pitt-Notre Dame matchup marks the 200th all-time game at the Petersen Events Center where it owns a 178-21 all-time record. Pitt plays its third consecutive nationally ranked team (rankings as of Feb. 11, 2013). The last time the Panthers played three straight nationally ranked teams was from Jan. 14-21, 2012 when Pitt played at Marquette, at Syracuse and Louisville in consecutive games. The Panthers also enter the game with a 3-4 record vs. nationally ranked programs this year with wins over No. 17 Cincinnati, No. 6 Syracuse and at No. 19 Georgetown.

Pitt has won three of its last four games, seven of its last nine and eight of its last 11 contests. Pitt has already won more overall games (20) and more Big East Conference games (eight) than it did last season when injuries derailed its 2011-12 regular season with a 16-15 record and 5-13 league slate. See page 6 chart for a listing of Pitt's best Big East turnarounds. In addition, Pitt has also won 20 games for the 12th consecutive season. Pitt has made its case for comeback team of the year. 

Pitt is coming off a 10-point road loss at No. 18 Marquette, 79-69. Marquette set Pitt opponent season highs for scoring (79) and field goal percentage (56.5) and used an 11-2 run before halftime to take a 13-point lead en route to the win. The Panthers could not close the gap in the second half. Pitt was led by Lamar Patterson's 19 points on 4-7 3-point shooting.

Pitt and Notre Dame represent the nation's top-two ball-handling teams as the Fighting Irish rank No. 1 in assist:turnover ratio and Pitt No. 2. Ranked No. 21 in both the AP and USA Today polls (as of Feb. 11, 2013), Notre Dame enters Monday's game after a 71-54 loss at Providence on Saturday. Notre Dame is led by Jack Cooley (14.6 ppg./11.2 rpg.), Jerian Grant (13.0 ppg./2.4 rpg.) and Eric Atkins (11.7 ppg.). 

On a four-game home win streak, Pitt has won 19 of its last 21 home games. It recently completed a 15-game home win streak, which ties for the seventh longest of its kind in school history. Pitt owns a 73-18 all-time record vs. Big East Conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is also 101-3 vs. non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt has also won 122 of its last 126 home games against regular season non-conference opponents. Since the Petersen Events Center opened in 2002, Pitt owns a 49-1 record in November non-conference home games and has a 48-1 record in December non-conference matchups.


•Pitt (8-5) and Notre Dame (8-5) meet in a clash of two teams vying for the Big East regular season title and two-day bye into the Big East Tournament.

•No. 16 Pitt is one of the nation's hottest teams after winning seven of its last nine and eight of its last 11 contests. 

•Monday's game vs. Notre Dame marks the 200th in Petersen Events Center history.

•Pitt is in its 11th season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 178-21 overall record (.894) in the arena. Pitt is also 73-18 all-time vs. Big East opponents at the PEC. The Panthers have won 84 of their last 95 home games and 35 of their last 44 Big East Conference home games. 

•Over the last 12 years, Pitt has been the Big East Conference's leader in overall winning percentage (315-93, .772), league winning percentage (137-62, .688), Big East Championships (six), Big East Tournament wins (20) and NCAA Tournament appearances (10).

The Last Meeting
Notre Dame72
December 27, 2011
South Bend, Ind./Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center
No. 22 Pittsburgh Loses Big East Opener to ND 72-59
Talib Zanna had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Panthers (11-3, 0-1), who shot 40 percent from the field. But Alex Dragicevich hit four 3-pointers and scored a career-high 22 points to lead Notre Dame to a 72-59 win in the Big East opener for both teams.

No. 16 Men's Basketball Hosts No. 21 Notre Dame on Monday at 7 p.m.

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