March 1, 2013
GAME 30: VILLANOVA (18-11, 9-7 Big East) at #23 PITT (22-7, 10-6 Big East)
Senior Day Sunday, March 3, 2013 Noon ET Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN Regional/Root Sports (Kevin Connors and John Celestand; Producer: Bill Shissler).
Big East Network Television Affiliates: New York (MSG), Philadelphia (WPHL), Washington, D.C. (MASN), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota, Fla. (Brighthouse), Denver, Colo. (Altitude), Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla. (Brighthouse-O), Pittsburgh (ROOT), Baltimore (MASN), Milwaukee, Wis. (TW-WI), New Orleans, La. (Cox-NO), Providence-New Bedford, R.I. (Cox-NE), Green Bay-Appleton, Wis. (TW-WI2).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-91 (Pitt feed), XM-91 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 14th year at Pitt, 10th year as head coach (260-84); Villanova: Jay Wright, 12th year at VU (254-141), 19th year overall (377-226).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-23; USA Today-ARV; Villanova: AP-NR; USA Today-NR.
Series: Pitt and Villanova meet for the second time this season, 65th time overall and final time in Big East regular season play. The series is tied at 32-32. Pitt has claimed each of the last five meetings and seven of the last 10. Pitt is also a perfect 5-0 vs. Villanova at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt defeated the Wildcats 58-43 at the Pavilion on January 16, 2013.
PITTSBURGH--After claiming nine of its last 12 games, No. 23 ranked Pitt (22-7, 10-6 Big East) hosts Villanova (18-11, 9-7 Big East) for a Sunday, March 3 matchup. Tipoff is at noon ET.
The contest will be regionally televised by ESPN Regional and aired locally in Pittsburgh on ROOT Sports. Kevin Connors and John Celestand will make the call, while Bill Shissler will handle production.
Two regular season games remain for Pitt before postseason play begins: Villanova (March 3) and at DePaul (March 9). Pitt has already defeated both Villanova and DePaul earlier this year. At 10-6, Pitt is in sixth place in the Big East. The Panthers have a chance at a two-day bye upon entering the Big East Tournament (March 12-16). Georgetown is in first place with a 12-3 record, followed by second place Louisville (11-4), third place Marquette (11-4), Syracuse and Notre Dame (both tied for fourth at 10-5), sixth place Pitt (10-6) and Connecticut (9-6). Connecticut will not compete in the Big East Tournament.
Sunday marks the final Big East regular season game, the final BEC home game and Senior Day for Pitt's two seniors: Dante Taylor and Tray Woodall. Both will be honored in a pre-game ceremony at approximately 11:45 a.m.
Wednesday's 64-44 home win over South Florida gave Pitt its 10th Big East victory of the season. Pitt has now won 10 or more league games for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons, the only Big East Conference program to achieve that honor.
Pitt has won nine of its last 12 games and 10 of its last 14 contests. Pitt has already won more overall games (22) and twice as many Big East Conference games (10) than it did last season when injuries derailed its 2011-12 regular season with a 16-15 record and 5-13 league slate. See page 6 chart for a listing of Pitt's best Big East turnarounds. In addition, Pitt has also won 20-plus overall games for the 12th consecutive season. Pitt's 22 victories rank as the 14th-most wins in school history. Pitt is the only Big East program to have won 20 overall games and 10 league games in 11 of the last 12 seasons. Pitt has made its case for national comeback team of the year.
Pitt is on a two-game win streak following a 20-point Wednesday win over South Florida (64-44) and a 63-47 win against St. John's at Madison Square Garden. A 16-0 second half run gave Pitt control against South Florida. Pitt turned a 30-28 deficit into a 14-point lead (44-30) with 9:45 left in the game. Pitt's two seniors- Dante Taylor and Tray Woodall led the Panthers. Taylor finished with his first double-double of the year with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Woodall led the Panthers with 14 points (4-5 FG).
Pitt's defense is one of the nation's best. The Panthers are allowing just 54.6 points per game on the year (6th-best in the nation), a mark that would surpass the current scoring defense school record of 56.4 points allowed per game set in 2003-04. On the year, Pitt has also held 12 opponents to 50 points or less, 19 of its 29 opponents under 60 points and 26 of 29 opponents under 70 points.
Pitt and Villanova meet for the second time this season. The Panthers defeated the Wildcats, 58-43, on Jan. 16, 2013 at the Pavilion. Jay Wright's Wildcats are led by JayVaughan Pinkston (12.7 ppg./4.8 rpg.), Ryan Arcidiancono (11.8 ppg., 61 3FGM) and Darrun Hilliard (11.6 ppg./36 3FGM), Mouphtaou Yarou (9.3 ppg./7.6 rpg.) and James Bell (9.0 ppg./50 3FGM). Pitt has claimed each of the last five matchups against the Wildcats.
Pitt has won 20 of its last 23 home games. It recently completed a 15-game home win streak, which ties for the seventh longest of its kind in school history. Pitt owns a 74-19 all-time record vs. Big East Conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is also 101-3 vs. non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt has also won 122 of its last 126 home games against regular season non-conference opponents. Since the Petersen Events Center opened in 2002, Pitt owns a 49-1 record in November non-conference home games and has a 48-1 record in December non-conference matchups.
SUNDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
With two regular season games remaining, Pitt (10-6) is vying for seeding for the upcoming Big East Tournament.
Pitt has won 10 Big East games for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons, the only Big East program to achieve that honor.
No. 23 Pitt has won nine of its last 12 and 10 of its last 14 contests.
Pitt is in its 11th season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 179-22 overall record (.891) in the arena. Pitt is also 74-19 all-time vs. Big East opponents at the PEC. The Panthers have won 85 of their last 97 home games and 36 of their last 46 Big East Conference home games.
Over the last 12 years, Pitt has been the Big East Conference's leader in overall winning percentage (317-94, .771), league winning percentage (139-63, .688), Big East Championships (six), Big East Tournament wins (20) and NCAA Tournament appearances (10).