March 7, 2013
GAME 31: #20 PITT (23-7, 11-6 Big East) at DePAUL (11-19, 2-15 Big East)
Saturday, March 9, 2013 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT Allstate Arena (18,600) Rosemont, Ill.
Television: ESPN Regional/Big East Network/WTAE Channel 4 in Southwestern Pennsylvania (Anish Shroff and Bob Wenzel; Producer: Peter Rudman).
Big East Network Television affiliates (37 affiliates): New York (SNY), Los Angeles, Calif. (KJLA, 5 p.m.); Chicago, Ill. (WCIU-DT4), Washington, D.C. (MASN), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota, Fla. (Brighthouse), Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla. (Brighthouse-O), San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif. (CSN-Bay), Pittsburgh (WTAE-TV), Baltimore, Md. (MASN), Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (SNY-CT), Columbus, Ohio (WWHO), Milwaukee, Wis. (TW-WI), Cincinnati, Ohio (EKRC), Las Vegas, Nevada (KVMY), Harrisburg-Lancaster-York, Pa. (EHP), Louisville, Ky. (WHAS), Buffalo, N.Y. (TW-Buffalo), Wilkes Barre-Scranton (WSWB), Albany-Schenectedy-Troy, N.Y. (TW-Albany), Dayton, Ohio (WBDT), Lexington, Ky. (WTVQ-DT), Green Bay-Appleton (TW-WI2), Toledo, Ohio (WTVG-DT2), Rochester, N.Y. (TW-Rochester), Syracuse, N.Y. (TW-Syr), Madison, Wis. (WMSN), South Bend-Elkhart, Ind. (WMYS), Johnstown-Altoona (WHVL), Evansville, Ind. (WTVW), Youngstown, Ohio (WYTV-DT2), Lansing, Mich. (WHTV), Binghamton, N.Y. (TW-Binghamton), Wheeling-Steubenville, W.Va. (WTOV-DT2), Utica, N.Y. (TW-Utica), Elmire, N.Y. (TW-Elmira), Watertown, N.Y. (TW-Watertown).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-134 (Pitt feed), XM-194 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 14th year at Pitt, 10th year as head coach (261-84); DePaul: Oliver Purnell, 3rd year at DePaul (30-62), 25th year overall (424-341).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-20; USA Today-22; DePaul: AP-NR; USA Today-NR.
Series: Pitt and DePaul meet for the 11th time in series history with Pitt holding an 8-2 advantage. The meeting marks the second this year between the schools as Pitt defeated DePaul by 38 points (93-55) on Jan. 26 at the Petersen Events Center. The 38-point win marked Pitt's largest Big East regular season victory in league history. Pitt is 3-2 all-time vs. DePaul in games played in Illinois.
CHICAGO, Ill.--After claiming 10 of its last 13 games, No. 20 ranked Pitt (23-7, 11-6 Big East) plays its final Big East Conference regular season game on Saturday, March 9 when it travels to DePaul (11-19, 2-15 Big East) for a contest at Allstate Arena. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT.
The contest will be regionally televised by ESPN Regional/Big East Network and aired locally in Pittsburgh on WTAE-TV Channel 4. Anish Shroff and Bob Wenzel will handle play-by-play and color analyst duties, while Peter Rudman will manage production.
Pitt will play its final Big East regular season game on Saturday. It enters the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. At 11-6, Pitt is in currently in a tie for fourth place in the Big East with Notre Dame (11-6) and Syracuse (11-6). The Panthers have a chance at a two-day bye upon entering the Big East Tournament (March 12-16). A Pitt coupled with a Notre Dame loss at Louisville would give Pitt the No. 4 seed. Wins by both Pitt and Notre Dame would give UND the No. 4 seed because it holds a tiebreaker over Pitt. Louisville, Marquette and Georgetown are tied for first place with identical 13-4 records. Pitt, Notre Dame and Louisville are tied for fourth place at 11-6.
Feb. 27'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 10 of its last 13 games and 11 of its last 15 contests. Pitt has already won more overall games (23) and twice as many Big East Conference games (11) 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 23 victories rank as the 13th-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 three-game win streak following a road win at St. John's and home wins over South Florida and Villanova. On Senior Day and its final home Big East regular season game, Pitt rallied from a nine-point second half deficit to defeat Villanova 73-64 in overtime. The Panthers clawed their way back into the game with three 3-pointers from Durand Johnson and clutch free throws by Tray Woodall. A James Robinson 3-pointer with 32 seconds left tied the game at 57-57 and sent the game into overtime. In overtime, Talib Zanna gave Pitt a commanding seven-point lead with seven points and Robinson sealed the win with another 3-pointer. Zanna led Pitt with 14 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, his second double-double of the year. Woodall finished with 13 points and 11 assists, Robinson added 14 points and Johnson finished with nine.
Pitt also registered a 20-point win over South Florida (64-44) on Feb. 27. 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 54.9 points per game on the year (5th-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 limited 12 opponents to 50 points or less, 19 of its 30 opponents under 60 points and 27 of 30 opponents under 70 points.
Pitt and DePaul meet for the second time this season as Pitt claimed a 38-point home win (93-55) at the Petersen Events Center on Jan. 26, 2013. The 38-point win represented its largest-ever Big East regular season win in school history. DePaul is led by Brandon Young (16.6 ppg./139 assists), Cleveland Melvin (16.5 ppg./7.1 rpg.) and James Crockett (8.9 ppg.). Melvin is the cousin of Pitt redshirt freshman Durand Johnson.
SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
With one regular season game remaining, No. 20 Pitt (11-6) is vying for a two-day bye upon entering next week's Big East Tournament. With a win and a Notre Dame loss at Louisville, Pitt can secure the No. 4 seed.
Pitt has won 10 or more Big East games for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons, the only Big East program to achieve that honor.
On a three-game win streak, Pitt has won 10 of its last 13 and 11 of its last 15 contests.
Pitt has won each of its last two and five of its last seven road contests. The Panthers have also claimed 31 of their last 51 road games and own one of the Big East's top road records (58-43) over the last 12 seasons. Pitt is 5-3 on the road this year.
Over the last 12 years, Pitt has been the Big East Conference's leader in overall winning percentage (318-94, .772), league winning percentage (140-63, .690), Big East Championships (six), Big East Tournament wins (20) and NCAA Tournament appearances (10).