March 1, 2011
GAME 30: #4 PITT (25-4, 13-3 Big East) at USF (9-20, 3-13 Big East)
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 9 p.m. ET
Sun Dome (10,411) Tampa, Fla.
Television: ESPN-U (Dan McLaughlin and Kara Lawson; Producer: Major Howe).
Radio: Panther Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 158 (USF feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 12th year at Pitt, 8th year as head coach (213-58); USF: Stan Heath, 4th year at USF (50-74), 10th year overall (162-151).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-4; ESPN-6. USF: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.
Series: Pitt and USF meet for the second time this season and eighth time in series history. Pitt holds a 4-3 all-time advantage. Pitt claimed a 67-55 win over the Bulls on Feb. 16 at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt has won four of the last five matchups. In the series' last meeting at the Sun Dome, USF claimed a 70-61 win over Pitt.
TAMPA, Fla.--No. 4/5 ranked and first place Pitt (25-4, 13-3 Big East) travels south to take on USF (9-20, 3-13 Big East) on Wednesday, March 2 at the Sun Dome. Tipoff is slated for 9 p.m. ET.
ESPN-U will broadcast the game nationally with Dan McLaughlin (play-by-play) and Kara Lawson (color analyst) calling action. Major Howe 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 13-3 record, Pitt currently sits atop the Big East Conference with half-game lead. Notre Dame is in second place with an 13-4 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 5-4, 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 at No. 7. It has six wins against top-25 RPI opponents and also owns a 5-3 record vs. top-25 ranked teams. 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 USF meet for the second time this season. The Panthers claimed a 67-55 victory over the Bulls on Feb. 16 at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is 4-3 all-time vs. USF after having won four of the series' last five games. The last time the two schools met in Tampa, USF defeated Pitt 70-61.
Winners of 15 of its last 18 overall games and 16 of its last 19 Big East regular season contests, No. 4 Pitt enters the game following a 62-59 overtime loss at No. 16 Louisville. The Panthers overcame 32 percent shooting and 22 first half points and a nine-point halftime deficit to battle back in the second half. Pitt was outscored 6-3 in overtime as Louisville claimed the home win. Gilbert Brown scored a game-high 20 points, Brad Wanamaker finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and six assists and Ashton Gibbs finished with 14 points. It was Pitt's second road loss of the year. Pitt also won 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.
A win on Wednesday 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.
While 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 27 road games. Over the last 10 seasons (2001-11), Pitt owns the Big East's best road winning percentage with a 51-32 record. Pitt's school-best road win streak was 11 consecutive wins in 1927-28. Pitt is 6-2 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. A win at South Florida would give Pitt a school-record seven Big East road victories.
WEDNESDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
With a half-game first place lead, Pitt (13-3) has an opportunity to tie a school record for best league record and most league wins (15-3 in 2008-09). Jamie Dixon has guided Pitt to 25 or more wins in each of the last six years.
A win on Wednesday at USF would give Dixon the all-time NCAA Division I record for most wins after eight seasons as a head coach. It would be his 214th win.
A win over USF would give Pitt a program record seven league road wins. Pitt is 6-2 on the road this year. Winners of seven of their last nine road games, the Panthers have won 19 of their last 27 games away from home. Over the last 10 years, Pitt owns the Big East's best road record with a 51-32 combined slate.
Over the last 10 seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning pct. (270-69, .796), league winning pct. (122-44, .739), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (9) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (10).
COURTSIDE: Pitt Goes Retro in Win Over No. 17 FSU
Pittsburgh upsets No. 17 Florida State 80-66
GAME NOTES: Panthers Host No. 17 Florida State Saturday
Pitt Falls to Virginia Tech 66-63
GAME NOTES: Pitt Seeks Third Straight Win Tuesday Evening
COURTSIDE: Panthers Top Syracuse for Sixth Time in Seven Games