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No. 4 Men's Basketball Hosts West Virginia on Thursday at 9 p.m.




Feb. 22, 2011

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GAME 28: WEST VIRGINIA (17-9, 8-6 Big East) at #4 PITT (24-3, 12-2 Big East)

 

Thursday, February 24, 2011 • 9 p.m. ET

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

 

MEDIA INFORMATION

 

Television: ESPN (John Saunders and Fran Fraschilla; Producer: Eric Mosley).


 

 

 

Radio: Panther Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove,, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 122 (Pitt feed).

 

Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.

 

 

The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 12th year at Pitt, 8th year as head coach (212-57); West Virginia: Bob Huggins, 4th year at WVU (97-39), 29th year overall (687-250).

 

Rankings: Pitt: AP-4; ESPN-6. West Virginia: AP-ARV; ESPN-ARV.

 

 

Series: Pitt and WVU meet for the 182nd time in series history and second time this season. Pitt claimed the first meeting in Morgantown on Feb. 7, a 71-66 win. WVU leads the all-time series with a 95-86 record, although Pitt has won 15 of the last 22 matchups. Pitt has won nine of its last 10 home games vs. WVU and is 6-1 vs. the Mountaineers at the Petersen Events Center.

 

GAME PREVIEW

 

PITTSBURGH--No. 4/6 ranked and first place Pitt (24-3, 12-2 Big East) hosts West Virginia on Thursday, Feb. 24 at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is slated for 9 p.m. ET.

 

ESPN will broadcast the game nationally with John Saunders (play-by-play) and Fran Fraschilla (color analyst) calling action. Eric Mosley will handle production.

 

With its league-leading 12-2 record, Pitt currently sits atop the Big East Conference with a 2.0-game lead. Notre Dame is in second place with a 10-4 record, Georgetown is third at 10-5, Louisville and St. John's are both in fourth place with 9-5 records, Syracuse is 10-6, Villanova is 9-6 and Cincinnati, Connecticut and West Virginia are all 8-6. With four games remaining, Pitt must play three of its final remaining games against three of those opponents (Villanova, Louisville and West Virginia) in the coming weeks. Pitt still needs to win two games to secure a double bye in the Big East Championship. It can also achieve the double bye with one victory and assistance. Pitt needs three wins to clinch the Big East regular season title.

 

Pitt rated among the nation's top-10 in RPI. It has six wins against top-25 RPI opponents and owns a 5-2 record vs. top-25 ranked teams.

 

Winners of 14 of its last 16 overall games and 15 of its last 17 Big East regular season contests, No. 4 Pitt enters the game following a 60-59 loss at St. John's on Feb. 19. St. John's Dwight Hardy hit a layup with two seconds left to give the Red Storm the victory. Ashton Gibbs returned from a three-game hiatus to score a career-high 26 points on a career-high tying six 3-pointers. Gibbs has now scored 20 or more points in each of his last three games played. He is the only player to achieve three straight 20-point games this year and the first player since Sam Young in 2008 to score over 20 points in three straight contests. Young achieved that distinction two times in 2007-08.

 

Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon has winning records against all 15 Big East schools. Here are 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 7-3, Seton Hall 6-3, USF 4-1, Syracuse 9-2, Villanova 6-5, West Virginia 10-6.

 

Pitt enters its second matchup of the year against West Virginia after defeating the Mountaineers 71-66 in Morgantown on Feb. 7, 2011. Pitt has defeated West Virginia in nine of the last 10 meetings played in Pittsburgh and is 55-32 all-time vs. WVU in Pittsburgh. Pitt also owns a 6-1 record vs. West Virginia at the Petersen Events Center. West Virginia leads the 181-game series with a 95-86 advantage.

 

A win on Thursday would give Pitt its 13th Big East victory of the year. Pitt has won 13 or more Big East regular season victories in only four previous years. 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 12-2 start to Big East regular season play ties its best-ever start to league play. Pitt also began the 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons with a 12-2 record. A win vs. West Virginia would give Pitt its sixth 13-2 Big East regular season start matched five other times. 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 24-3 record ranks tied for the fifth start in school history after 27 games. Pitt completed a 21-0 season en route to the mythical national championship in 1927-28, 25-2 in both 2003-04 and 2008-09 and 23-2 in 1929-30.

 

In the midst of his eighth season as Pitt's head coach, Jamie Dixon ranks second in NCAA Division I history for most wins after eight years (see chart on page 5). With his 212 career wins, he now needs only two more wins to break the NCAA Division I record for this category. He currently ranks third behind North Carolina State's Everett Case (213) and Kansas' Roy Williams (213).

 

At home, Pitt has won 22 of its last 23 games, won 25 of its last 27 games against Big East regular season opponents, 53 of its last 55 games, recently completed a 20-game home win streak and is 15-1 this year. The 20-game win streak ranks as the fourth longest streak of its kind in school history. Pitt concluded last season with an 18-1 home record and ended a 31-game home win streak. It is 63-11 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 147-12 all-time record and .925 winning percentage. The .925 winning percentage ranks among the nation's best homecourt records over the last nine years (see chart page 8). Pitt has won 68 of its last 79 Big East home games. Only two opponents (Louisville and Georgetown) have defeated the Panthers two times in the Petersen Events Center. Pitt has lost two consecutive games only two times in the history of the Petersen Events Center.

 

THURSDAY'S TOP STORYLINES

 

•With a 2.0-game first place lead at 12-2, Pitt is off to its best-ever start to a Big East regular season. Pitt's 24-3 overall record ranks tied for the fifth best start in school history after 27 games.

 

•Pitt is 6-1 vs. West Virginia at the Petersen Events Center and has won nine of the last 10 meetings vs. WVU in Pittsburgh.

 

•Jamie Dixon owns a 37-11 overall record after losing a game.

 

•Pitt is in its ninth season at the Petersen Events Center and carries a 147-12 record (.925 winning percentage) in the arena. Pitt owns a 63-11 record vs. Big East opponents at the PEC. Pitt has won 22 of its last 23 home games, is 15-1 at home this year and has won 53 of its last 55 home games. In addition, Pitt has won 25 of its last 27 home games vs. Big East opponents.

 

•Over the last 10 seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning pct. (269-68, .798), league winning pct. (121-43, .738), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (9) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (10).