March 21, 2014
GAME 36: #9 PITT (26-9, 11-7 ACC) vs. #1 FLORIDA (33-2, 18-0 SEC)
NCAA Championship Third Round Saturday, March 22, 2014
12:15 p.m. ET Amway Center (20,000) Orlando, Fla.
Television: CBS (Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner; Sidelines: Kristine Leahy; Producer: Jonathan Segal).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Westwood One Radio: Tom McCarthy and Donny Marshall; Satellite Radio: Sirius-85; XM-190.
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Pitt Coach: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 15th year at Pitt, 11th year as head coach (288-95).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-NR; USA Today-ARV; Florida: AP-1; USA Today-1 (as of March 18, 2014).
Series: Pitt is appearing in its 12th NCAA Tournament in the last 13 seasons. It is one of only seven schools nationwide to advance to the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the last 13 years: Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas and Wisconsin. It marks its 25th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance. Pitt is 24-25 all-time in 49 NCAA Tournament contests. Pitt is a No. 9 seed for the third time in school history (1993 and 2005). Pitt meets Florida for the seventh time in series history. The Panthers are 4-2 vs. the Gators with the last meeting coming on March 23, 1992.
ORLANDO, Fla.--At-large selection and No. 9 seed Pitt (26-9, 11-7 ACC) advances to NCAA Tournament Third Round play to face No. 1 ranked and No. 1 seeded Florida (33-2, 18-0 SEC) at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. on Saturday, March 22. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. ET.
The contest will be televised nationally on CBS with Brian Anderson (play-by-play) and Pittsburgh native Dan Bonner (color analysis) making the call, along with Kristine Leahy handling sideline reports. Jonathan Segel will handle production.
Pitt advanced to the tourney's Third Round with an impressive and convincing 29-point, 77-48 victory over No. 8 seed Colorado on Thursday. The 29-point victory marked its largest NCAA Tournament win in school history. The Panthers jumped out a 13-0 lead from the opening tipoff, used an 8-0 run to take a commanding 23-5 lead, then finished off the half by extending the margin to 28 points at the half (46-18). Talib Zanna scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the first half, Cameron Wright added 11 points and Lamar Patterson contributed 10 points on two key 3-pointers.
Playing its best basketball of the year, Pitt has now won six of its last eight games. It is 4-1 after winning a dramatic overtime game at Clemson in which at Josh Newkirk jumper at the buzzer sent the game into overtime after Pitt trailed by five points with 12 seconds left to play. Since the overtime period at Clemson, Pitt has played outstanding basketball.
A victory on Saturday would give Pitt its sixth NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in the last 13 seasons. Pitt is one of only 15 schools nationwide to appear in at least five NCAA Sweet Sixteens in the last 12 years. Pitt is competing in its 12th NCAA Championship in the last 13 seasons and 25th all-time NCAA Tournament. Pitt is one of only seven programs nationally to advance to 12 of the last 13 NCAA Tournaments. Those programs include Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas and Wisconsin. Since 2002, Pitt is 16-11 in its 27 NCAA Tournament games, reaching the Elite Eight once and Sweet Sixteen five times. In a 64-team format, Pitt has advanced past the round of 16 just one time (2009). In 1973-74, Pitt also earned an Elite Eight appearance in a 32-team tournament.
In addition, Jamie Dixon owns a 12-9 record in his 21 NCAA Tournament games and 10 appearances. Dixon is 8-2 in NCAA Tournament first games. Since 2001-02, Pitt is 10-2 in the NCAA Tournament First/Second Round.
Pitt concluded its season with an ACC-best 7-2 road record on the year. That record also tied for its best league road record in school history. Pitt also went 7-2 in 2010-11 (see chart on page 3). In addition, an impressive 13 of Pitt's 26 wins have come away from the Petersen Events Center (seven wins in away games and six wins in neutral contests). Pitt is a combined 13-4 in games played away from the Petersen Events Center.
NCAA FIRST ROUND NOTES VS. COLORADO
The win improves drops Pitt to 26-9 overall on the year. Pitt will face No. 1 ranked and the nation's No. 1 seeded team Florida on Saturday. Tipoff time and network affiliation will be announced later this evening.
With its 29-point victory (77-48), Pitt registered its largest-ever NCAA Tournament win in school history, besting a 26-point victory over Wagner (87-61 win on March 21, 2003).
Colorado was held to just 48 points in the game. The last time Pitt held a team to 50 or fewer points in the NCAA Tournament was vs. Saint Joseph's (42) in 1975 and Central Florida (44) in 2004.
Pitt led by 28 points at halftime (46-18). It marked its largest halftime lead of the season, besting a 27-point lead vs. Savannah State in the season opener. It marked its all-time largest halftime lead in NCAA Tournament history. In addition, it also ranked as the second largest halftime lead in a neutral site game in school history. Previously, Pitt led Arkansas by 33 points (53-20) on December 29, 1986.
In the first half alone, Pitt converted 62.1 percent (18-29) of its field goals, 3-6 3-pointers and all seven of its free throw attempts. It held Colorado to 29.4 percent (5-17) shooting and forced the Buffaloes into 10 turnovers.
The 29-point margin of victory ranked as the largest margin of victory ever in an 8-9 NCAA Tournament First Round matchup.
Pitt is appearing in its 12th NCAA Tournament in the last 13 seasons. Only seven programs nationwide have achieved that feat: Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas and Wisconsin.
Pitt improved to 10-2 in NCAA Tournament first games since the 2001-02 season. Jamie Dixon improved to 8-2 in NCAA Tournament first games and is now 12-9 all-time in NCAA Tournament.
Pitt has won six of its last eight games, including all six away from home. It has 13 wins in games played away from home on the year, a league-best 7-2 in road contests and is 6-2 at neutral sites.
Pitt set a team NCAA Tournament record with only three turnovers in the contest. That bested the previous record of seven vs. Pepperdine on March 12, 1982. It also matched a Jamie Dixon Era low of three, set vs. Washington State on March 30, 2012.
Talib Zanna scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the first half. He converted 6-7 field goals and hit all six of his free throw attempts. Zanna registered his eighth consecutive, 54th career and 27th season double figure scoring game.
Cameron Wright finished with 11 points. He has now reached double figures in scoring in 24 career and 20 contests on the year.
With his 10 points, Lamar Patterson registered his 11th double figure scoring game of the year. He has totaled 70 career and 33 season double figure scoring games.
Pitt finished with 12 steals on the day. That ranked as the second highest total on the year.
Pitt improved to 1-2 all-time as a No. 9 seed. It also was a No. 9 seed in both 1993 and 2005. It lost its opening round game on both occasions.
Pitt improved to 2-0 all-time vs. Colorado.
NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES
Pitt earns a No. 9 seed for the third time in program history. Pitt was also a No. 9 seed in both 1993 and 2005.
The Panthers are making the program's 25th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and for the 10th time in 11 years under Head Coach Jamie Dixon.
Jamie Dixon has now guided Pitt to 10 NCAA Tournaments in his 11 years as head coach at Pitt. That is the most appearances for a head coach in school history. Paul Evans took five Pitt teams to the NCAA Tournament from 1986-94. Dixon has also coached in a school-best 21 NCAA Tournament games.
Pitt is one of only two ACC schools to surpass the 20-win and 10-win league regular season totals in 12 of the past 13 seasons. Pitt currently ranks second only to Duke with the ACC's top records for league play (152-70) and overall games (345-105) over the last 13 years.
SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
No. 9 seed Pitt advances to play No. 1 seed and No. 1 ranked Florida in the NCAA Tournament Third Round on Saturday.
A win would put Pitt in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the sixth time in the last 13 seasons. Pitt is one of only 15 schools nationwide to advance to the Sweet Sixteen at least five times in the last 12 years.
Pitt has won six of its last eight games. It has won 13 games away from home this season and is 13-4 in those contests (7-2 on the road, 6-2 at neutral sites).
For the second time this year, Pitt plays the nation's No. 1 ranked team. It dropped a 58-56 loss to No. 1 Syracuse on Feb. 12, 2014. Pitt is 2-15 all-time vs. the nation's No. 1 ranked team but has won two of the last four meetings vs. No. 1 teams.
Pitt earns its second consecutive and 12th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 13 seasons, one of only seven programs nationwide to achieve that distinction.
COURTSIDE: Pitt Goes Retro in Win Over No. 17 FSU
Pittsburgh upsets No. 17 Florida State 80-66
GAME NOTES: Panthers Host No. 17 Florida State Saturday
Pitt Falls to Virginia Tech 66-63
GAME NOTES: Pitt Seeks Third Straight Win Tuesday Evening
COURTSIDE: Panthers Top Syracuse for Sixth Time in Seven Games