Pitt freshman Josh Newkirk plays his first collegiate game Friday at the Petersen Events Center.
Nov. 7, 2013
GAME ONE: SAVANNAH STATE (19-15, 11-5 MEAC) at PITT (24-9, 12-6 Big East in 2012-13)
Friday, November 8, 2013 7 p.m. ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN3 (Tim Neverett and Curtis Aiken; Producer: Bill Shissler).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Marcus Bowman). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-TBA (Pitt feed), XM-TBA (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Pitt Coach: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 15th year at Pitt, 11th year as head coach (262-86); Savannah State: Horace Broadnax, 8th year at SVSU (86-122); 13th year overall (128-212).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-ARV; USA Today-ARV (preseason rankings); SVSU: AP-NR; USA Today-NR.
Series: Pitt and Savannah State meet for the second time in series history. Pitt holds a 1-0 advantage against Savannah State, as the Panthers defeated the Tigers 87-35 on December 1, 2001 at Fitzgerald Field House. The 52-point win marked the fourth largest victory in school history. Pitt enters the game with a 24-0 all-time record vs. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. members. Pitt has won each of its last 16 season opening games dating back to Nov. 24, 1996.
PITTSBURGH--Pitt (24-9 overall/12-6 Big East in 2012-13) opens its 107th overall season and inaugural year in the Atlantic Conference on Friday, Nov. 8 when it hosts Savannah State (19-15 overall/11-5 MEAC in 2012-13) at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. ET.
The contest will be televised nationally on ESP3 with Tim Neverett and former Pitt basketball player Curtis Aiken handling play-by-play and color commentary duties respectively. Bill Shissler will handle production.
A win over Savannah State would give Pitt its 17th consecutive season opening victory since 1997. Pitt enters the game with a 73-33 all-time record in its 106 season openers dating back to the 1905-06 season. It has won 22 of its last 23 season openers and Jamie Dixon is a perfect 10-0 on opening night.
Pitt enters the 2013-14 season with a 101-3 record vs. non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt has also won 122 of its last 126 home games against regular season non-conference opponents. Since the Petersen Events Center opened in 2002, Pitt owns a 50-2 record in November non-conference games and a 49-2 record December games.
Pitt claimed each of its two exhibition games vs. UC San Diego (72-59 on Oct. 25) and Slippery Rock (96-60 on Nov. 1). With the two exhibition wins, Pitt has now won 30 consecutive exhibition games dating back to a Nov. 10, 1988 loss to Marathon Oil. Head coach Jamie Dixon is a perfect 22-0 in exhibition games since he became head coach in 2003-04 and the Panthers improved to 20-0 in exhibition contests since the NCAA cleared other NCAA Division II and III schools for competition. Combining Pitt's two exhibition games, the Panthers averaged 84.0 points, shot 47.8 percent (55-115) from the floor and 41.7 percent (15-36) from 3-point range. Talib Zanna led the Panthers in both scoring (15.5 ppg.) and rebounding (9.5 rpg.), while three others averaged in double figure scoring including Lamar Patterson (13.5 ppg.), Durand Johnson (13.5 ppg.) and Cameron Wright (11.0 ppg.).
Savannah State finished 19-15 overall and 11-5 in the MEAC last season. In its only exhibition game this year, SVSU defeated Armstrong Atlantic 73-61 on Oct. 31. Savannah State is coached by former Georgetown player Horace Broadnax. Pitt and Savannah State meet for the second time in series history as the Panthers claimed an 87-35 win on Dec. 1, 2001. Pitt is 24-0 all-time vs. teams from the MEAC.
Pitt returns three starters-Patterson, Zanna and James Robinson-and two of its top three scorers from a 2012-13 team that finished 24-9 overall, 12-6 and in fourth place in its final year in the Big East Conference and earned an 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 12 seasons. In addition, Pitt won 20-plus overall games for the 12th consecutive season. Pitt's 24 victories rank as the 12th-most wins in school history. Pitt's defense was one of the nation's best. The Panthers allowed just 56.0 points per game on the year (8th-best in the nation), a mark that set the school record for scoring defense, surpassing the previous record of 56.4 points allowed per game set in 2003-04. On the year, Pitt limited 12 opponents to 50 points or less, 19 of its 33 opponents under 60 points and 29 of 33 opponents under 70 points.
In mid-October, Pitt was picked by Atlantic Coast Conference media members to finish sixth among 15 schools.
Pitt has won 92 of its last 130 overall games, 97 of its last 136, 241 of its last 321 contests, 107 of its last 161 league regular season games and 142 of its last 154 non-conference games.
FRESHMAN FIRST-GAME STARTERS
Pitt freshman Michael Young has the opportunity to become just the 14th all-time freshman first game starter at Pitt since freshmen were sanctioned to compete by the NCAA in 1972-73. Only 13 other freshmen started their first collegiate game at Pitt including Steven Adams and James Robinson in last year's season opener vs. Mount St. Mary's on Nov. 9, 2012.
PITT TO ACC NOTES
*Pitt begins its first basketball season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame join the league this year, while Louisville will enter next season.
*Jamie Dixon owns an 11-0 record vs. members of the old ACC (not counting Notre Dame and Syracuse).
*Dixon owns a 27-10 overall record in head-to-head matchups vs. current ACC teams. Here is Dixon's breakdown: Boston College 3-0, Duke 1-0, Florida State 3-0, Maryland 1-0, Miami 1-0, Notre Dame 6-6, Syracuse 10-4, Virginia Tech 2-0.
*Pitt owns a 140-170 all-time record vs. current members of the ACC.
*Pitt received its first signee from the ACC region in freshman guard Josh Newkirk, who is from Raleigh, N.C.
FRIDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
*Pitt opens its 107th season of men's basketball on Friday night when it hosts Savannah State for a non-conference matchup.
*Pitt begins its 12th season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 180-22 record (.891) in the arena. The Panthers have won 86 of their last 98 home games and 37 of their last 47 conference home games.
*Pitt owns a 101-3 record and .971 winning percentage vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers have won 122 of their last 126 home games against regular season non-conference home opponents.
*When comparing ACC basketball programs over the last 12 years, Pitt ranks second among league programs in overall winning percentage (319-96, .769), league winning percentage (141-63, .691), homecourt winning percentage (.891) and NCAA Tournament appearances (11).