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No. 3 Men's Basketball Takes on No. 11 Tennessee on Saturday at CONSOL Energy Center

Dante Taylor goes up for a dunk on Wednesday against Delaware State.

Dante Taylor goes up for a dunk on Wednesday against Delaware State.

Dec. 9, 2010

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#11 TENNESSEE (6-0, 0-0 SEC) vs. #3 PITT (10-0, 0-0 Big East)

 

SEC Big East Invitational • Saturday, December 11, 2010 • 3:15 p.m. ET

CONSOL Energy Center (19,100) • Downtown Pittsburgh, Pa.

 

MEDIA INFORMATION

Television: ESPN (Sean McDonough and Jay Bilas; Producer: Jeff Dufine); ESPN-3D (Mark Jones and Mark Gottfried; Producer: Ben Cerny). The ESPN-3D broadcast can be accessed by Pittsburgh Comcast subscribers on Channel 980. Comcast digital subscribers must have 3D TVs, glasses and HDMI cables. Customers with 3D equipment must call Comcast at 1-800-COMCAST to have the channel authorized at no cost to their account.


 

 

Radio: Panther Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken), 93.7 The Fan (93.7-FM-KDKA). Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 127 (Pitt feed).

Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.

The Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 12th year at Pitt, 8th year as head coach (198-54); Tennessee: Bruce Pearl, 6th year at Tennessee (132-46), 19th year overall (449-130).

Rankings: Pitt: AP-3; ESPN-3. Tennessee: AP-11; ESPN-13.

Series: Pitt and Tennessee meet for the fifth time in series history. Tennessee holds a 3-1 advantage in the series. Pitt enters the game vs. UT on a six-game win streak against Southeastern Conference opponents dating back to a Dec. 31, 2002 loss at Georgia. Pitt owns a 22-25 all-time record vs. schools from the SEC.

 

GAME PREVIEW

 

PITTSBURGH--No. 3 ranked Pitt (10-0) plays in its first DIRECTV SEC Big East Invitational when it faces No. 11 Tennessee (6-0) for a neutral site game on Saturday, December 11 at the CONSOL Energy Center. Tipoff is at 3:15 p.m. ET. The matchup is part of a two-game doubleheader featuring Rutgers and Auburn in the day's first game at 12:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2).

 

The game will be broadcast on ESPN with Sean McDonough (play-by-play) and Jay Bilas (color analyst) calling action. Jeff Dufine will handle production. In addition, ESPN will produce an ESPN-3D broadcast. Mark Jones (play-by-play) and Mark Gottfried (color) and producer Ben Cerny will handle production for that broadcast.

 

Pitt's 70-42 win over Delaware State on Wednesday gave it a perfect 10-0 start to its season for the seventh time in the last eight years. Pitt has begun a season with a 10-0 start only nine times in school history (1927-28, 1929-30, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and now 2010-11). The Panthers have already registered three quality RPI wins over Rhode Island, Maryland and Texas. Recently, Pitt improved to 10-0 with a home win over Rider (87-68) on Saturday, a neutral site win against Duquesne (80-66) in the first-ever basketball game at Consol Energy Center and back-to-back home wins over Robert Morris (74-53) and Penn (82-58). Since the 2001-02 season, Pitt is 48-4 in December games and has won 47 of its last 48 November games.

 

Pitt and Tennessee are two of the nation's top rebounding teams. Pitt ranks No. 1 nationally in rebound margin by a considerable difference. Tennessee ranks No. 17.

 

In No. 11 Tennessee, Pitt plays its first nationally ranked opponent of the year and first nationally rated non-conference opponent since it lost to No. 3 Texas, 78-62, in the CBE Classic in Kansas City last November. Pitt enters the game after having won six consecutive games against Southeastern Conference opponents since a December 31, 2002 loss at Georgia. Tennessee and Pitt have met four times in college basketball with the Vols claiming three of the four matchups. The last matchup was at Fitzgerald Field House, a 76-50 Tennessee win.

 

Pitt's win over Delaware State gave it its 10th non-conference victory for a 10th consecutive season. Since Pitt joined the Big East Conference in 1982-83 and prior to this run, Pitt has won 10 or more non-conference games in only the three previous years. This year marks the 13th season and 10th consecutive year that Pitt has won 10 or more non-conference games.

 

In only his eighth season as Pitt's head coach, Jamie Dixon is quickly approaching the 200 career victory plateau. He needs just two more wins and currently has 198 career wins. Dixon will tie the NCAA Division I record for quickest to 200 wins in only eight seasons, matching the record held by Gonzaga's Mark Few and Kansas' Roy Williams. He will rank among the all-time top-17 in quickest to 200 victories in regards to total games (see charts on page 4). He will also become the fastest coach in school history to reach the 200-win plateau (see chart on page 6). Dixon (198-54) became the first head coach in school history to guide Pitt to seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. With his 188 wins, Dixon tied the NCAA Division I all-time record for most victories after seven seasons as a head coach. He tied Gonzaga's Few, who held the record with 188 wins from 2000-06. In 2008-09, Dixon also set the NCAA Division I record for most wins after the first six seasons as a head coach.

 

SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES

 

•Pitt will play in its first SEC Big East Invitational and its second game at the CONSOL Energy Center. It defeated Duquesne in the arena's first basketball game on Dec. 1.

 

•Tennessee and Pitt represent two of the nation's best rebounding teams. Pitt leads the nation in rebound margin, while UT ranks 17th in the latest NCAA statistics.

 

•With 198 career victories, Jamie Dixon needs just two more wins to reach the 200-career win plateau. He will tie an NCAA Division I record for fastest to 200 victories (by year) and will rank among the all-time coaching leaders in achieving that mark in the games category.

 

•Pitt is off to a 10-0 start to a season for the seventh time in the last eight years.

 

•Over the last nine seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning percentage (255-65, .797), league winning percentage (109-41, .727), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (9) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (9).