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No. 5 Men's Basketball Hosts Rhode Island in Monday Season Opener




Nov. 7, 2010

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GAME ONE: RHODE ISLAND (26-10, 9-7 Atlantic 10 in 2009-10) vs. #5 PITT (25-9, 13-5 Big East in 2009-10)

 

2K Sports Classic/Coaches vs. Cancer • Monday, Nov. 8, 2010

7 p.m. ET • Petersen Events Center (12,508) • Pittsburgh, Pa.

 

MEDIA INFORMATION


 

 

Television: ESPN-U (Dan Shulman and Doris Burke, Sidelines: Andy Katz; Producer: Jeff Dufine).

Radio: Pitt Panthers/ISP Sports Radio Network (Rob King, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken),

93.7 The Fan (93.7-FM-KDKA). Satellite Radio: Not Available.

Internet Radio Broadcast: www.pittsburghpanthers.com;

Live Stats: http://www.pittsburghpanthers.com/gametracker/launch/gt_mbaskbl.html?event=939085&school=pitt&sport=mbaskbl&camefrom=&startschool=&)

 

The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 12th year at Pitt, 8th year as head coach (188-54);

Rhode Island: Jim Baron, 10th year at URI (157-128), 24th year overall (363-330).

 

Rankings: Pitt: AP-5; ESPN-4. Rhode Island: AP-NR; ESPN: NR (as of Nov. 7, 2010).

Series: Pitt and Rhode Island meet for the seventh time in series history. Pitt is 5-1 all-time vs.

Rhode Island and has won five straight vs. the Rams. The two schools last played a home-and-

home series in both 2001 and 2002. Pitt won both games. Pitt claimed a 58-51 decision at Fitzgerald

Field House on Dec. 15, 2001 and an 87-71 win at URI on Dec. 21, 2002.

 

GAME PREVIEW

 

PITTSBURGH--No. 5 ranked Pitt opens its 104th season of men's basketball and the entire college basketball season on Monday, Nov. 8 when it hosts Rhode Island (26-10/9-7 A-10 in 2009-10) at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET. The first college basketball game of the 2010-11 season marks the first of two 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer contests that Pitt will play at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt also hosts Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

 

The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN-U with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Doris Burke (color analyst) and Andy Katz (sidelines) making the call. Jeff Dufine will handle production.

 

A win over Rhode Island would give Pitt its 14th consecutive season opening victory since the 1997 season. Pitt enters the game with a 70-33 all-time record in 103 season openers dating back to the 1905-06 season. It has won 19 of its last 20 season openers and Jamie Dixon is a perfect 7-0 on opening night.

 

A win against Rhode Island would give Pitt its 48th consecutive home win over a non-conference opponent. That streak is a school record. Pitt has also won 96 of its last 97 home games against regular season non-conference opponents and is 75-1 vs. non-conference competition at the Petersen Events Center.

 

Pitt claimed each of its two exhibition games over both NAIA Division II Northwood, Fla. (104-62) and NCAA Division II Indiana, Pa. (73-56) on Thursday night. Both opponents enter the year as nationally ranked squads heading into the new season. Northwood, Fla. defeated NCAA Division I Florida Atlantic this week. With the victories, Pitt has now won 24 consecutive exhibition games dating back to a Nov. 10, 1998 loss to Marathon Oil. Head Coach Jamie Dixon is a perfect 16-0 in exhibition games since he became head coach in 2003-04 and the Panthers improved to 14-0 in exhibition games since the NCAA cleared other NCAA Division schools for competition.

 

Pitt returns four starters and seven of its top eight scorers from a 2009-10 team that finished 25-9 overall, ranked second in the Big East regular season with a 13-5 record, advanced to its ninth straight NCAA Tournament and earned a No. 3 seed upon entering the tourney. Last year's squad entered its season picked to finish ninth by the Big East league coaches. Pitt lost only one starter (Jermaine Dixon) from last year's team and returns 86 percent of its scoring, 88 percent of its rebounding and 84 percent of minutes played.

 

Rhode Island returns three starters and nine letterwinners from a 2009-10 squad that finished 26-10 overall and 9-7 in the Atlantic 10 Conference last year. The Rams won three consecutive games to advance to the NIT Final Four before falling to North Carolina, 68-67, in overtime. Pitt has won its last five consecutive matchups against Rhode Island and is 5-1 all-time vs. the Rams. Pitt is 130-82 all-time vs. Atlantic-10 Conference competition. URI Director of Basketball Operations Dan Szramowski is a Pitt graduate and former Pitt basketball manager.

 

TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES

 

•Pitt opens its 104th season of men's basketball on Monday against Rhode Island.

 

•Pitt begins its ninth season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 132-11 record (.923 winning percentage) in the arena. Pitt owns a 75-1 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers have won 38 of their last 39 home games.

 

•Pitt is riding a 47-game home win streak against non-conference opponents. Pitt has won 96 of its last 97 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.

 

•Over the last nine seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning percentage (245-65, .790), league winning percentage (109-41, .727), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (9) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (9).

 

•Pitt is one of only three programs to win more than 20+ games, 10+ league games and advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last nine seasons (Gonzaga, Kansas, Pitt).