PITT PANTHERS On The Prowl For Hoops Championship!

joel kirsteinCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 12: Jermaine Dixon #3 of the Pittsburgh Panthers jumps to save a ball against John Flowers #41 of the West Virginia Mountaineers during the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The hunt is on! The University of Pittsburgh Panthers Men's basketball are the No. 1 Seed in the East Regional in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. They finished the season ranked 4th in the major national polls.

The Panthers begin their quest for the school's first basketball national championship Friday night against the 16th seed, East Tennessee State. PITT twice knocked off fellow Big East powerhouse UConn from the No. 1 spot ranking.

Pittsburgh was one of seven teams from the Big East conference invited to the dance and three of the four regional top seeds, Louisville, UConn and Pittsburgh are Big East teams.

Heavily favored by experts and the pundits, the Panthers look to get past the Sweet Sixteen bracket for the first time ever. If successful, PITT would bring the school it's first athletic national championship since 1976.