March 4, 2011
GAME 30: #19 VILLANOVA (21-9, 9-8 Big East) at #4 PITT (26-4, 13-3 Big East)
Saturday, March 5, 2011 4 p.m. ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: CBS Sports (Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery; Producer: Mark Wolff).
Radio: Panther Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 122 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 12th year at Pitt, 8th year as head coach (214-58); Villanova: Jay Wright, 10th year at Villanova (224-108), 17th year overall (346-193).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-4; ESPN-5. Villanova: AP-19; ESPN-19.
Series: Pitt and Villanova meet for the second time this season and 62nd matchup in series history with Villanova holding a 32-29 advantage. Pitt has won seven consecutive home games against Villanova since the 1996-97 season and is 3-0 vs. VU at the Petersen Events Center. In home games vs. Villanova, Pitt owns a 20-5 all-time record.
PITTSBURGH--No. 4/5 ranked and first place Pitt (26-4, 14-3 Big East) closes out the 2010-11 Big East regular season when it hosts No. 19 Villanova (21-8, 9-8 Big East) on Saturday, March 5 at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 4 p.m. ET.
CBS Sports will broadcast the game nationally with Verne Lundquist (play-by-play) and Bill Raftery (color analyst) calling action. Mark Wolff will handle production.
Already having clinched a share of the Big East regular season title and a double bye upon entering the Big East Tournament, Pitt is attempting to win the league title outright and earn a No. 1 seed. Pitt has now captured a league-leading sixth Big East Conference title in the last 10 years and fourth Big East regular season title since 2000. With six combined Big East titles, Pitt leads the league in most Big East championships won since 2000 (see chart page 4). With its league-leading 14-3 record, Pitt currently sits atop the Big East Conference with 1.0-game lead. Notre Dame is in second place with a 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 has already 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 now has 214 career wins and surpassed both North Carolina State's Everett Case (213 wins from 1947-54) and Kansas' Roy Williams (213 wins from 1989-96) for the record. 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 5-1, 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 Villanova meet for the 62nd time in series history. Villanova owns a 32-29 advantage in the series even though Pitt has claimed 20 of the 25 home games. Pitt has won each of the last seven consecutive games in Pittsburgh including a 3-0 record vs. the Wildcats in the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt and Villanova meet for the fifth consecutive game when both teams are nationally ranked. Pitt owns a 14-5 record vs. nationally ranked opponents at the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers are also 9-0 vs. top-5 ranked opponents at the PEC and are 6-2 on Senior Day.
Winners of 16 of its last 19 overall games and 16 of its last 19 Big East regular season contests, No. 4 Pitt enters the game following a 66-50 win at South Florida. Pitt clinched a share of the Big East regular season championship after taking advantage of a 12-0 run and 60.7 percent (17-28) second half shooting. Nasir Robinson finished with a double-double (18 points/10 rebounds), Ashton Gibbs scored 16 points and Gilbert Brown 10 for the victorious Panthers. Pitt dropped a 62-59 overtime loss at No. 16 Louisville on Feb. 28. 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 Saturday would give Pitt its 15th 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 14 or more Big East regular season games in only one previous years: 2008-09. 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.
At home, Pitt has won 23 of its last 24 games, won 26 of its last 28 games against Big East regular season opponents, 54 of its last 56 games, recently completed a 20-game home win streak and is 16-1 this year. The 20-game win streak ranks as the fourth longest streak of its kind in school history. Pitt concluded last season with an 18-1 home record and ended a 31-game home win streak. It is 64-11 vs. Big East opponents at the Petersen Events Center. In addition, Pitt owns a 55-game win streak against non-conference opponents at home. Pitt also owns an 84-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center and has claimed 105 of its last 106 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.
Pitt is in its ninth season in the Petersen Events Center with a 148-12 all-time record and .925 winning percentage. The .925 winning percentage ranks among the nation's best homecourt records over the last nine years (see chart page 8). Pitt has won 69 of its last 80 Big East home games. Only two opponents (Louisville and Georgetown) have defeated the Panthers two times in the Petersen Events Center. Pitt has lost two consecutive games only two times in the history of the Petersen Events Center.
SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt needs a win over Villanova to capture the Big East regular season title outright. Pitt holds a 1.0 game lead. Pitt clinched a share of the Big East title with a win over USF on Wednesday. A win will also give Pitt a 15-3 league record, tying its school record for most league wins set in 2008-09.
Saturday marks Senior Day for Pitt's four seniors: Gilbert Brown, Gary McGhee, Nick Rivers and Brad Wanamaker. The foursome will conclude its career ranked among the all-time most successful classes.
Pitt is in its ninth season at the Petersen Events Center and carries a 148-12 record (.925 winning percentage) in the arena. Pitt owns a 64-11 record vs. Big East opponents at the PEC. Pitt has won 23 of its last 24 home games, is 16-1 at home this year and has won 54 of its last 56 home games. In addition, Pitt has won 26 of its last 28 home games vs. Big East opponents.
Over the last 10 seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning pct. (271-69, .797), league winning pct. (123-44, .737), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (9) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (10).