Feb. 26, 2011
GAME 29: #4 PITT (25-3, 13-2 Big East) at #16 LOUISVILLE (21-7, 10-5 Big East)
Sunday, February 27, 2011 2 p.m. ET
KFC Yum! Center (22,000) Louisville, Ky.
Television: CBS (Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel; Producer: Bob Mansbach).
Radio: Panther Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 122 (Louisville feed).
National Radio Broadcast: Westwood One Radio (Scott Graham and Tom Brennan).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 12th year at Pitt, 8th year as head coach (213-57); Louisville: Rick Pitino, 10th year at UL (241-93), 25th year overall (593-217).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-4; ESPN-6. Louisville: AP-16; ESPN-16.
Series: Pitt and Louisville meet for the 10th time in series history as Pitt holds a 5-4 advantage in the series. Pitt is 5-3 overall and 1-1 vs. UL in Louisville since the Cardinals joined the Big East in 2005-06. Jamie Dixon owns a 5-3 record vs. Louisville.
PITTSBURGH--No. 4/6 ranked and first place Pitt (25-3, 13-2 Big East) travels West to take on No. 16 Louisville (21-7, 10-5 Big East) on Sunday, Feb. 27 at the brand-new KFC Yum! Center. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. ET.
CBS will broadcast the game nationally with Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Jim Spanarkel (color analyst) calling action. Bob Mansbach will handle production.
Already having clinched a double bye, Pitt is attempting to win a league-leading sixth Big East Conference title in the last 10 years and fourth Big East regular season title since 2000. With five combined Big East titles, Pitt and Connecticut are currently tied with the most Big East championships won since 2000 (see chart page 7). With its league-leading 13-2 record, Pitt currently sits atop the Big East Conference with a 2.0-game lead. Notre Dame is in second place with an 11-4 record. Pitt needs one more win combined with a Notre Dame loss or two more wins to capture the regular season title outright and secure the No. 1 seed upon entering the Big East Tournament. Pitt has entered the Big East Tournament as the No. 1 seed only two times in school history: 1988 and 2004.
In the midst of his eighth season as Pitt's head coach, Jamie Dixon needs one more victory to set the all-time NCAA Division I record for most wins after the first eight years of a coaching career (see chart on page 5). He is currently tied for the record with 213 career wins with North Carolina State's Everett Case (213 wins from 1947-54) and Kansas' Roy Williams (213 wins from 1989-96). Dixon has guided Pitt to six consecutive 25-win seasons and 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 11-6.
Pitt is ranked among the nation's top-10 in RPI. It has six wins against top-25 RPI opponents and also owns a 5-2 record vs. top-25 ranked teams. No. 16 Louisville represents Pitt's eighth nationally ranked opponent of the year. Pitt has the opportunity to earn a No. 1 seed upon entering the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in program history (2008-09).
Pitt and Louisville have proved to be the top two winningest programs in the Big East since the Cardinals joined the league in 2005-06. Since 2005-06, Pitt owns a 73-28 league record and .723 winning percentage, while Louisville is 69-33 with a .676 winning percentage. The two schools meet for the 10th time in series history with Pitt holding a 5-4 advantage. Pitt owns a 29-9 overall record vs. Big East schools added in 2005-06: Cincinnati 7-1, DePaul 7-0, Louisville 5-3, Marquette 6-4, USF 4-1.
Winners of 15 of its last 17 overall games and 16 of its last 18 Big East regular season contests, No. 4 Pitt enters the game following a 71-58 home win against West Virginia on Thursday. The Panthers used 65.2 percent shooting in the second half to outscore the Mountaineers 41-27 en route to a second win over West Virginia. Pitt swept WVU in the annual two-game series for the third time in the last five years. Nasir Robinson led Pitt with 15 points, while Gilbert Brown, Brad Wanamaker and Lamar Patterson all scored 11 points in the victory. Pitt has won six of its last seven games, the only loss coming on the road at St. John's, a 60-59 loss 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.
A win on Sunday would give Pitt its 14th Big East victory of the year. The school record for most Big East regular season victories is 15 set in 2008-09. Pitt has won 13 or more Big East regular season games 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 13-2 start in Big East regular season play marks its best-ever start to league play. A win at Louisville would give Pitt its first-ever 14-2 Big East regular season start. This year, 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.
With one road loss, Pitt is one of only a few teams nationally with one road loss. After recently concluding a seven-game road win streak which ranks as the second longest of its kind in school history, Pitt has won 19 of its last 26 road games. Over the last 10 seasons (2001-11), Pitt owns the Big East's best road winning percentage with a 51-31 record. Pitt's school-best road win streak was 11 consecutive wins in 1927-28. Pitt is 6-1 on the road this year. The six wins tie a school record for most Big East road wins in a season. Pitt's best record in Big East play is 6-2 in five different seasons. With two more road games left on the schedule, Pitt has never won seven Big East road games in a season.
SUNDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
With a 2.0-game first place lead, Pitt (13-2) is off to its best start to a Big East regular season. Jamie Dixon has guided Pitt to 25 or more wins in each of the last six years.
Pitt (73-28, .723) and Louisville (69-33, .676) are the Big East's top two winningest programs since UL joined the BEC in 2005-06.
A win on Sunday at Louisville would give Jamie Dixon the all-time NCAA Division record for most wins after eight seasons as a head coach. It would be his 214th win.
At 6-1 on the road, Pitt has the fewest road losses in the nation. A win over Louisville would give Pitt a program record seven league road wins. Winners of seven of their last eight road games, the Panthers have won 19 of their last 26 games away from home. Over the last 10 years, Pitt owns the Big East's best road record with a 51-31 combined slate.
Over the last 10 seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning pct. (270-68, .799), league winning pct. (122-43, .739), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (9) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (10).