Dec. 29, 2012
GAME 14: #8 CINCINNATI (12-1, 0-0 Big East) at #24 PITT (12-1, 0-0 Big East)
Monday, December 31, 2012 Noon ET Petersen Events Center (12,508) Pittsburgh, Pa.
Television: ESPN2 (Marc Kestecher and Bob Knight; Producer: Eric Mosley).
Pitt Radio: Pitt IMG Sports Network (Bill Hillgrove, Dick Groat and Curtis Aiken). 93.7 The Fan, 93.7 FM; Satellite Radio: Sirius-123 (Pitt feed), XM-190 (Pitt feed).
Internet Radio Broadcast/Live Stats: www.pittsburghpanthers.com.
Coaches: Pitt: Jamie Dixon, 14th year at Pitt, 10th year as head coach (250-78); Cincinnati: Mick Cronin, 7th year at UC (125-89), 10th year overall (194-113).
Rankings: Pitt: AP-24; ESPN-24; Cincinnati: AP-8; ESPN-8.
Series: Pitt and Cincinnati meet for the 17th time in basketball history with the series deadlocked at 8-8. Pitt has won five of the series' last six games and is 5-3 at home vs. the Bearcats. Cincinnati defeated the Panthers 66-63 in last year's Big East opener on January 1, 2012.
PITTSBURGH--No. 24 Pitt (12-1, 0-0 Big East) opens Big East Conference play against No. 8 Cincinnati (12-1, 0-0 Big East) on New Year's Eve (Monday, December 31) at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at Noon ET.
The contest will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with Marc Kestecher and Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight making the call. Pitt graduate Eric Mosley will handle production.
Riding an eight-game win streak and a 15-game home win streak, Pitt enters its final Big East Conference regular season and 14th game with a 12-1 record. Ranked No. 24 in both polls, Pitt plays its first game of the year as a nationally ranked team. The Panthers are ranked for the first week in 19 polls. It plays its second nationally ranked team of the year in No. 8 Cincinnati. Pitt owns a perfect 12-0 record vs. top-10 nationally ranked teams in the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is 16-6 vs. top-25 opponents in the Petersen Events Center and the game represents the 20th all-time meeting between ranked opponents in the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is 15-4 in those matchups.
Pitt has accomplished its 12-1 record with total team effort while utilizing a 10-man rotation. All 10 of its players are averaging 3.6 points or more and all 10 are playing at least 10.9 minutes per game. Through its first 13 games, Pitt has outscored its opponents by a plus-24.3 margin, shot 51.8 percent (375-724) from the floor and outrebounded its opponents by plus-11.0 boards per game. Pitt has forced 14.3 turnovers per game and totaled 95 steals for a 7.3 steals per game average, numbers that are uncommonly high for the Panthers. Pitt has also dominated the inside, having outscored its opponents 502-258 in the paint. The Panthers' bench also has outscored their opponents by a 350-154 total. Additionally, Pitt has assisted on 68.0 percent (255 of 375) of its total field goals.
In the NCAA statistical rankings (as of Dec. 23, 2012), Pitt ranks among the nation's top-20 teams in 10 statistical categories: 2nd in scoring defense, 2nd in scoring margin, 4th in field goal percentage, 9th in rebound margin, 6th in won-loss percentage, 2nd in assists per game, 1st in assist:turnover ratio, 1st in fewest turnovers per game, 13th in turnover margin, 19th in personal fouls per game.
Currently on a 15-game home win streak, which ties for the seventh longest of its kind in school history, Pitt owns a 69-16 all-time record vs. Big East Conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is also 101-3 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 49-1 record in November non-conference home games and has a 48-1 record in December non-conference matchups.
Pitt enters its conference opener against Cincinnati after defeating Kennesaw State 59-43 on Dec. 23. Talib Zanna led Pitt with 12 points and nine rebounds as all 10 Panthers players scored in the contest. Pitt used a 10-3 first half rally to take control of the game with a 14-point halftime lead (30-16). Pitt outrebounded the Owls 38-21, grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and held KSU to 16 first half points. It also marked the fifth consecutive Pitt opponent who was held below 50 points or less.
Pitt has won 80 of its last 110 games and 85 of its last 116, 228 of its last 301 contests, 95 of its last 144 Big East regular season games and 140 of its last 151 non-conference games.
MONDAY'S TOP STORYLINES
Pitt enters Monday's game with a perfect 12-0 record vs. top-10 ranked teams at the Petersen Events Center.
The game marks the 20th contest in which two ranked teams meet at the Petersen Events Center. Pitt is 15-4 in those 19 games and is 16-6 vs. top-25 teams at the PEC.
Pitt has won 15 consecutive home games, which ranks as the seventh longest home win streak in school history.
Pitt is in its 11th season in the Petersen Events Center and carries a 174-19 overall record (.902) in the arena. Pitt is also 69-16 all-time vs. Big East opponents at the PEC. The Panthers have won 80 of their last 89 home games and 31 of their last 38 Big East Conference home games.
Over the last 11 years, Pitt has been the Big East Conference's leader in overall winning percentage (307-88, .777), league winning percentage (129-57, .694), Big East Championships (six), Big East Tournament wins (20) and NCAA Tourney appearances (10).
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