Panthers head to Orlando as No. 9 seed

PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball team will enter the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament as a No. 9 seed in the South Region.

The Panthers (25-9, 11-7 ACC) will play No. 8 seed Colorado (23-11, 10-8 Pac-12) in a second-round matchup on Thursday at the Amway Center in Orlando.

The game is scheduled to tip off at 1:40 p.m. All games will be televised nationally.

The Pitt-Colorado winner will advance to the NCAA third round to face the winner of No. 1 seed Florida and the No. 16 seed, either Albany or Mount St. Mary’s. The third-round contest is scheduled for Saturday in Orlando.

Pitt is appearing in its 12th NCAA Tournament in the last 13 seasons. The Panthers previously earned berths in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Before this run, Pitt’s longest NCAA Tournament appearance streak was three-straight from 1987-89. Additionally, Jamie Dixon has guided the Panthers to NCAA championship appearances in 10 of his 11 seasons as head coach.

Pitt is one of only seven programs nationally to advance to the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the last 13 seasons (2002-14). Those schools include: Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Pitt, Texas and Wisconsin.

Since 2002, Pitt has advanced to five NCAA Regional Semifinals with one Elite Eight performance. Pitt is one of 15 schools nationwide to advance to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen at least five times since 2002.

Pitt, which has won 15 of its last 26 NCAA Tournament games, is making its 25th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance. Pitt is 23-25 all-time in 48 NCAA Tournament games.

Colorado finished tied for third in the Pac-12 regular-season standings. In the Pac-12 Conference Tournament, Colorado beat Southern California (59-56) and then California (59-56) before losing to Arizona in the semifinals, 63-43.

The Panthers have only faced the Buffaloes once in school history: a 25-23 Pitt victory in Colorado on Dec. 26, 1931.

Colorado features three active players averaging double figures in scoring: sophomore forward Josh Scott (14.1 ppg.), junior guard Askia Booker (14.0) and sophomore forward Xavier Johnson (12.0). The team’s leading scorer, Spencer Dinwiddie was ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL.