March 24, 2009
#4 XAVIER (27-7, 12-4 Atlantic 10) vs. #1 PITT (30-4, 15-3 Big East)
NCAA Tournament Regionals Thursday, March 26, 2009 7:27 p.m. ET TD Banknorth Garden (19,600) Boston, Mass.
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: TBA.
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 10th year at Pitt, 6th year as head coach (162-44); Xavier: Sean Miller, 5th year at XU (120-46), 5th year as a head coach (120-46).
Rankings: Pitt: 4-AP, 4-ESPN; Xavier: 20-AP, 22-ESPN.
NCAA Tournament Notes: Pitt has advanced to NCAA Sweet Sixteen play in five of its last eight seasons. Only two programs have surpassed that achievement (6-Duke and 6-Kansas) and two have matched that accomplishment (Connecticut-5 and Texas-5). In its school record eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, Pitt is a No. 1 seed for the first time in school history. Pitt is one of only eight programs nationally to advance to each of the last eight NCAA Tourneys.
No. 4 ranked and No. 1 seeded Pitt (30-4, 15-3 Big East) travels to Boston, Mass. and the TD Banknorth Garden to compete in its fifth NCAA Regional in the last eight seasons against No. 20 ranked and No. 4 seeded Xavier (27-7, 12-4 Atlantic 10). Tipoff is at 7:27 p.m. ET. No. 2 seed Duke (30-6) and No. 3 seed Villanova (28-7) meet in the second game at approximately 9:57 p.m. ET.
The contest will be nationally televised on CBS with Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery making the call. Bob Mansbach (producer) and Suzanne Smith (director) handle production.
Should Pitt win its NCAA Regional contest it would advance to Saturday's Elite Eight competition against the winner of the Duke-Villanova contest. Tipoff time is TBA on Saturday, March 28.
Pitt has now advanced to NCAA Sweet Sixteen play in five of the last eight seasons. Only two schools (Duke-6 and Kansas-6) have surpassed that accomplishment while two others (Connecticut-5 and Texas-5) have matched it. Pitt has never advanced past the Sweet Sixteen in a 64-team NCAA Tournament. Pitt made it to the Elite Eight in 1974, a 32-team tournament. Pitt played in the 1941 NCAA Final Four, an event that featured only eight teams. This year, Pitt earned 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. The others include Arizona, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas and Wisconsin.
Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon (162-44) became the first head coach in school history to guide Pitt to six consecutive NCAA Tournaments. With a win over Oklahoma State, Dixon set the NCAA Division I all-time record for most victories after six seasons as a head coach. North Carolina State's Everett Case previously held the record with 161 wins from 1947-52. Additionally, Dixon has guided Pitt to NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances in three of his six years as head coach at Pitt (2004, 2007 and 2009).
Pitt is in its 21st all-time NCAA Tournament. It is 20-21 in its 41 all-time NCAA Tournament games. Since 2002, Pitt is 12-7 in its 19 NCAA Tournament games, reaching the NCAA Regional Round five times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2009). In addition, Dixon owns an 8-5 record in his 13 NCAA Tourney games as head coach.
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 the nation's 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 school history at 19-0. Pitt needs one more victory to tie the school record for most wins in a season (31 in Dixon's first year in 2003-04).
Pitt enters the NCAA Regional with a 30-4 overall 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 (219-55). 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. He is the only coach in school history to guide to Pitt to a 30-win season (31 in 2003-04 and 30 in 2008-09).
Pitt enters the game after having won 12 of its last 14 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 111 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 111-30 record.
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt advances to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the fifth time in the last eight seasons. Only two schools have advanced to more Sweet Sixteens than Pitt in the last eight years (Duke-6, Kansas-6). Pitt is one of only eight schools to advance to each of the last eight 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 (219-55, .799) and league winning percentage (96-36, .727), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (8) and most 20-win, 10-league win seasons (8).
Jamie Dixon (162 wins) is the NCAA Division I all-time recordholder for most victories after six seasons as a head coach. He bested North Carolina State's Everett Case, who won 161 games from 1947-51.
Pitt has won 30 games for the second time in school history. The Panthers need one more win to tie the school record for most wins in a season (31 in 2003-04).