March 17, 2009
GAME 33: #16 ETSU (23-10, 14-6 Atlantic Sun) vs. #1 PITT (28-4, 15-3 Big East)
NCAA Tournament First & Second Rounds Friday, March 20, 2009
Approx. 2:50 p.m. ET UD Arena (13,409) Dayton, Ohio
Television: CBS (Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery; Producer: Bob Mansbach). Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat), 94.5-FM (WWSW), 970 AM (WBGG). XM Satellite Radio: Channel 125.
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 10th year at Pitt, 6th year as head coach (160-44); ETSU: Murray Bartow, 6th year at ETSU (118-71), 11th year as a head coach (221-154).
Rankings: Pitt: 4-AP, 4-ESPN; ETSU: unranked.
NCAA Tournament Notes: Pitt enters its school record eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed for the first time in school history. Pitt previously has been a No. 2 seed on two different occasions: 1988 and 2003. Pitt is one of only eight schools to advance to each of the last eight NCAA Tournaments. Pitt has also advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in four of its last seven seasons. Only three programs have surpassed that achievement.
DAYTON, Ohio--No. 4 ranked and No. 1 seeded Pitt (28-4, 15-3 Big East) travels to Dayton, Ohio and University of Dayton Arena to compete in its school record eighth consecutive and 21st all-time NCAA Tournament. One of a record three Big East programs earning No. 1 seeds, Pitt earns a No. 1 seed for the first time in school history. It will play No. 16 seed East Tennessee State on Friday at approximately 2:50 p.m. ET.
The contest will be nationally televised on CBS with Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery making the call. Bob Mansbach will handle production.
Should Pitt win its First Round game, it would advance to Second Round action against either No. 8 Oklahoma State or No. 9 Tennessee on Sunday at either 2:50 p.m. or 5:20 p.m. If it wins both games, Pitt would advance to its fifth NCAA Sweet Sixteen over the last eight seasons.
Pitt earns a school record eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Previously, Pitt had made three straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1987-89. Pitt is one of only eight schools nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last eight seasons: Arizona, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas and Wisconsin. Pitt has also advanced to NCAA Sweet Sixteen play in four of the last seven seasons. Only three schools (Duke-5, Texas-5 and Kansas-5) have surpassed that accomplishment and two others (Connecticut-4, UCLA-4) have matched it.
Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon (160-44) became the first head coach in school history to guide six consecutive NCAA Tournaments. He needs just one more victory to tie the NCAA Division I all-time record for most victories after six seasons as a head coach. North Carolina State's Everett Case holds the record with 161 wins from 1947-52. Additionally, Dixon has guided Pitt to NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his six seasons as head coach at Pitt.
Pitt enters its 21st all-time NCAA Tournament. It is 18-21 in its 39 all-time NCAA Tournament games. Since 2002, Pitt is 10-7 in its 17 NCAA Tournament games, reaching the NCAA Sweet Sixteen four times. In a 64-game tournament format, Pitt has never advanced past the Sweet Sixteen round. In 1973-74, Pitt earned an Elite Eight appearance in a 32-team tournament. In addition, Dixon owns a 6-5 record in his 11 NCAA Tourney games.
The 2008-09 season has seen a number of firsts for the Pitt basketball program. Pitt ascended to the nation's No. 1 ranking on two different occasions and three weeks during the regular season. Pitt also defeated a No. 1 ranked team for the first time in school history. It also earned a No. 1 seed upon entering the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Previously it had been a No. 2 seed on two different occasions (2-1988, 2-2003). Pitt also set school-records with a program-high 15 Big East wins and completed its home schedule undefeated for the fourth time in Pitt history at 19-0.
Pitt enters the NCAA Tournament with a 28-4 overall record and 15-3 Big East record. Over the last eight years (2001-08), Pitt has proven to be the winningest Big East Conference basketball program. From 2001-08, Pitt owns the league's top records for league play (96-36) and overall games (217-55). Pitt is the only Big East Conference program to win both 20 or more overall games and 10 or more league games in each of the last eight seasons. Prior to the 2001-02 season, Pitt won 20 or more games in only two consecutive seasons. It marks Pitt's 16th all-time 20-win season. In addition, Jamie Dixon became the first head coach in school history to win 20-plus games in six straight years.
Pitt enters the game after having won 10 of its last 12 contests. At 15-3, Pitt finished the Big East regular season tied for second place with Connecticut (15-3) and behind No. 1 Louisville (16-2). With two regular season wins over Connecticut, Pitt held the tiebreaker over the Huskies.
The 15 league wins set a school record for most Big East regular season victories. Pitt's senior class of Tyrell Biggs, Levance Fields and Sam Young has won a school record 109 wins from 2005-09. The previous school record was 108 wins set by the 2004-05 senior class of Chevon Troutman and Mark McCarroll. The current class has a 109-30 record.
For the majority of the season, Pitt led the nation in Ratings Percentage Index according to realtimepri.com. It ended ranked No. 2 behind Duke. Pitt's strength of schedule was ranked No. 8 overall.
Through its first 32 games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-13.9 margin and outrebounded its opponents by a nation-leading plus-9.8 margin. The Panthers are also converting 48.4 percent (941-1944) of their field goal attempts and limiting opponents to 41.1 percent shooting. Pitt has also held 25 of its 32 opponents to 70 points or less and 12 teams to 60 points or less. Pitt is ranked among the nation's top-10 teams in five statistical categories (as of March 12, 2009). As a team, Pitt ranks second nationally in rebound margin (9.9), ranks second in assist:turnover ratio (1.50), third in winning percentage (87.5), sixth in assists per game (18.0), fifth in scoring margin (13.9), 13th in field goal percentage (48.4) and 26th in scoring offense (78.0). Pitt also ranks 29th in turnovers per game (12.0) and 39th in personal fouls (16.4).
Several Pitt players are also ranked among national leaders in various statistical categories (as of March 12, 2009). Levance Fields ranks second nationally in assist:turnover ratio (3.87) and ranks second in assists per game (7.6). DeJuan Blair ranks fourth nationally in rebounding (12.2) and leads the nation in offensive rebounds with 5.5 orpg according to StatsLLC (Note: the NCAA does not rank top offensive rebounders). He is also ranked No. 17th in field goal percentage (59.9). Sam Young is rated 90th in field goal percentage (49.9) and 43rd in scoring (18.7).
Pitt enters the tournament as one of the country's hottest teams after having won 10 of its last 12 games. Despite a disappointing 74-60 Big East Tournament First Round loss to West Virginia, Pitt closed out its regular season with a defeat of No. 1 ranked UConn 70-60 on March 7. Pitt defeated the nation's No. 1 ranked team for the second time on the year. Sam Young scored a game-high 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Levance Fields notched his ninth career double-double in the win. Pitt's recent six-game win streak in league play ranked among the school's top-5 win streaks in Big East play.. It bounced back from an 81-73 loss at Providence on Feb. 24 with an 89-78 win at Seton Hall on Feb. 28. Sam Young scored a game-high 29 points and Pitt claimed the win despite committing 23 turnovers on the evening. Pitt then defeated No. 13 Marquette 90-75 on March 4 behind 23 points from DeJuan Blair, 18 from Sam Young and 17 and 10 assists from Levance Fields. Pitt shot 63 percent from the floor and outscored the Golden Eagles 21-2 over a seven-minute second half span for the win.
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt earns a No. 1 seed for the first time in school history.
Pitt advances to the NCAA Tournament for a school record eighth consecutive season. Pitt is one of only eight schools to advance to each of the last eight straight NCAA Tourneys. It is the only Big East program to play in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last eight years.
Over the last eight seasons, Pitt has proven to be the Big East's leader in overall (217-55, 798) and league winning percentage (96-36, .727), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (8) and most 20-win, 10-league win seasons (8).
Head Coach Jamie Dixon (160 wins) needs just one more victory to tie the NCAA Division I record for best coaching start after six seasons as head coach. North Carolina State's Everett Case holds the record with 161 wins from 1947-51.
Under Dixon, Pitt is 29-9 following a loss.