Pitt wants to protect Petersen Events Center
There was a time when Petersen Events Center was recognized as one of the most intimidating places to play in college basketball and Pitt was nearly unbeatable at home.
The Panthers are hoping that last season was an anomaly. They went 15-7 at the Pete, including a 4-6 record in Big East play. That's more home losses in one season than they had in their first four years the center was open.
“Before, teams used to be scared to come to Pittsburgh, I guess, to play us,” Pitt junior swingman Lamar Patterson said, “but the way we lost at home last year, teams feel like they can do it all the time. It's our job to make sure we regain that home-court advantage.”
Pitt hopes to start by opening Big East play with a home win. The No. 24 Panthers (12-1) play No. 8 Cincinnati (12-1) at noon Monday. The Bearcats won, 66-63, last New Year's Day at the Pete.
If history is any indication, the Panthers are poised for victory. They are 12-0 against top-10 opponents and 16-6 against top-25 foes at Petersen Events Center. This marks the 20th meeting between ranked teams at the Pete — Pitt is 15-4 in such games — and the first game of the Panthers' final season in the Big East.
“You've got to win your home games,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “That's something we must do, something we understand.”
Dixon doesn't have to remind the Panthers of the consequences. Their loss to Cincinnati a year ago was the third in an eight-game losing streak that saw their season spiral out of control. Pitt finished in 13th place, snapping its 10-year streak of NCAA Tournament appearances.
“The main thing we learned was the feeling of being at the bottom of the Big East,” Patterson said. “We want to win games that we're supposed to win.
“Starting off the Big East is good. It's a good thing to get these wins under your belt early on so if there is a little drop, it won't hurt you that much.”
Pitt's only defeat this season was to Michigan on Nov. 21 at the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden. Cincinnati is coming off a 55-54 home loss to New Mexico on Thursday.
The game also marks the Big East debut for two Pitt freshmen, center Steven Adams and guard James Robinson, against a veteran Bearcats team that starts five upperclassmen. They've already been given instructions on the most important part of playing at the Pete.
“Just protect the home court, period,” senior guard Tray Woodall said, “regardless of who we're playing.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7812.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt’s Wright excelling in classroom
- Panthers still clinging to hope entering home finale
- Pitt’s McConnell-Serio nominated for Naismith award
- Safety Vinopal, other former Panthers perform for NFL scouts at Pitt’s Pro Day
- Defensive woes resurface for Pitt men’s basketball team
- At Pitt, a chance to make early impression under Narduzzi
- Role change suiting Pitt’s Jones just fine
- Pitt women end regular season with win over Clemson
- Pitt’s weakness ‘pretty obvious’ to all
- Against Wake Forest, Pitt looks to reverse fortunes on road
- Pitt’s Young leaves impression with inside game