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Zanna & Young to "Battle" in Pitt vs. Florida Matchup

ORLANDO, Fla.--At-large selection and No. 9 seed Pitt (26-9, 11-7 ACC) advances to NCAA Tournament Third Round play to face No. 1 ranked and No. 1 seeded Florida (33-2, 18-0 SEC) at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. on Saturday, March 22. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. ET.

The contest will be televised nationally on CBS with Brian Anderson (play-by-play) and Pittsburgh native Dan Bonner (color analysis) making the call, along with Kristine Leahy handling sideline reports. Jonathan Segel will handle production.

Pitt advanced to the tourney's Third Round with an impressive and convincing 29-point, 77-48 victory over No. 8 seed Colorado on Thursday. The 29-point victory marked its largest NCAA Tournament win in school history. The Panthers jumped out a 13-0 lead from the opening tipoff, used an 8-0 run to take a commanding 23-5 lead, then finished off the half by extending the margin to 28 points at the half (46-18). Talib Zanna scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the first half, Cameron Wright added 11 points and Lamar Patterson contributed 10 points on two key 3-pointers.

Playing its best basketball of the year, Pitt has now won six of its last eight games. It is 4-1 after winning a dramatic overtime game at Clemson in which at Josh Newkirkjumper at the buzzer sent the game into overtime after Pitt trailed by five points with 12 seconds left to play. Since the overtime period at Clemson, Pitt has played outstanding basketball.

A victory on Saturday would give Pitt its sixth NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in the last 13 seasons. Pitt is one of only 15 schools nationwide to appear in at least five NCAA Sweet Sixteens in the last 12 years. Pitt is competing in its 12th NCAA Championship in the last 13 seasons and 25th all-time NCAA Tournament. Pitt is one of only seven programs nationally to advance to 12 of the last 13 NCAA Tournaments. Those programs include Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas and Wisconsin. Since 2002, Pitt is 16-11 in its 27 NCAA Tournament games, reaching the Elite Eight once and Sweet Sixteen five times. In a 64-team format, Pitt has advanced past the round of 16 just one time (2009). In 1973-74, Pitt also earned an Elite Eight appearance in a 32-team tournament.

In addition, Jamie Dixon owns a 12-9 record in his 21 NCAA Tournament games and 10 appearances. Dixon is 8-2 in NCAA Tournament first games. Since 2001-02, Pitt is 10-2 in the NCAA Tournament First/Second Round.

Pitt concluded its season with an ACC-best 7-2 road record on the year. That record also tied for its best league road record in school history. Pitt also went 7-2 in 2010-11 (see chart on page 3). In addition, an impressive 13 of Pitt's 26 wins have come away from the Petersen Events Center (seven wins in away games and six wins in neutral contests). Pitt is a combined 13-4 in games played away from the Petersen Events Center.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times