Series finale vs. WVU?

February 15, 2012 12:01 am

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Fans attending the West Virginia-Pitt game Thursday night at Petersen Events Center might want to hang onto their game programs. The 184th installment of the men's basketball Backyard Brawl could be the last one for a while.

West Virginia is moving to the Big 12 Conference July 1 and there are no guarantees the two schools will play a non-conference game in 2012-13.

Pitt and West Virginia first played a men's basketball game in 1904 and have played every season since 1917-18. For the past eight seasons they have played twice a season in Big East Conference play.

West Virginia leads the series, 95-88, but Pitt has enjoyed the upper hand in recent years, winning 19 of 29 since the Mountaineers joined the Big East in 1995.

The Panthers and Mountaineers have been in the same conference four times -- the Eastern Intercollegiate Conference (1932-39), Eastern Collegiate Basketball League (1976-77) and Eastern Eight (1977-82) before the Big East. When they were not in the same league they always scheduled non-conference games.

That might not happen this time. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said Tuesday that most, if not all, of Pitt's non-conference schedule is done for next season. Dixon also said the decision is not solely up to him.

"We'll see what happens," Dixon said. "Things are changing. A lot of things are going on. When things settle, we'll go from there. No decision will be made [right away].

"I think it's been a great experience for us. I'm not the one who makes all the decisions. There's a history way before I got here. There are a lot more people who have been through a lot more games than myself. It means more to some. We'll see how everything plays out. We have to see how everything falls."

Dixon was asked whether he will take into account that the game has been played every year for almost a century.

"Sometimes there are things you can control and sometimes there are things you can't," he said. "I don't know where this one will fall. I haven't sat down and looked at what we need to do. No decision will be made [right now] for good reasons. We won't make any decisions at this point. Let's get all of the information, see where we stand. The biggest issue for us is a football game. That's what we have to be focused on as a university."

The NCAA allows 31 regular-season games for men's basketball. Pitt has played 13 non-conference games the past few years since the Big East went to an 18-game league schedule.


First Published 2012-02-14 23:31:22

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