Dec. 15, 2011
GAME 11: SOUTH CAROLINA STATE (4-6) at #15 PITT (9-1)
Saturday, December 17, 2011 6 p.m. ET
Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: Pitt Panthers Television, ESPN3, SNY (SportsnetNY), (Jeff Hathhorn and Curtis Aiken; Producer: Bill Shissler).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG College Sports Radio Network (Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat) 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-117; XM-191 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 13th year at Pitt, 9th year as head coach (225-61); South Carolina State: Tim Carter, 5th year at SCSU (62-46), 16th year overall (222-228).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-15; ESPN-14; South Carolina State: AP-NR; ESPN-NR.
Series: Pitt and South Carolina State meet for the first time in series history. Pitt is an undefeated 20-0 all-time vs. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schools (Coppin State 3-0, Delaware State 3-0, Florida A&M 1-0, Howard 3-0, Maryland-Eastern Shore 2-0, Morgan State 2-0, Norfolk State 2-0, North Carolina A&T 3-0, Savannah State 1-0).
PITTSBURGH--No. 15 ranked and defending Big East regular season champion Pitt (9-1) returns to Pittsburgh to play MEAC foe South Carolina State (4-6) on Saturday, December 17. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. ET at the Petersen Events Center.
The South Carolina State game marks the first of three home non-conference games-St. Francis, Pa. (Dec. 20) and Wagner (Dec. 23)- before the Panthers begin Big East Conference play at Notre Dame on Dec. 27.
The contest will be televised by Pitt Panthers Television with Jeff Hathhorn and Curtis Aiken calling action. Bill Shissler. will manage production.
On a seven-game win streak, Pitt enters its 11th game with a 9-1 record. For the 10th time in the last 11 years, Pitt begins a season with a 9-1 record or better. The only season in which Pitt began with a lesser record over the season's first 10 games was in 2009-10 when it started 8-2. The 9-1 start ranks among Pitt's all-time best starts in school history. Over the last 11 seasons, Pitt has begun a season undefeated at 10-0 seven times: 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11.
A win on Saturday would give Pitt 10 non-conference wins for the 11th straight year. In the previous 12 seasons (1988-2001), Pitt failed to win 10 non-conference games at least one time.
Pitt is coming off a 74-68 Carquest Auto Parts Classic win over Oklahoma State on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Madison Square Garden. The win improved Pitt to 27-13 at Madison Square Garden since 2000-01. Dixon improved to 19-11 the arena. Pitt used 53.1 percent (26-49) and outrebounded the Cowboys by 18 boards (43-25) in registering the win. Ashton Gibbs scored 17 points, Nasir Robinson added 15 (7-12 FG) and Lamar Patterson totaled his first career double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven assists.
Pitt also defeated VMI 97-70 on Dec. 6 and Pitt set a school record for rebounds (60) and a Petersen Events Center record for most points scored in a half (57 in the first half) en route to the win. Robinson notched his second consecutive double-double (19 points/14 rebounds), Gibbs scored 20 points and three others added double figure scoring off the bench: J.J. Moore (16), John Johnson (13) and Dante Taylor (10).
With two road wins, Pitt ranks among the nation's top-60 in ratings percentage index, according to realtimerpi.com. That is a typical ranking for Pitt at this point in the season.
SATURDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt is off to a 9-1 or better start for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons.
Pitt is in its 10th season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 154-13 record (.922) in the arena. Pitt also owns an 89-2 record vs. non-conference opponents in the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers have won 60 of their last 63 home games.
Pitt has won 61 of its last 62 games and 110 of its last 112 home games against non-conference opponents.
Over the last 10 seasons, Pitt has proved to be the Big East's leader in overall winning percentage (282-72, .797), league winning percentage (124-44, .740), consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (10) and most 20-win, 10-win Big East years (10).
Pitt is one of only three programs nationally to win more than 20+ games, 10+ league games and advance to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 10 seasons (Gonzaga, Kansas and Pitt).