March 6, 2010
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--No. 2 seeded Pitt (24-7, 13-5 Big East) travels to New York City and Madison Square Garden to compete in its 28th all-time Big East Championship. The No. 2 seeded Panthers receive a two-day bye and will open tournament play on Thursday, March 11 in the 7 p.m. ET Quarterfinal matchup against one of three teams: No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 10 Seton Hall or No. 15 Providence. 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 12 at 9 p.m. With a win, Pitt would advance to the Championship Final set for Saturday, March 13 at 9 p.m. Both of those games will be nationally televised on ESPN.
With Saturday's 83-54 win against Rutgers, Pitt earned the league's No. 2 seed. Three teams--Pitt, West Virginia and Villanova--ended the regular season tied for second place with identical 13-5 records. Under the Big East Conference tiebreaker rule, the seeding order is decided by best record in a three-way mini-conference between the teams as 2-Pitt went 2-1, 3-WVU 2-2 and 4-Villanova 1-2.
No. 17/18 ranked Pitt will enter the Big East Tournament after winning eight of its last nine games. At 13-5, Pitt finished with 10-plus Big East regular season wins for a school-record ninth straight season. Pitt also reached the 20-win mark for a school-record eighth straight season. Pitt is the only Big East program to win both 20 overall and 10 Big East games in each of the last nine years. Pitt was picked to finish ninth by Big East coaches in the league's annual preseason coaches' poll.
Pitt, which ranks among the nation's top-5 in overall winning percentage (244-63) and owns the Big East's best regular season record (109-41) over the last nine years, will appear in its ninth straight NCAA Tournament when the brackets are released on the CBS Selection Show on Sunday, March 14 at 6 p.m. on CBS.
Pitt has appeared in seven of the last nine Big East Championship Finals and has captured two tournament titles in both 2003 and 2008. Pitt is 19-8 in Big East Championship games since 2000-01. Pitt owns a 24-10 record at Madison Square Garden since 2000-01.
PITT'S 2010 BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES
*Pitt enters the Big East Championship as the No. 2 seed. The No. 2 seed ranks among its all-time highest seeds upon entering the Big East Tournament. Pitt has entered the tourney as the No. 1 seed two different times (1988, 1-West in 2002 and 2004) and has now been a No. 2 seed three times (1987, 2-West in 2003 and now in 2010).
*Pitt begins its quest for an eighth Big East Championship title game appearance in school history as it enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed. Pitt finished the regular season tied for second place with a 13-5 Big East record and registered its ninth straight 10-plus win regular season in the Big East. With its 24 overall wins, the Panthers also won 20-plus games for a school record ninth straight season and 17th 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 nine seasons.
*Pitt has appeared in seven of the last nine Big East Championship Finals (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008). Only one school in Big East history has matched that run: Syracuse (7 of 8 from 1986-93). It has appeared in three of the last four 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 27 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-10, Connecticut-9, Villanova-9.
*Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon enters his seventh Big East Championship with an 11-5 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 28 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 four title games.
*Madison Square Garden is Pitt's home away from home. Pitt is 24-10 at Madison Square Garden since the 2001-02 season.
*Pitt features three 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) and Travon Woodall (Brooklyn), along with Assistant Coach Brandin Knight (East Orange, N.J.) and Video Coordinator Rasheen Davis (Bronx).
2010 BIG EAST MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
(all games are played at New York's Madison Square Garden)
Tuesday, March 9 - First Round
No. 9 South Florida vs. No. 16 DePaul, Noon, ESPN2
No. 12 Connecticut vs. No. 13 St. John's, 2 p.m., ESPN2
No. 10 Seton Hall vs. No. 15 Providence, 7 p.m., ESPN-U
No. 11 Cincinnati vs. No. 14 Rutgers, 9 p.m., ESPN-U
Wednesday, March 10 - Second Round
No. 8 Georgetown vs. South Florida/DePaul winner, Noon, ESPN
No. 5 Marquette vs. Connecticut/St. John's, 2 p.m., ESPN
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. Seton Hall/Providence winner, 7 p.m., ESPN
No. 6 Louisville vs. Cincinnati/Rutgers winner, 9 p.m., ESPN
Thursday, March 11 - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Syracuse vs. 8/9/16 winner, Noon, ESPN
No. 4 Villanova vs. 5/12/13 winner, 2 p.m., ESPN
No. 2 Pitt vs. 7/10/15 winner, 7 p.m., ESPN
No. 3 West Virginia vs. 6/11/14 winner, 9 p.m., ESPN
Friday, March 12 - Semifinals
Thursday afternoon winners, 7 p.m., ESPN
Thursday evening winners, 9 p.m., ESPN
Saturday, March 13 - Big East Championship
Semifinal winners 9 p.m., ESPN