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Midnight Madness returns to Pitt — with a twist

| Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, 10:56 a.m.

Pitt is tipping off the 2012-13 basketball season under the stars.

The men's and women's teams will hold an outdoor Midnight Madness on Oct. 12 as part of the university's 225-year anniversary celebration.

It is Pitt's first Midnight Madness, which typically signifies the start of practice, since 2003-04, which was the first season for coaches Jamie Dixon and Agnus Berenato. The event is slated to be part of ESPN's Midnight Madness show on ESPNU.

“I had very little to do with it,” Dixon said. “(Athletic director) Steve Pederson and the marketing department said they would like to do something like that. They wanted to look into this possibility. I was real happy with what they come up with.”

The teams will use a wooden floor constructed on Bigelow Boulevard, between the Cathedral of Learning and the William Pitt Union. The setup also includes portable lights, bleachers and a video board, with a scheduled 9:45 p.m. start.

The free event, part of the Homecoming Weekend festivities, will follow a fireworks display and laser show at 9:15 p.m. at the Cathedral of Learning. In the case of inclement weather, Midnight Madness will move into Petersen Events Center.

The Pitt men, which will hold its first practice of the season earlier in the day, brings back three starters, seven of its top nine scorers and welcomes a top-10 recruiting class, led by five-star center Steven Adams.

The Pitt women return four starters, including unanimous all-Freshman Big East selection Brianna Kiesel.

John Grupp is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jgrupp@tribweb.com or 412-320-7930.

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