March 3, 2010
GAME 30: PROVIDENCE (12-16, 4-12 Big East) at #17 PITT (22-7, 11-5 Big East)
Wednesday, March 4, 2010 9 p.m. ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN2 (John Saunders and Mike Kelley; Producer: Eric Mosley).
Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970-AM (WBGG). Satellite Radio: Sirius-122 (Pitt feed); XM-143 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 11th year at Pitt, 7th year as head coach (185-52); Providence: Keno Davis, 2nd year at PC (31-30), 3rd year overall (59-35).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-17; ESPN-18; Providence: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.
Series: Pitt and Providence meet for the 45th time in series history with Pitt owning a 27-17 advantage. Pitt has claimed eight of the series' last nine matchups and has won five straight home games vs. the Friars. Pitt is 5-0 vs. Providence at the Petersen Events Center.
PITTSBURGH--No. 17 Pitt (22-7, 11-5 Big East) plays the first of its final two regular season games on Thursday, March 4 against Providence (12-16, 4-12 Big East). Tipoff is at 9 p.m. ET at the Petersen Events Center.
The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with John Saunders (play-by-play) and Mike Kelley (color analyst) calling action. Eric Mosley will handle production.
Pitt needs one more victory to secure a two-day bye upon entering the Big East Tournament which begins on Tuesday, March 9. With two Big East regular season games remaining, Pitt enters its contest against Providence in fourth place, a half-game behind third place West Virginia (12-5). Syracuse leads the league with a 15-2 record and will be the No. 1 seed upon entering the Big East Tournament. Villanova is second at 13-4. Marquette is fifth with at 11-6 and Louisville is sixth at 10-7. Pitt holds head-to-head tiebreakers against Villanova, West Virginia (because of its win at Syracuse), Marquette and Louisville. Pitt can finish anywhere between the No. 2 seed or No. 5 seed.
Ranked in the top-10 in the RPI (as of March 2, 2010), Pitt is the nation's only college basketball program with three wins over top-5 nationally ranked teams: No. 5 Syracuse, No. 5 West Virginia and No. 3 Villanova.
For a Big East leading ninth consecutive season, Pitt has won 20 or more overall games and claimed 10 or more league wins. Pitt is the only school to achieve that honor in the Big East in each of the last nine seasons. Pitt won its 20th game on Feb. 18 at Marquette and picked up its 10th league win on Feb. 21 vs. Villanova. Prior to this stretch, the most consecutive 20-win seasons for Pitt Basketball was two in both 1986-87 and 1987-88. The 2009-10 season marks the program's 17th all-time 20-win season in 103 years of Pitt Basketball. Jamie Dixon also became the first head coach in school history to win 20 or more games in seven consecutive seasons.
After winning six of its past seven games, Pitt enters the matchup after winning 15 of its last 20 games and 19 of its last 25 contests. Pitt recently completed a key four-game stretch in which the Panthers played four opponents who compiled a 77-28 combined record up to this point. It won three of those four games, defeating No. 5 West Virginia, W-3OT 98-95, at Marquette, 58-51 and vs. No. 3 Villanova 70-65. Pitt dropped a 70-65 loss at Notre Dame on Feb. 24. Earlier this year, Pitt completed one of its most difficult schedule stretches in years. For the first time since it joined the Big East Conference in 1982, Pitt won three consecutive back-to-back-to-back road games at No. 5 Syracuse (87-72), at Cincinnati (74-71) and at No. 16 Connecticut (67-57). It defeated Louisville 82-77 in overtime on Jan. 13 and concluded the stretch with a 74-66 home loss to Georgetown, which snapped the Panthers' 31-game home win streak.
Pitt won its 22nd game of the year with a 71-64 win at St. John's. Using its depth, the Panthers built an early 10-point lead in the first half and maintained it throughout of the second half. Three Panthers reached double figure scoring including Nasir Robinson (13 points including nine in the first half), Ashton Gibbs (12 points) and Gilbert Brown (13 points).
Providence enters the game with a 12-16 overall and 4-12 Big East record. The Friars have lost eight games in a row. Coached by Keno Davis, the Friars are led by Jamine Peterson (19.3 ppg., 9.9 rpg.), Sharaud Curry (15.5 ppg.), Marshon Brooks (14.4 ppg.) and Vincent Council (9.8 ppg.). Pitt has claimed eight of the series' last nine games and has won five straight matchups in Pittsburgh. Pitt also owns a 5-0 record vs. Providence in the Petersen Events Center.
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Winners of six of its last seven games, Pitt is the only Big East school to win 20 overall and 10 league games in each of the last nine years. Pitt is one of only four programs nationally to win 20+ overall games, 10+ league games and advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last nine seasons (Arizona, Gonzaga, Kansas and Pitt).
Pitt is in its eighth season in the Petersen Events Center, carries a 130-11 overall record (.922 winning percentage) and is 55-10 all-time vs. Big East opponents in the arena. Pitt is 15-1 at home this season.
Pitt has won 36 of its last 37 home games. Pitt recently completed a 31-game home win streak, which ranks as the second longest in school history and second longest in Petersen Events Center history.
With 185 career wins, National and Big East Coach of the Year candidate Jamie Dixon ranks in third place on the all-time NCAA Division I wins list after seven seasons as a head coach. The record is 188 wins.