It has been a year, but the Pitt Men’s Basketball program is back where it belongs- in the national rankings.
Jamie Dixon’s Panthers earned their first national rating of the 2012-13 season when it was ranked No. 24 in this afternoon’s USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ poll. Pitt earned 97 total votes and is one of six Big East teams ranked in this week’s top-25 poll. The Associated Press poll will also be released this afternoon.
Pitt, 12-1 after the non-conference schedule ended Sunday with a win over Kennesaw State, returns to the national rankings for the first time in 19 weeks and in the first poll since December 26, 2011.
Prior to the past year, Pitt spent a string of 40 consecutive weeks in the national rankings. The Panthers have been ranked in 166 of the last 198 national polls, have spent at least one week ranked among the nation’s top-10 in each of the last 11 seasons (2002-12) and ascended to the No. 1 ranking for a total of three weeks during the 2008-09 season.
Pitt begins Big East Conference play on Monday, Dec. 31 at the Petersen Events Center against No. 8 Cincinnati (12-0). Tipoff is at noon. Pitt enters the game with a perfect 12-0 record vs. top-10 ranked opponents at the Petersen Events Center (via University Press Release).