Feb. 28, 2014
GAME 29: PITT (21-7, 9-6 ACC) at NOTRE DAME (15-14, 6-10 ACC)
Saturday, March 1, 2014 2 p.m. ET
Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149) South Bend, Ind.
Television: ESPN2 (Dave O'Brien and Doris Burke; Producer: Matthew Bartley).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-Channel 135 (ND feed), XM-Channel 194 (ND feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 15th year at Pitt, 11th year as head coach (283-93); Notre Dame: Mike Brey, 14th year at ND (300-156); 19th year overall (399-208).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-NR; USA Today-ARV; Notre Dame: AP-NR; USA Today-NR.
Series: Pitt and Notre Dame meet for the first time as ACC members. The two schools meet for the 59th game in series history with Notre Dame holding a 31-27 advantage. Notre Dame has claimed each of the last five consecutive matchups and has won three straight against Pitt at Purcell Pavilion. Prior to that run, Pitt won six of the seven matchups. The last time Pitt won at Purcell Pavilion was on March 5, 2005, an 85-77 win. Overall, Pitt is 9-18 in South Bend.
SOUTH BEND, Ind.--Pitt (21-7, 9-6 ACC) plays its second consecutive road game when it travels to South Bend, Ind. to play former Big East Conference foe Notre Dame (15-14, 6-10 ACC) in a Saturday, March 1 contest at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. ET.
The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Doris Burke (color analysis) making the call. Matthew Bartley will handle production.
At 9-6 in Atlantic Coast Conference competition, Pitt enters the game in fifth place in the league standings. Three regular season games remain for Pitt, including one home contest (North Carolina State on Monday, March 3) and two road games at Notre Dame (March 1) and Clemson (March 8).
Pitt has won 20 or more games for the 13th consecutive season. Pitt has won its 20 games by an average margin of 11.1 points per game. Sixteen of Pitt's 21 wins have come by nine or more points and 12 of its 21 are by 17 points or more. Pitt's seven losses are by a combined 35 points (5.0 points per game). Three have come on last second plays. In five of the seven losses, Pitt held leads deep into the games.
Offensively, the Panthers are averaging 72.0 points per game, converting 45.9 percent (692-1506) of field goals, 35.0 percent (138-394) of 3-point field goals and a solid 71.5 percent (495-692) of free throw attempts. Pitt is also outrebounding its opponents by a sizable plus-6.6 margin. Defensively, Pitt is holding its opponents to 60.7 points per game and yielding a 40.5 (591-1459) field goal percentage. Twenty-two of Pitt's 28 opponents have been held to 70 points or less and 16 have been limited to 60 points or less.
In each of Pitt's last seven games, each game has been decided by six points or less, two went into double OT or overtime and two were decided on game-winning shots at the buzzer. Defense has been the key over their last seven games as the Panthers have held each of their four opponents to an average of 60.7 points per game and 40.3 (139-345) shooting from the floor.
Pitt is coming off a 66-59 victory at Boston College on Wednesday evening at Conte Forum. The Panthers used an early 12-0 run to build a 23-11 lead with 11:13 to go in the first half. Pitt, which eventually led by 14 points in the second half, held off Boston College the rest of the way to register its 21st win of the season. Talib Zanna led the way for Pitt with 21 points on 7-10 field goal shooting and 7-8 free throw shooting. Zanna also became the 43rd player in school history to surpass the 1,000-point mark for a career. Lamar Patterson finished with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists and Cameron Wright added 14 points for Pitt, which won its 11th in its last 12 meetings against Boston College.
Pitt plays former Big East Conference rival Notre Dame for the first time in ACC regular season play. Notre Dame has won each of the last five meetings between the two schools, along with each of the last three at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The Fighting Irish are led by Garrick Sherman (13.8 ppg./7.4 rpg.), Eric Atkins (13.6 ppg./4.6 apg.) and Pat Connaughton (13.3 ppg./7.1 rpg.). Notre Dame has hit 204 3-pointers on the year (7.0 per game).
SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
A win on Saturday would give Pitt 20 overall wins and 10 league wins for the 12th time in the last 13 years.
Pitt plays its eighth road game of the 2013-14 season. Pitt is 5-2 on the road this year. Traditionally a successful road team, Pitt has claimed seven of its last nine road games and 11 of its last 15 on the road.
Three regular season games remain for Pitt, including one at home (NC State) and two on the road (UND and Clemson).
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon owns a 20-4 career record vs. previous ACC teams and a 36-16 overall record vs. current ACC teams (including Syracuse and Notre Dame).
When comparing ACC basketball programs over the last 13 years, Pitt ranks second among league programs in overall winning percentage (340-103, .767), league winning percentage (150-69, .685), homecourt winning percentage (.881) and NCAA Tournament appearances (11).