March 5, 2011
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--No. 1 seed Pitt (27-4, 15-3 Big East) travels to New York City and Madison Square Garden to compete in its 29th all-time Big East Championship. The No. 1 seeded Panthers receive a two-day bye and will open tournament play on Thursday, March 10 in the Noon ET Quarterfinal matchup against one of three teams: No. 8 seed Georgetown, No. 9 seed Connecticut or No. 16 seed DePaul. The contest will be nationally televised live on ESPN.
Should Pitt win Thursday's Quarterfinal Round contest, it would advance to the Semifinal Round matchup set for Friday, March 11 at 7 p.m. With a win, Pitt would advance to the Championship Final set for Saturday, March 12 at 9 p.m. Both of those games will be nationally televised on ESPN.
With Saturday's 60-50 home win against Villanova, Pitt earned its sixth all-time Big East regular season title, third league outright title (1987-88, 2003-04 and 2010-11) and the league's No. 1 seed. Since the 2000-01 season, Pitt has claimed a league-leading six total Big East championships (four regular season titles--2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2010-11 and two tournament titles--2003, 2008).
No. 4/5 ranked Pitt will enter the Big East Tournament after winning eight of its last 10 games. At 15-3, Pitt tied a school record for most league wins (15) and best league winning percentage (.833). The Panthers finished with 10-plus Big East regular season wins for a school-record 10th straight season. Pitt also reached the 20-win mark for a school-record 10th straight season. Pitt is the only Big East program to win both 20 overall and 10 Big East games in each of the last 10 years. Pitt, Kansas and Gonzaga are the only three schools nationally to win 20 overall and 10 league games and advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last nine seasons.
Pitt, which ranks among the nation's top-5 in overall winning percentage (272-69) and owns the Big East's best regular season record (124-44) over the last 10 years, will appear in its 10th straight NCAA Tournament when the brackets are released on the CBS Selection Show on Sunday, March 13 at 6 p.m. on CBS.
Pitt has appeared in seven of the last 10 Big East Championship Finals and has captured two tournament titles in both 2003 and 2008. Pitt is 19-9 in Big East Championship games since 2000-01. Named Madison Square Garden's "Team of the Decade," Pitt has claimed 14 of its last 20 games at MSG and owns a 26-12 record at MSG since 2000-01.
PITT'S 2011 BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES
*Pitt enters the Big East Championship as the No. 1 seed. Pitt has entered the tourney as the No. 1 seed two different times (1988 and 2004). Pitt was also the No. 1-West seed in 2002.
*Pitt begins its quest for an eighth Big East Championship title game appearance in school history as it enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed. Pitt won the Big East regular season with a 15-3 record and registered its 10th straight 10-plus win regular season in the Big East. With its 27 overall wins, the Panthers also won 20-plus games for a school record 10th straight season and 18th time in school history. Pitt is the only Big East program to surpass both 20 overall wins and 10 Big East wins in each of the last 10 seasons.
*Pitt has appeared in seven of the last 10 Big East Championship Finals (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008). Previously, only one school in Big East history matched that run: Syracuse (7 of 8 from 1986-93). It has appeared in three of the last five Big East Championship Finals (2006, 2007 and 2008) and appeared in four consecutive title games from 2001-04.
*Pitt is one of three programs to capture at least two Big East Championship titles since 2000-01: Pitt-2, Connecticut-2 and Syracuse-2.
*Pitt has won 19 of its last 28 Big East Championship games dating back to the 1999-00 season. The 19 wins rank as the most victories during that time period: Pitt-19, Syracuse-14, Georgetown-13, Connecticut-9, Villanova-9.
*Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon enters his eighth Big East Championship with an 11-6 tournament record. In 2008, he guided Pitt to its second all-time Big East Tournament title and its seventh Big East Championship Finals appearance in school history.
*In 29 years since joining the Big East Conference, Pitt has won the title two times (2003 and 2008) and advanced to the title game in seven tournaments (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008). It defeated UConn, 74-56, in the 2003 title game and Georgetown, 74-65, in 2008-09. Pitt has advanced to three of the last five title games.
*Madison Square Garden is Pitt's home away from home. Pitt is 26-12 at Madison Square Garden since the 2001-02 season.
*Pitt features six players and two staff members who are New York City area natives. The student-athletes include Ashton Gibbs (Scotch Plains, N.J.), Dante Taylor (Greenburgh, N.Y), J.J. Moore (Brentwood, Long Island), Isaiah Epps (Plainfield, N.J.) and Travon Woodall (Brooklyn), along with Assistant Coach Brandin Knight (East Orange, N.J.).
2011 BIG EAST MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
(all games are played at New York's Madison Square Garden)
Tuesday, March 8 - First Round
No. 9 Connecticut vs. No. 16 DePaul, Noon, ESPN2
No. 12 Seton Hall vs. No. 13 Rutgers, 2 p.m., ESPN2
No. 10 Villanova vs. No. 15 USF, 7 p.m., ESPN-U
No. 11 Marquette vs. No. 14 Providence, 9 p.m., ESPN-U
Wednesday, March 9 - Second Round
No. 8 Georgetown vs. Connecticut/DePaul winner, Noon, ESPN
No. 5 St. John's vs. Seton Hall/Rutgers winner, 2 p.m., ESPN
No. 7 Cincinnati vs. Villanova/USF winner, 7 p.m., ESPN
No. 6 West Virginia vs. Marquette/Providence winner, 9 p.m., ESPN
Thursday, March 10 - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Pitt vs. 8/9/16 winner, Noon, ESPN
No. 4 Syracuse vs. 5/12/13 winner, 2 p.m., ESPN
No. 2 Notre Dame vs. 7/10/15 winner, 7 p.m., ESPN
No. 3 Louisville vs. 6/11/14 winner, 9 p.m., ESPN
Friday, March 11 - Semifinals
Thursday afternoon winners, 7 p.m., ESPN
Thursday evening winners, 9 p.m., ESPN
Saturday, March 12 - Big East Championship
Semifinal winners 9 p.m., ESPN
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