Nov. 13, 2008
PITTSBURGH--No. 5 ranked Pitt (27-10, 10-8 Big East in 2007-08) opens its 2008-09 men's basketball season on Friday, Nov. 14 when it hosts Fairleigh Dickinson at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.
Prior to Friday's tipoff, Pitt will raise a banner in honor of last year's 2008 Big East Championship. That presentation will occur prior to the playing of the National Anthem.
A win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday would give Pitt its 12th consecutive season opening victory since the 1997 season and its 29th straight home win over a non-conference opponent. The 29 consecutive non-conference home wins would set a school record. Pitt also won 28 straight from Nov. 23, 2002-Jan. 2, 2005. Pitt owns a 56-1 record in games against non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center.
Pitt is one of only four schools nationally to be ranked in the sports of football, men's basketball and women's basketball. Those schools include: Pitt, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.
Last week, Pitt claimed each of its two exhibition games. The Panthers defeated Seton Hill 102-51 on Nov. 2 and followed that performance with an 82-30 win over LaRoche on Nov. 9.
Pitt begins its 2008-09 season after winning the 2008 Big East Tournament and completing a 27-10 and 10-8 Big East slate last year. Pitt earned a school record seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament berth and won its second all-time Big East Championship. Pitt is one of only six schools nationally to appear in at least four Sweet Sixteens since 2002. Those programs include Duke (5), Kansas (5), Texas (5), UCLA (4), Pitt (4) and Connecticut (4). Pitt is one of only nine schools nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last seven seasons. The other schools include Arizona, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas and Wisconsin. Pitt is the only Big East Conference basketball program to advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last seven seasons. Villanova currently has a streak of four straight seasons in the NCAA Tournament.
Over the last seven years, Pitt has proven to be the winningest Big East Conference basketball program. From 2001-08, Pitt owns the league's top records for both league play (81-33) and overall games (189-51). It has averaged 11.6 league wins and 27 overall wins per year during that period. Pitt is the only Big East Conference school to win 20 or more overall games and 10 or more league contests in each of the last seven seasons. Last year, Pitt also set a school record with its seventh consecutive 20-overall win and 10-league win season. Prior to the 2001-02 season, Pitt won 20 or more games in only two consecutive seasons. Last year, Pitt also set a school record with its seventh consecutive 20-overall win and 10-league win season. Prior to the 2001-02 season, Pitt won 20 or more games in only two consecutive seasons. The 2007-08 season marked Pitt's 15th all-time 20-win season. In addition, Pitt is one of only four schools nationwide to advance to the NCAA Tournament, win 20 overall games and 10 league games in each of the last six seasons. Those programs include Arizona, Gonzaga, Kansas and Pitt.
Last season, Jamie Dixon (132-40) became the first head coach in school history to guide Pitt to five consecutive NCAA Tournaments. Additionally, Dixon has guided Pitt to Sweet Sixteen appearances in two of his first five seasons as Pitt's head coach (2004 and 2007). Additionally, Dixon (132 career wins) is the first coach in school history to win 20 or more games in five consecutive seasons. His 132 victories rank tied for the third most victories for a head coach after five seasons in NCAA history. North Carolina State's Everett Case totaled 137 wins from 1947-51.
Dixon enters the Fairleigh Dickinson game with an undefeated 24-0 career record in November games. In addition, he is 33-3 in contests played in December. Combining his November and December pre-conference games, Dixon owns a 57-3 record and is 60-4 overall vs. non-conference foes. Previously, Dixon won 45 consecutive games in both November and December before dropping a contest at No. 7 Wisconsin on Dec. 16, 2006.
TODAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt opens its 2008-09 men's basketball season Friday against Fairleigh Dickinson.
No. 5/6 Pitt returns six of its top nine players to a team that won the 2008 Big East Tournament title, finished 27-10 last year and advanced to its seventh straight NCAA Tournament.
A win vs. Fairleigh Dickinson would give Pitt its school-record 29th consecutive victory against non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt also won 28 consecutive non-conference home games from Nov. 23, 2002-Jan. 2, 2005.
Pitt begins its seventh season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 96-10 all-time record (.906 winning percentage) in the arena. Pitt owns a 56-1 record vs. non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Additionally, Pitt has won 77 of its last 78 home games against regular season non-conference opponents.
Pitt has won each of its last 11 consecutive opening day contests dating back to Nov. 17, 1997.
Pitt Tops Buffalo, 84-79, for Fifth Straight Home Win
GAME NOTES: Pitt Returns to Action Wednesday Against Buffalo
Pitt Falls to Duquesne in City Game
VIDEO: PantherVision Goes 1-on-1 with Stallings & Young
GAME NOTES: Pitt to Face Duquesne in City Game Friday
Johnson Nominated to NABC Good Works Team