Feb. 27, 2009
GAME 29: #1 PITT (25-3, 12-3 Big East) at SETON HALL (15-12, 6-9 Big East)
Saturday, February 28, 2009 8:30 p.m. ET Prudential Center (9,800) Newark, N.J.
Television: ESPN Regional/FSN Pittsburgh/ESPN-360 (Dave Sims and John Celestand; Producer: Darren Chiappetta).Television Clearance List: New York (SportsnetNY), Pittsburgh (FSN-Pittsburgh), ESPN Full Court; Tape Delay: Cleveland, Ohio (FSN-Ohio), Washington, D.C.-Baltimore (MASN), Providence, R.I. (Cox-New England).
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Channel 130 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 10th year at Pitt, 6th year as head coach (157-43); Seton Hall: Bobby Gonzalez, 3rd year at SHU (45-43), 10th year overall (174-120).
Rankings: Pitt: 1-AP, 1-ESPN; Seton Hall: unranked.
Series: Pitt and Seton Hall meet for the 48th time in school history. Pitt holds a 28-19 advantage in the series and has claimed eight of the series' last 11 games. In games played at Seton Hall, Pitt is 10-11. Pitt is 26-18 vs. Seton Hall in Big East games.
NEWARK, N.J.--No. 1 ranked Pitt (25-3, 12-3 Big East) travels to Newark, N.J. to take on Seton Hall (15-12, 6-9 Big East) Saturday night at the Prudential Center. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET. Pitt has three more Big East regular season games remaining.
The Pitt-Seton Hall contest will be broadcast on ESPN Regional and on FSN Pittsburgh locally with Dave Sims and John Celestand calling action. Darren Chiappetta 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.
Despite Tuesday's loss at Providence, Pitt again 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 is No. 1 at .6706, North Carolina is No. 2 (.6627), Duke is No. 3 at .6625 and Oklahoma is No. 4 at .6570.
Pitt's 25-3 record ties for the school's all-time best record after 28 games played. Pitt also began 25-3 in Jamie Dixon's first year in 2003-04. Pitt was 24-4 in both 2002-03 and 2006-07, 23-5 in both 1986-87 and 1987-88, 22-6 in 2005-06 and 20-8 in 2007-08. A sidenote: Pitt finished an undefeated 21-0 en route to the mythical national title in 1927-28.
Through its first 28 games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-15.1 margin and outrebounded its opponents by a plus-10.4 margin. The Panthers are also converting 48.1 percent (824-1713) of their field goal attempts and limiting opponents to 40.8 percent shooting. Pitt has also held 24 of its 28 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. 22, 2009). As a team, Pitt ranks first nationally in rebound margin (10.6), ranks second in assist:turnover ratio (1.57), third in both assists per game (18.1) and winning percentage (92.6) and fourth in scoring margin (16.0). The Panthers also ranked 12th in turnovers per game (11.5) and 21st in field goal percentage (48.1).
Several Pitt players are also ranked among national leaders in various statistical categories (as of Feb. 22, 2009). Levance Fields leads the nation in assist:turnover ratio (4.04) and ranks third in assists per game (7.5). DeJuan Blair ranks third nationally in rebounding (13.0) and leads the nation in offensive rebounds with 5.9 orpg according to StatsLLC (Note: the NCAA does not rank top offensive rebounders). He is also ranked No. 19 in field goal percentage (59.5). Sam Young is rated 66th in scoring (18.1).
No. 1 Pitt enters the game after having won seven of its last eight games. Pitt's recent six-game win streak in league play ranked among the school's top-5 win streaks in Big East play. Pitt ascended to the nation's No. 1 spot for the second time in school history. The Panthers are 2-2 as the nation's No. 1 team.
It dropped an 81-73 contest at Providence on Tuesday night. Pitt battled back from a 20-point deficit but could not close the gap in the loss. Providence shot 49.1 percent from the floor and hit 22-29 free throws to claim in the win. 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 plays its third game this year at the Prudential Center. The Panthers defeated both Texas Tech (80-67) and Washington State (57-43) to claim the Legends Classic title in Newark on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29. Combining its last 37 games played in the New Jersey-New York region, Pitt is 28-9 since 2000. Pitt has also won 11 of its last 12 games played in the New Jersey-New York region.
Seton Hall and Pitt meet for the 48th time in series history. Pitt owns a 28-19 advantage in the series which began in 1956. Pitt has won eight of the last 11 games in the series. Pitt is 10-11 vs. Seton Hall in games played in New Jersey.
Seton Hall (15-12, 6-9 Big East) is led by Jeremy Hazell (22.6 ppg.), Robert Mitchell (14.4 ppg.) and Eugene Harvey (12.3 ppg.). The Pirates enter the game after winning just one of their last four contests.
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt makes its second trip to the Prudential Center this year. It won the Legends Classic in the PC on Nov. 28-29. Since the year 2000, Pitt is 28-9 overall and has won 11 of its last 12 games played in the New Jersey-New York region.
Pitt is undefeated this year after losing a game. In games played after a loss, Jamie Dixon owns a 28-9 all-time record.
Pitt is 6-3 in road games and 5-3 in Big East road games this year. Under Jamie Dixon, Pitt is 28-16 all-time in Big East road games.
Pitt is 2-2 this year as the nation's No. 1 ranked team. Pitt ascended to the No. 1 ranking for the second stint this year.
At 25-3 and 12-3, 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.