Pitt enters the contest ranked No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll. The Panthers remain unranked in the Associated Press poll with 118 points. South Carolina is unranked in both polls.
Pitt begins a year at 9-0 for the fourth consecutive season since 2002-03. The 9-0 start ranks as the sixth best start in school history. Last year, Pitt began its season with a 10-0 record. It went 18-0 to start the 2003-04 season and 9-0 in 2002-03. The school record is 21 straight wins by the 1927-28 which finished 21-0 and was crowned national champions. Pitt's nine game win streak ranks among the school's all-time longest win streaks.
The Panthers enter the contest on a nine-game winning streak after holding eight consecutive opponents to 60 points or less. The last time Pitt held eight or more opponents to 60 points or less was during the 1948-49 season. From Jan. 28, 1949-March 5, 1949, Pitt held 11 straight opponents to 60 points or less. Pitt actually won only four of those 11 games en route to a 12-13 year.
On Wednesday, Dec. 21, Pitt defeated Coppin State by 26 points (77-51) to register its ninth straight win. Previously, Pitt defeated Vermont 63-52 and registered a 37-point victory over Penn State (91-54), its largest in the 145-game series. The Panthers also defeated Duquesne 71-60 and Auburn by 37 points (78-41).
Pitt is 8-0 at home this season. Its current eight-game home win streak ranks tied for ninth among the school's all-time longest home win streaks. Pitt owns a 56-5 record and .918 winning percentage in the four-year-old Petersen Events Center. The Panthers are 36-1 overall (.973) against non-conference foes in the Petersen Events Center and have won 57 of their last 58 home games against non-conference opponents.
South Carolina enters the contest with a 7-3 overall record. South Carolina has claimed two of its last three games after dropping a 63-50 loss at Temple last Thursday. The Gamecocks have lost games to Temple, Clemson (82-63) and against Marquett (92-89 in double overtime) in the Great Alaska Shootout title game.
Pitt and South Carolina meet for just the seventh time in history as the Panthers have claimed only one of the previous six matchups. Pitt won last year's meeting 72-68 as it used a 20-point, 12-rebound performance from Chevon Troutman and Carl Krauser's 14-point, 10-13 free throw evening to defeat the Gamecocks.
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