Feb. 23, 2009
#4 PITT (25-2, 12-2 Big East) at PROVIDENCE (16-11, 8-7 Big East)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 7 p.m. ET Dunkin' Donuts Center (12,993) Providence, R.I.
Television: ESPN Regional/FSN Pittsburgh/ESPN-360 (Eric Frede, Ron Perry; Producer: Chris Ackerknecht).Television Clearance List: New York City (SportsnetNY), Pittsburgh (FSN Pittsburgh), Washington D.C.-Baltimore (MASN), Rhode Island (Cox-New England), New Orleans, La. (Cox-New Orleans), Wisconsin (Time-Warner), ESPN Full Court.
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Channel 127 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 10th year at Pitt, 6th year as head coach (157-42); Providence: Keno Davis, 1st year at PC (16-11), 2nd year overall (44-16).
Rankings: Pitt: 4-AP, 4-ESPN; Providence: unranked (as of Feb. 16, 2009).
Series: Pitt and Providence meet for the 44th time in school history with Pitt holding a 27-16 advantage in the series. Pitt has won eight consecutive matchups in the series including two straight against Providence at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Pitt is 8-12 in games played at PC.
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--Riding a seven-game win streak and six-game league win streak, No. 4 ranked Pitt (25-2, 12-2 Big East) travels to Rhode Island to take on Providence (16-11, 8-7 Big East) Tuesday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET. Pitt has four more Big East regular season games remaining.
The Pitt-Providence contest will be broadcast on ESPN Regional and on FSN Pittsburgh locally with Eric Frede and Ron Perry calling action. Christian Ackerknecht will handle production.
Pitt has won 20 or more overall games and 10 or more league games for the eighth consecutive season. Pitt is the only Big East program to win 20 overall games and 10-plus league games in each of the last eight seasons. Jamie Dixon became the first head coach in school history to win 20-plus games in six straight years. Against Providence on Tuesday night, Dixon will coach in his 200th career game.
Pitt enters the game ranked No. 1 in the Ratings Percentage Index according to realtimepri.com. Pitt's strength of schedule is ranked No. 12 nationally.
Pitt's 25-2 record ties for the school's all-time best record after 27 games played. Pitt also began 25-2 in Jamie Dixon's first year in 2003-04. Pitt was 23-4 in both 2002-03 and 2006-07, 22-5 in 1987-88, 21-6 in 2005-06 and 20-7 in 2007-08. A sidenote: Pitt finished an undefeated 21-0 en route to the mythical national title in 1927-28.
Through its first 27 games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-16.0 margin and outrebounded its opponents by a plus-10.6 margin. The Panthers are also converting 48.2 percent (797-1655) of their field goal attempts and limiting opponents to 40.5 percent shooting. Pitt has also held 24 of its 27 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. 19, 2009). As a team, Pitt ranks first nationally in rebound margin (10.1), ranks second in assist:turnover ratio (1.56), third in both assists per game (18.2) and winning percentage (92.3) and fourth in scoring margin (15.9). The Panthers also ranked 13th in turnovers per game (11.6) and 18th in field goal percentage (48.2).
Several Pitt players are also ranked among national leaders in various statistical categories (as of Feb. 19, 2009). Levance Fields leads the nation in assist:turnover ratio (3.92) and ranks second in assists per game (7.5). DeJuan Blair ranks fourth nationally in rebounding (12.8) 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. 16 in field goal percentage (59.9). Sam Young is rated 66th in scoring (18.2).
Following a loss at No. 21 Villanova (Jan. 28), Pitt has bounced back with seven consecutive wins. On Saturday, Pitt defeated DePaul for the second time this season, 80-61. DeJuan Blair set the school record for most rebounds over a two-game stretch with a total of 41 as he scored 20 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in the contest. Pitt registered its first-ever victory over the nation's No. 1 ranked team with a 76-68 win over Connecticut on Monday. Pitt improved to 1-13 all-time vs. No. 1 ranked teams. Blair finished with his second 20-20 performance of the year with 22 points and a career-high 23 rebounds and Sam Young scored a game-high 25 points in the win in Hartford. Levance Fields scored all of his 10 points down the stretch and hit two key 3-pointers to lead Pitt to the win. Pitt also defeated Cincinnati 85-69 on Feb. 14. Levance Fields finished with the fifth double-double of his career (11 points and 13 assists) along with no turnovers as Pitt tied a school record with a 67.4 field goal percentage (31-46) in the win. Sam Young led Pitt with 18 points, DeJuan Blair added 17 points, Jermaine Dixon finished with 14 and Gilbert Brown had 12.
Providence and Pitt meet in Rhode Island for the first time since Feb. 15, 2006. The two schools meet for the 44th time in series history with Pitt holding a 27-16 advantage. Pitt has claimed each of the last eight consecutive meetings including each of the last two games played at PC. Pitt is 8-12 all-time in games played at Providence. Pitt has also won nine of the series' last 10 games.
Providence is enjoying a successful season under first-year head coach Keno Davis. The Friars are 16-11 overall and 8-7 in Big East play. The Friars have only won two of their last seven contests. Providence is led by Weyinmi Efejuku (14.4 ppg.), Marshon Brooks (12.0 ppg.), Sharaud Curry (11.5 ppg.) and Jonathan Kale (10.1 ppg.).
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
At 25-2 and 12-2, Pitt is the only Big East school to win 20 overall games and 10-plus league games in each of the last eight seasons. Dixon is the only Pitt coach in school history to win 20 or more overall games in six straight seasons.
Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon (157-42) is coaching in his 200th career game.
DeJuan Blair became the first player in school history to register two 20-20 performances in the same season. Over the last two games, Blair is averaging 21.0 points and 20.5 rebounds per game. He set Pitt's school record for most rebounds in a two-game stretch with 41.
Pitt is 6-2 in road games and 5-2 in Big East road games this year. Under Jamie Dixon, Pitt is 28-15 all-time in Big East road games.
Pitt has claimed eight straight matchups against Providence.