March 8, 2009
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--No. 2 seeded Pitt (28-3 overall, 15-3 Big East) travels to New York City and Madison Square Garden to compete in its 27th all-time Big East Championship. The No. 2 seeded Panthers receive a two-day bye and will open tournament play in Thursday's 7 p.m. Quarterfinal matchup against one of three teams: No. 7 West Virginia, No. 10 Notre Dame or No. 15 Rutgers. The contest will be televised live on ESPN.
Should Pitt win Thursday's Quarterfinal Round game, it would advance to the Semifinal Round matchup set for Friday, March 13 at 9 p.m. With a win, Pitt would advance to the Championship Final set for Saturday, March 14 at 9 p.m. Both of those games will be televised on ESPN.
No. 3 ranked Pitt will enter the Big East Tournament after winning 10 of its last 11 games. At 15-3, Pitt finished with 10-plus Big East regular season wins for a school-record seventh straight season. Pitt also reached the 20-win mark for a school-record seventh straight season. Pitt is the only Big East program to win both 20 overall and 10 Big East games in each of the last seven years.
Pitt has appeared in seven of the last eight Big East Championship Finals. It has appeared in three consecutive Big East Championship Finals (2006, 2007 and 2008) and won the 2008 Big East title. Pitt also appeared in four consecutive title games from 2000-04. Last year, Pitt became the second team in Big East history to capture the tournament title with four consecutive wins. No. 7 seed Pitt defeated No. 1 seed Georgetown 74-65 to claim the title.
PITT'S 2009 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 been a No. 2 seed two other times (1987 and 2-West in 200).
*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 in second place with a 15-3 Big East record and its eighth straight 10-plus win regular season in the Big East. With its 28 overall wins, Panthers also won 20-plus games for a school record eighth straight season and 16th 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 eight seasons.
*Pitt has appeared in seven of the last eight 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 each of the last three Big East Championship Finals (2006, 2007 and 2008) and appeared in four consecutive title games from 2001-04. It dropped its first game after receiving a first round bye in 2005.
*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's senior class of Tyrell Biggs, Levance Fields and Sam Young have the opportunity to appear in four Big East Tournament title games. Should they succeed, they would become just the second senior class in school history to achieve that record as the 2004 senior class (Jaron Brown, Toree Morris and Julius Page) advanced to four title games.
*Pitt has won 19 of its last 25 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-11, Georgetown-10, Connecticut-9, Villanova-8.
*Pitt receives a two-day bye in the new 16-team tournament format. Pitt has received First Round byes five times during that span including 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007.
*Pitt is 25-24 all-time in 49 total Big East Championship games.
*Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon enters his sixth Big East Championship with an 11-4 tournament record. Last year, he guided Pitt to its second Big East Tournament title and its seventh Big East Championship Finals appearance in school history.
*In 27 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, last year. Pitt has advanced to each of the last three title games.
*Since joining the Big East Conference in 1982-83, Pitt has made an appearance in each of its 27 potential Big East Championships. It owns a 25-24 all-time record in 49 total appearances.
*Pitt features three players and one staff member who are New York City area natives. The student-athletes include Levance Fields (Brooklyn), Tyrell Biggs (Nanuet) and Travon Woodall (Brooklyn), along with Video Coordinator Rasheen Davis (Bronx).
*Madison Square Garden is Pitt's home away from home. Pitt is 23-8 at Madison Square Garden since the 2001-02 season.
2009 BIG EAST MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
(all games are played at New York's Madison Square Garden)
Tuesday, March 10 - First Round (BIGEAST.tv)
No. 9 Cincinnati vs. No. 16 DePaul, Noon
No. 12 Georgetown vs. No. 13 St. John's, 2 p.m.
No. 10 Notre Dame vs. No. 15 Rutgers, 7 p.m.
No. 11 Seton Hall vs. No. 14 USF, 9 p.m.
Wednesday, March 11 - Second Round (ESPN)
No. 8 Providence vs. Cincinnati/DePaul winner, Noon
No. 5 Marquette vs. Georgetown/St. John's winner, 2 p.m.
No. 7 West Virginia vs. Notre Dame/Rutgers winner, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Syracuse vs. Seton Hall/USF winner, 9 p.m.
Thursday, March 12 - Quarterfinals (ESPN)
No. 1 Louisville vs. 8/9/16 winner, Noon
No. 4 Villanova vs. 5/12/13 winner, 2 p.m.
No. 2 Pittsburgh vs. 7/10/15 winner, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Connecticut vs. 6/11/14 winner, 9 p.m.
Friday, March 13 - Semifinals (ESPN)
Thursday afternoon winners, 7 p.m.
Thursday evening winners, 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 14 - Championship (ESPN)
Semifinal winners 9 p.m.
Pitt Takes Care of Cornell, 93-49
Panthers Face Cornell Wednesday at the Petersen Events Center
VIDEO: Smith Takes Long Journey To Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Defeats Detroit, 95-79
Pitt Returns to Action Friday Against Detroit
VIDEO: Nelson-Ododa Brings Veteran Presence to Pitt Post Rotation