March 27, 2009
GAME 36: #3 VILLANOVA (29-7, 13-5 Big East) vs. #1 PITT (31-4, 15-3 Big East)
NCAA Tournament East Regional Final Saturday, March 28, 2009 7:05 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 (163-44); Villanova: Jay Wright, 8th year at Villanova (177-90), 14th year as a head coach (299-175).
Rankings: Pitt: 4-AP, 4-ESPN; Villanova: 11-AP, 12-ESPN.
NCAA Tournament Notes: Pitt advances to an NCAA Regional Final and Elite Eight for the first time since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams. Pitt last advanced to an NCAA Regional Final in 1973-74, where it lost to eventual national champion North Carolina State. That tournament featured 32 teams. Pitt has advanced to the NCAA Final Four one time in school history: 1940-41. That tournament featured eight schools by invitation.
BOSTON, Mass.--No. 4 ranked and No. 1 seeded Pitt (31-4, 15-3 Big East) advances to the NCAA East Regional Final to take on Big East rival, No. 11 ranked and No. 3 seeded Villanova (29-7, 13-5 Big East) on Saturday at the TD Banknorth Garden. Tipoff is at 7:05 p.m. ET. The game's winner advances to the NCAA Final Four in Detroit (April 4-6).
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.
With its 60-55 win over No. 4 seed Xavier, Pitt advances to its first-ever NCAA Regional Final and Elite Eight since the tournament expanded to 64 teams. Pitt last advanced to the Elite Eight in 1974. It made its only NCAA Final Four appearance in 1941 when there were only eight teams invited to the tournament.
Pitt plays Villanova for the second time this season. Villanova claimed a 67-57 win against Pitt on Jan. 28, 2009. The game marked the final college basketball game at the Wachovia Spectrum. Pitt owns a 27-31 all-time record against Villanova and has claimed three of its last five matchups against the Wildcats.
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. 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 (163-44) 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 now 21-21 in its 42 all-time NCAA Tournament games. Since 2002, Pitt is 13-7 in its 20 NCAA Tournament games, reaching the NCAA Regional Round five times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2009). In addition, Dixon owns a 9-5 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 has advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history. The Panthers tied the school's season wins record with their 31st victory Thursday against Xavier. 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 31-4 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 (220-55). 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 13 of its last 15 contests. It has won each of its three NCAA Tournament games by a combined 7.7 points per game.
BIG EAST MEETS BIG EAST
Saturday's Pitt-Villanova game marks the fifth time in conference history that two Big East schools have met in an NCAA Tournament game. Here are the four others:
1987 Final Four semifinal: Syracuse 77, Providence 63.
1987 Southeast Region final: Providence 88, Georgetown 73.
1985 Final Four semifinal: Georgetown 77, St. John's 59.
1985 Final Four title game: Villanova 66, Georgetown 64.
XAVIER POST-GAME NOTES
With its 60-55 win over No. 4 seed Xavier, No. 1 seed Pitt advances to NCAA Tournament Regional Final for the first time in school history. Pitt will play No. 3 seed Villanova for the right to advance to the NCAA Final Four on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at TD Banknorth in Boston. The last time Pitt advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight was in 1974 in a 32-team tournament.
Pitt improved to 31-4 on the season. The 31 wins rank tied for the most successful season in school history. Jamie Dixon won 31 games in his first season as head coach in 2003-04.
Pitt played in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in its fifth in the last eight seasons. Only two programs (Duke-6 and Kansas-6) have advanced to more Sweet Sixteens in the past eight years. Two other programs (Texas-5 and Connecticut-5) have matched Pitt's accomplishment.
Pitt entered an NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed for the first time in school history. Pitt is in its 21st appearance in the NCAA Tournament and improved to 21-21 overall today.
Pitt improved to 1-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament Third Round. Jamie Dixon improved to 1-2 in NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen games. Overall, Dixon improved to 9-5 all-time in NCAA Tournament games. He has now guided Pitt to NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances in three of his six seasons at Pitt (2004, 2007 and 2009) along with an Elite Eight appearance this year.
With today's win, Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon won his 163rd career game. He is the all-time winningest head coach after six seasons in NCAA Division I history with 163 career wins. Previously, he surpassed North Carolina State's Everett Case, who won 161 games from 1947-52.
Pitt is one of only eight schools nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the eight seasons.
Pitt improved to 4-2 all-time vs. Xavier.
Pitt won its seventh straight game in Boston and improved to 3-0 in NCAA Tournament games in Boston. Previously, Pitt won four straight at Boston College and won two straight NCAA Tournament games at the Garden in 2003.
Pitt defeated its highest seed in the NCAA Tournament in No. 4 Xavier. Previously, Pitt's best win in the NCAA Tournament was a victory over a No. 6 seed (Wisconsin in 2004 and California in 2002).
With his game-high 19 points, Sam Young reached double figure scoring for the 96th time in his career and 33rd time in 35 games this year. Young, who now has 149 career points in his NCAA Tournament career, set the school record for most career NCAA Tournament points vs. Oklahoma State when he surpassed Carl Krauser (125 points from 2003-06).
With his six assists on the day, Levance Fields set Pitt's NCAA Tournament career assists record with 49 career assists in NCAA Tourney play. Fields also scored 14 points, his 69th career double figure scoring game of his career and 23rd on the year.
DeJuan Blair (10 points/17 rebounds) became the 13th player in school history to record a double-double in the NCAA Tournament. He has now registered double-doubles in each of Pitt's three NCAA Tournament games. He becomes the only player in school history to register three double-doubles in Pitt's NCAA Tournament history.
With his 10 points and 17 rebounds, DeJuan Blair totaled his 34th career double-double and 20th double-double on the season. Blair reached double figure scoring for the 26th time on the year. He finished with double figure rebounding for the 40th time in his career and 23rd time on the year.
Pitt players in the career NCAA Tournament recordbooks:
149, Sam Young, 2006-09
126, Levance Fields, 2006-09
125, Carl Krauser, 2003-06
108, Julius Page, 2002-04
106, Charles Smith, 1985-88
103, Chevon Troutman, 2002-05
103, Don Hennon, 1957-58
89, Brandin Knight, 2002-03
87, Jaron Brown, 2002-04
85, Demetreus Gore, 1985-88
74, Ronald Ramon, 2005-08
64, Chevon Troutman, 2002-05
62, DeJuan Blair, 2008-09
57, Jerome Lane, 1987-88
50, Sam Young, 2006-09
46, Jaron Brown, 2002-04
41, Aaron Gray, 2004-07
41, Carl Krauser, 2003-06
39, Charles Smith, 1985-88
35, Donatas Zavackas, 2002-03
49, Levance Fields, 2006-09
43, Brandin Knight, 2002-03
36, Sean Miller, 1988-91
23, Darelle Porter, 1988-91
23, Jerome Lane, 1987-88
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt advances to the NCAA Elite Eight and NCAA Regional Final for the first time since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams. Pitt last advanced to the Elite Eight in 1974 in a 32-team tournament format. 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.
The last time a Pitt team advanced to the Final Four was in 1941. One of eight schools invited to the Final Four that season, Pitt defeated North Carolina 26-22 in the Eastern Regional, then lost to Wisconsin 36-30 in the Final Four held in Madison, Wis.
With its win over Xavier, Pitt tied its school record for most wins in a season with its 31st. Pitt also won 31 games in Head Coach Jamie Dixon's first year in 2003-04.
Two Big East programs meet in an NCAA Tournament game for the fifth time in league history.