Feb. 20, 2010
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GAME 27: #3 VILLANOVA (22-3, 11-2 Big East) at #19 PITT (20-6, 9-4 Big East)
Sunday, February 21, 2010 Noon ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: CBS Sports (Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg; Producer: Bob Dekas).
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970-AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Sirius-122 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 11th year at Pitt, 7th year as head coach (183-51); Villanova: Jay Wright, 9th year at VU (200-54), 15th year overall (322-179).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-19; ESPN-21; Villanova: AP-3; ESPN-3.
Series: Pitt and Villanova meet for the 60th time in series history with VU holding a 32-27 advantage. Pitt is 19-5 all-time vs. the Wildcats at home. Pitt has claimed each of its last six home games against Villanova and has not lost to VU at home since 1996. Pitt is 2-0 vs. VU at the PEC.
PITTSBURGH--No. 19 Pitt (20-6, 9-4 Big East) hosts No. 3 Villanova (22-3, 11-2 Big East) on Sunday, February 18 at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at noon ET.
The contest will be nationally televised by CBS Sports with Verne Lundquist (play-by-play) and Clark Kellogg (color analyst) calling action. Bob Dekas will handle production.
The Pitt-Villanova matchup is a rematch of the 2009 NCAA Regional Final in Boston, Mass. Villanova's Scottie Reynolds drove a half-length of the floor and hit a buzzer-beating layup to give the Wildcats a 78-76 win. The 2010 matchup pairs the Big East's best offensive team in Villanova (85.0 ppg.) vs. the league's best defensive team in Pitt (allowing just 61.2 points per game).
For the 15th time in Petersen Events Center history, two nationally ranked teams will meet. Pitt is 6-0 vs. top-5 ranked opponents at the Petersen Events Center and owns an 11-4 record in games against top-25 opponents in the arena. The six wins against top-5 ranked opponents include: No. 5 Notre Dame on Jan. 6, 2003, No. 5 Connecticut on Feb. 15, 2004, No. 4 Syracuse on Jan. 29, 2005, No. 5 Georgetown on Jan. 14, 2008, No. 1 Connecticut on March 7, 2009 and No. 5 West Virginia on Feb. 12, 2010 (see chart on page 8).
With five Big East regular season games remaining, Pitt enters its contest against Villanova in a two-way tie with West Virginia for third place in the league standings with identical 9-4 records. Syracuse (12-2) leads the league, while Villanova ranks second at 11-2.
Pitt is in the midst of a key four-game stretch in which the Panthers will play four opponents who have compiled a 75-27 combined record up to this point. It has already won the first two contests: vs. West Virginia, W-3OT 98-95 and at Marquette, 58-51. Villanova and Notre Dame are next.
A win against Villanova would give Pitt its Big East leading ninth consecutive season with 20 or more overall wins and 10 or more league wins. Pitt is the only school to achieve that honor in the Big East in each of the last nine seasons. Pitt won its 20th game Thursday night at Marquette. Prior to this stretch, the most consecutive 20-win season for Pitt Basketball was two in both 1986-87 and 1987-88. The 2009-10 season marks the program's 17th all-time 20-win season in 103 years of Pitt Basketball. Jamie Dixon also became the first head coach in school history to win 20 or more games in seven consecutive seasons.
Riding a four-game win streak, Pitt enters the matchup after winning 13 of its last 17 games and 17 of its last 22 contests. Earlier this year, Pitt completed one of its most difficult schedule stretches in years. For the first time since it joined the Big East Conference in 1982, Pitt won three consecutive back-to-back-to-back road games at No. 5 Syracuse (87-72), at Cincinnati (74-71) and at No. 16 Connecticut (67-57). It defeated Louisville 82-77 in overtime on Jan. 13 and concluded the stretch with a 74-66 home loss to Georgetown, which snapped the Panthers' 31-game home win streak.
Pitt improved to 9-4 in the Big East with a 58-51 win at Marquette on Thursday night. Four Panthers reached double figure scoring as they built 10-point second half lead and held on for the win. Pitt shot 60 percent from the floor in the second half and limited Marquette, the nation's No. 2 ranked 3-point shooting team to 5-19 from 3-point range.
On Feb. 12, Pitt claimed a 98-95 three overtime home thriller against West Virginia. A "classic," Pitt battled back from a seven-point deficit with 1:13 left in regulation to force overtime. An Ashton Gibbs 3-pointer with 26 seconds left sent the game into overtime. Pitt finally won the game in the third overtime period, converting 5-6 free throws in the final few minutes to claim the win. Gibbs and Wanamaker finished with 24 points apiece. Travon Woodall turned in one of his best games with 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Gilbert Brown added 16 points off the bench.
Villanova (22-3, 11-2 Big East) has claimed two of its last four games following an 11-game win streak. It lost on Monday night to Connecticut at home, 84-75. Coached by Jay Wright, the Wildcats are led by Scott Reynolds (18.9 ppg./40.2 3FG%), Corey Fisher (14.2 ppg./103 assists), Antonio Pena (11.0 ppg./7.5 rpg.), Corey Stokes (8.9 ppg./4.3 rpg.) and Reggie Redding (8.3 ppg./5.0 rpg.). Villanova ranks atop the Big East in scoring office at 85.0 points per game.
At home, Pitt is 14-1 on the year and recently concluded a 31-game home win streak. It also is 54-10 vs. Big East opponents at the Petersen Events Center. In addition, Pitt owns a 46-game win streak against non-conference opponents at home. Pitt also owns a 75-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center and has claimed 96 of its last 97 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center with a 129-11 all-time record and .921 winning percentage. The .921 winning percentage ranks among the nation's best home court records over the last eight years (see chart page 8). Pitt has won 59 of its last 69 Big East home games. Only two opponents (Louisville and Georgetown) have defeated the Panthers two times in the Petersen Events Center.
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
The Pitt-Villanova game features a rematch of last year's NCAA Elite Eight game in Boston, Mass. Villanova claimed a 78-76 win.
On a four-game win streak, Pitt is vying for its ninth consecutive 20-win overall/10-win league year. Pitt is the only school in the Big East to achieve that mark.
Villanova enters the game ranked No. 3 in both polls. Pitt owns a 6-0 record vs. top-5 ranked teams played at the Petersen Events Center and is 11-4 vs. top-25 teams in the arena since it opened in 2002-03.
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center, carries a 129-11 overall record (.921 winning percentage) and is 54-10 all-time vs. Big East opponents in the arena. Pitt is 14-1 at home this season.
Pitt has won 35 of its last 36 home games. Pitt recently completed a 31-game home win streak, which ranks as the second longest in school history and second longest in Petersen Events Center history.