Panthers Clinch Double-Bye For Big East

Panthers Clinch Double-Bye For Big East

Panthers will face either Syracuse, Seton Hall or South Florida in Big East semifinals on Thursday.

Providence, R.I.—With Saturday's 81-66 win at DePaul, the University of Pittsburgh has clinched a double bye upon entering its final Big East Championship next week at New York's Madison Square Garden. The No. 4 seeded Panthers (24-7, 12-6 Big East) open their 31st Big East Tournament on Thursday, March 14 at 2 p.m. ET in a Quarterfinal Round matchup against one of three opponents: No. 5 seed Syracuse (23-8, 11-7 Big East), No. 12 Seton Hall (14-17, 3-15 Big East) or No. 13 South Florida (12-18, 3-15 Big East). All of Pitt's Big East Championship games will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Should Pitt win Thursday's contest, it would advance to the Semifinal Round matchup set for Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. A win in that game would give Pitt a berth in the Big East Championship Game, scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The 2013 Championship will mark the 31st anniversary of the Big East at Madison Garden, marking the longest-running conference tournament at one venue in the country.

Pitt has advanced to seven of the last 12 Big East Championship Finals and has captured two tournament titles in both 2003 and 2008. Pitt owns a 20-11 record in Big East Championship games since 2000-01. Named Madison Square Garden's "Team of the Decade" from 2000-10, Pitt has claimed 18 of its last 27 contests at MSG and owns a sterling 30-15 record at MSG since 2000-01. The first Big East Tournament game will be its 46th game at MSG since the 2000-01 season and 89th all-time.

Since 2000-01, Pitt has claimed a league-leading 20 victories at the Big East Championships, followed by Syracuse (16), Connecticut (16), Georgetown (14), Louisville (11) and Villanova (10).

Pitt has also won six all-time Big East regular season titles and three league outright titles (1987-88, 2003-04 and 2010-11). Since the 2000-01 season, Pitt has claimed a league-leading six total Big East championships (four regular season titles—2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2010-11 and two tournament titles—2003, 2008).

Over the last 12 seasons, Pitt ranks among the nation's top-5 in overall winning percentage (319-94) and owns the Big East's best regular season record (141-63).

PITT'S 2012 BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES

*Pitt has appeared in seven of the last 12 Big East Championship Finals (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008). Previously, only one school in Big East history matched that run: Syracuse (7 of 8 from 1986-93). It has appeared in three of the last seven Big East Championship Finals (2006, 2007 and 2008) and advanced to four consecutive title games from 2001-04.

*Pitt is one of four programs to capture at least two Big East Championship titles since 2000-01: Connecticut-3, Pitt-2, Louisville-2 and Syracuse-2.

*Pitt has won 20 of its last 31 Big East Championship games dating back to the 1999-00 season. The 20 wins rank as the most victories of any program during that time period: Pitt-20, Syracuse-16, Connecticut-16, Georgetown-14, Louisville-11, Villanova-10.

*Pitt Head Coach Jamie Dixon enters his 10th and final Big East Championship with a 12-8 tournament record. In 2008, he guided Pitt to its second all-time Big East Tournament title and its seventh Big East Championship Finals appearance in school history.

*In 31 years since joining the Big East Conference, Pitt has won the title two times (2003 and 2008) and advanced to the title game in seven tournaments (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008). It defeated UConn, 74-56, in the 2003 title game and Georgetown, 74-65, in 2008-09. Pitt has advanced to three of the last seven title games.

*Madison Square Garden is Pitt's home away from home. Pitt is 30-15 at Madison Square Garden since the 2001-02 season.

*Pitt features five players and one staff member who are New York City area natives. The student-athletes include Dante Taylor (Greenburgh, N.Y), J.J. Moore (Brentwood, Long Island), Tray Woodall (Brooklyn) and Chris Jones (Teaneck, N.J.), along with Assistant Coach Brandin Knight (East Orange, N.J.).

2013 BIG EAST MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all games are played at New York's Madison Square Garden)

Tuesday, March 12, First Round
No. 13 South Florida vs. No. 12 Seton Hall, 7 p.m., ESPNU
No. 14 DePaul vs. No. 11 Rutgers, 9 p.m., ESPNU

Wednesday, March 13, Second Round
No. 9 Cincinnati vs. No. 8 Providence, Noon, ESPN
No. 13-12 winner vs. No. 5 Syracuse, 2 p.m., ESPN
No. 10 St. John's vs. No. 7 Villanova, 7 p.m., ESPN2
No. 14-11 winner vs. No. 6 Notre Dame, 9 p.m., ESPN2

Thursday, March 14, Quarterfinals
No. 1 Georgetown vs. Cincinnati-Providence winner, Noon, ESPN
No. 4 Pittsburgh vs. 5/13/12 winner, 2 p.m., ESPN
No. 2 Louisville vs. St. John's-Villanova, winner, 7 p.m., ESPN
No. 3 Marquette vs. 6/11/14 winner, 9 p.m., ESPN

Friday, March 15 Semifinals
Thursday afternoon winners, 7 p.m., ESPN
Thursday evening winners, 9 p.m., ESPN

Saturday, March 16, Big East Championship Final
Semifinal winners 8:30 p.m., ESPN

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