March 13, 2013
GAME 32: #4 seed PITT (24-7, 12-6 Big East) vs. #5 seed SYRACUSE (24-8, 11-7 Big East)
Big East Quarterfinal Thursday, March 14, 2013 2 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden (19,763) New York, N.Y.
Television: ESPN (Mike Patrick and Len Elmore; Sidelines: Andy Katz; Producer: Eric Mosley; Director: Jeff Evers).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-TBA (Pitt feed), XM-TBA (Pitt feed).
IMG National Radio: Brock Bowling and John Celestand; Sirius-110, XM-TBA.
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Pitt Coach: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 14th year at Pitt, 10th year as head coach (262-84).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-17; USA Today-19; Syracuse: AP-19; USA Today-20.
Big East Championship Series: Pitt enters its final and 31st all-time Big East Championship with a double bye as the No. 4 seed. On Thursday, Pitt will compete in its fourth game at MSG this year, its 46th since 2000-01 and 89th all-time. Pitt owns a 26-28 all-time BET record, but is 20-11 since 2000-01. Pitt has won two BET titles (2003 and 2008) and has advanced to the title game in seven of the last 12 seasons.
Pitt-Syracuse Series: Pitt and Syracuse meet for the sixth time in the Big East Championship with the Orange owning a 1-4 record. Syracuse owns a 62-39 all-time advantage in the 101-game series, even though Pitt has claimed 14 of the last 18 contests and nine of the last 11 matchups. Pitt defeated Syracuse 65-55 on February 2, 2013. Pitt has also won six of its last seven games against SU.
NEW YORK--After closing out its regular season on a four-game win streak and claiming 11 of its last 14 contests, No. 20 ranked Pitt (24-7, 12-6 Big East) travels to New York City and Madison Square Garden to compete in its 31st all-time and final Big East Championship. Pitt enters tournament play with a double-bye as the No. 4 seed and will play No. 5 seed Syracuse (24-8, 11-7 Big East) in a Thursday, March 14 Quarterfinal matchup at 2 p.m. ET. Pitt earns a double bye for the the fourth time in the last five years.
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN with Mike Patrick and Len Elmore calling action, along with Andy Katz reporting from the sidelines. Pitt graduate Eric Mosley (producer) and Jeff Evers (director) will handle production.
Should Pitt win its Thursday Quarterfinal matchup, it would advance to Friday's Semifinal Round at 7 p.m. on ESPN. A win in the Semifinal Round would give Pitt a berth in the Big East Championship Final, which will be played on Saturday, March 16 at 8:30 p.m. (ESPN).
Pitt is in its final season of Big East competition before it enters the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. Pitt has advanced to the Big East Championship Final in seven of the last 12 seasons. Since the 2000-01 season, Pitt has won the most Big East Tournament games (20) and collected two titles (2003 and 2008). In addition, Jamie Dixon has guided Pitt to the title game in four of his first nine seasons as head coach. He owns a 12-8 record in the Big East Tournament. Dixon will conclude the year as the Big East's all-time winningest in terms of percentage (regular season+tournament games). See chart at top of page 4. Dixon also owns a 22-13 record in games played at Madison Square Garden.
The 64-44 home win over South Florida on Feb. 27 gave Pitt its 10th Big East victory of the season. Pitt has now won 10 or more league games 11 times in the last 12 seasons, the only Big East program to achieve that honor.
Pitt has won 11 of its last 14 games and 12 of its last 16 contests overall. Pitt has already won more overall games (24) 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 24 victories rank as the 12th-most wins in school history. Pitt has made its case for national comeback team of the year.
Pitt is on a four-game win streak following a road win at St. John's, home wins over South Florida and Villanova and a road win at DePaul on Saturday. Most recently, the Panthers clinched the No. 4 seed with an 81-66 victory at DePaul on March 9. Pitt shot a school and Big East record 71.7 percent (33-46) from the floor, converted 64.3 percent (9-14) from 3-point range and limited the Blue Demons to 15 rebounds in registering the win. J.J. Moore led the Panthers with a career-high tying 21 points (8-8 FG, 5-5 3FG). Pitt used a 7-0 run late in the first half to take an 11-point halftime lead en route to the win. Cameron Wright (seven points, three assists) and Tray Woodall (18 points) both contributed fine performances.
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 31 opponents under 60 points and 28 of 31 opponents under 70 points.
Pitt has won 92 of its last 128 overall games, 97 of its last 134, 241 of its last 319 contests, 107 of its last 161 Big East regular season games and 142 of its last 154 non-conference games.
BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES
Pitt enters its 31st all-time Big East Championship. Here are some notes concerning Pitt in the Big East Championship. Records are found on page 168-169 in the Pitt media guide:
Pitt has appeared in seven of the last 12 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 seven Big East Championship Finals (2006, 2007 and 2008) and advanced to four consecutive title games from 2001-04.
Pitt is one of four programs to capture at least two Big East Championship titles since 2000-01: Connecticut-3, Pitt-2, Louisville-2 and Syracuse-2.
Pitt has won 20 of its last 31 Big East Championship games dating back to the 1999-00 season. The 20 wins rank as the most victories of any program during that time period: Pitt-20, Syracuse-16, Connecticut-16, Georgetown-14, Louisville-11, Villanova-10.
Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon enters his 10th and final Big East Championship with a 12-8 tournament record. In 2008, he guided Pitt to its second Big East Tournament title and its seventh Big East Championship Finals appearance in school history.
In 31 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 seven title games.
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN NOTES
Madison Square Garden is Pitt's home away from home as the Panthers have played 45 games there since the 2000-01 season. Pitt is 30-15 at Madison Square Garden since the 2001-02 season.
Pitt was named Madison Square Garden's "Team of the Decade" in March, 2010 (2000-10).
Pitt has claimed 18 of its last 27 games at Madison Square Garden.
Pitt will be making its 89th all-time appearance at the World's Most Famous Arena. Pitt owns a 45-43 all-time record at MSG.
Pitt appeared in the country's first-ever nationally televised basketball game at MSG on Feb. 28, 1940, a 57-37 win vs. Fordham.
Pitt's roster features five players and one staff member who are New York City area natives. The student-athletes include Dante Taylor (Greenburgh, N.Y), J.J. Moore (Brentwood, Long Island), Tray Woodall (Brooklyn) and Chris Jones (Teaneck, N.J.), along with Assistant Coach Brandin Knight (East Orange, N.J.).
WOODALL, ADAMS EARN ALL-BIG EAST HONORS
Pitt's Tray Woodall and Steven Adams both were honored by Big East Conference coaches on Sunday, March 10 as Woodall earned All-Big East Third Team honors and Adams was named to the Big East All-Rookie Team.
Adams became the first freshman to earn Big East All-Rookie Team honors at Pitt since DeJuan Blair garnered the same accolade in 2007-08.
THURSDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt enters its final Big East Championship with a two-day bye and No. 4 seed. Pitt begins BET play on Thursday, March 14 vs. No. 5 seed Syracuse, which advanced to the Quarterfinal Round with a 75-63 win over Seton Hall.
In No. 19 Syracuse, Pitt plays its ninth top-25 ranked team. Pitt is 3-5 vs. nationally ranked teams this season.
Madison Square Garden is Pitt's "Home Away From Home" as it is 30-15 at the arena since 2000-01. Pitt was named MSG's "Team of the Decade" after winning two titles (2003 and 2008) and advancing to the BET Final in seven of the last 12 years.
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 four-game win streak, Pitt has won 11 of its last 14 and 12 of its last 16 contests.
Jamie Dixon will conclude Big East play as the all-time winningest coach (%) in league history (regular season+tournament games).
Over the last 12 years, Pitt has been the Big East Conference's leader in overall winning percentage (319-94, .772), league winning percentage (141-63, .691), Big East Championships (six), Big East Tournament wins (20) and NCAA Tournament appearances (10).