June 9, 2010
PITTSBURGH--Pitt will play Tennessee in the fourth annual 2010 DIRECTV SEC/Big East Basketball Invitational at Pittsburgh's brand new CONSOL Energy Center, ESPN announced on Wednesday. The game is scheduled for Saturday, December 11 and will be nationally televised on ESPN. The contest is part of a doubleheader at CONSOL Energy Center as Rutgers will play Auburn in the first game on ESPN2. Tipoff times will be announced at a later date.
"This is a great event for the city of Pittsburgh," Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon said. "Pittsburgh is such a fantastic sports town. With our terrific fan support and opening of the new CONSOL Energy Center, it's easy to see why Pittsburgh was selected to host this outstanding event. We are also excited about the opportunity to play in the new arena."
The CONSOL Energy Center officially opens on August 18 with a Paul McCartney concert. Located in downtown Pittsburgh, the arena offers 1,950 club seats, 236 Loge Box seats, a spectacular private Executive Suite level and will seat 19,100 fans for basketball events. Home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the CONSOL Energy Center is also slated to host the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament (March 15-17, 2012). Additional information on the CONSOL Energy Center can be found at www.consolenergycenter.com.
"We're honored to be chosen to host such a high-profile major college basketball event in our first season of operation," said Jay Roberts, general manager of CONSOL Energy Center/SMG. "It's another sign that CONSOL Energy Center will be able to attract a wide variety of events for the people of this region."
Pitt will participate in the DIRECTV SEC/Big East Invitational for the first time since the event was created in 2007. Teams invited to participate in the DIRECTV SEC/Big East Invitational are selected by ESPN in consultation with the conferences and are based on geographic and competitive criteria. Each year, four teams participate from each conference in the two-day, two-location event. The Big East holds a 7-5 record in the three-year series. Additional information on the SEC/Big East Invitational can be found at www.secbigeastinvitational.com.
Tennessee is a program that advanced to the 2009 NCAA Regional Final where it dropped a 70-69 decision to Michigan State. The Volunteers have advanced to six consecutive NCAA Tournaments and made three NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances over the last four seasons. Dixon (188-54, .777 win percentage) and Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl (443-130, .773) both rank among the nation's top-5 active coaches in winning percentage. Pitt and Tennessee have played four times in men's basketball with the Volunteers claiming three of the four meetings.
For the 2010-11 season, Pitt returns four of five starters, seven of its top eight scorers, 86 percent of its scoring and 91 percent of its rebounding. In various preseason rankings, Pitt is already listed as a consensus top-10 nationally ranked team. Pitt concluded its 2009-10 season with a 25-9 overall record, a second consecutive second place finish in the Big East Conference with a 13-5 slate, the school's ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and a No. 3 seed upon entering the tourney. Prior to the year, Pitt was unranked and picked to finish ninth in the Big East by league coaches.
Pitt season ticketholders and Panther Club members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public. Complete details will be available at a later date.
2010 SEC/BIG EAST INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Freedom Hall, Louisville, Ky.
Seton Hall vs. Arkansas (ESPN2), 7 p.m. ET
Notre Dame vs. Kentucky (ESPN), 9:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Pittsburgh, Pa., CONSOL Energy Center
Auburn vs. Rutgers (ESPN2), TBA
Tennessee vs. Pitt (ESPN), TBA