Duke, Pitt to play in Garden
College Football Videos
The much anticipated Duke-Pitt basketball game that nearly materialized last March will happen after all.
Pitt is scheduled to play the Blue Devils on Dec. 20 at Madison Square Garden in a nationally televised men's basketball game.
"It's happening," Big East associate commissioner Tom Odjakjian said. "That's been confirmed."
The first meeting between the two schools in 27 years came about after some determined rescheduling by Pitt, which switched dates for games with Dayton, Buffalo and Lafayette to accommodate the matchup.
First, Pitt was scheduled to play host to Buffalo on Dec. 19, which needed to be changed. The Panthers were supposed to play at Dayton on Dec. 22, and that needed to be moved, so the Panthers wouldn't have one day to travel and prepare for the Flyers.
The Dayton-Pitt game was moved to Dec. 29, but that required two more switches. Dayton rescheduled its game with Lipscomb set for that day, and Pitt moved its game with visiting Lafayette from Dec. 28 to Jan. 2.
The Buffalo game also was shuffled, but the exact date still is pending, according to the Buffalo sports information department.
"Trying to move those games wasn't easy," Odjakjian said. "But eventually, it got done."
Neither Pitt coach Jamie Dixon nor Duke officials could be reached for comment.
Both teams are expected to contend for NCAA berths and conference titles. In an ESPN poll, Duke is No. 11 and Pitt is No. 14 in the 2007-08 preseason rankings.
Pitt graduated three seniors, including third-team All-American center Aaron Gray, from last year's 29-8 team, which lost to UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen.
Duke, which returns four of its five top scorers from a 22-11 team, has reached the Final Four 10 times and won three national titles under coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Duke had reached the Sweet Sixteen nine consecutive years before last year's first-round ouster by Virginia Commonwealth. The last-second loss ruined a collision course between Pitt and Duke at the NCAA sub-regional in Buffalo.
The neutral site game will match two teams with a history of play in the Big Apple.
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon often has said he would play anytime at Madison Square Garden.
The Panthers are a steady recruiting presence in New York, with five current Pitt players from the city. Dixon also has a good relationship with Garden officials. This year, the Garden will play host to the second Maggie Dixon Classic, held in memory of Dixon's late sister.
Krzyzewski also realizes the recruiting and visibility value of playing in the basketball hotbed. The Blue Devils have played at least one game in or around New York in each of the past nine seasons, including Gonzaga in last year's Aeropostale Classic and at St. John's as part of their long-standing home-and-home series with the Red Storm.
While Pitt needed to move around its schedule, Duke merely was looking for an opponent. The Blue Devils had a previous deal with ESPN to play an opponent Dec. 20 at the Garden.
"Duke had that date saved and had a commitment from ESPN long before they knew who they were going to play," Odjakjian said. "Sometimes, when you have a game like that, it's harder to put together than to play the game."
Other top teams in Pitt's non-conference schedule include December games against visiting Oklahoma State and at Washington. Pitt's full schedule is expected to be released in late August or early September.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LaBar: Is Brock Lesnar leaving WWE again?
- Rossi: Fitting in will be Kang’s biggest hurdle
- Power play shines in Penguins’ home victory over Blue Jackets
- Shale drilling boom a bust for some Western Pennsylvania towns
- Teacher conduct under spotlight in Pennsylvania
- McCandless site set for Wal-Mart supercenter store
- Link to Sept. 11 motivated new chief of nonprofit Friends of Flight 93
- Pirates starting pitcher Worley is in right place, right time with team
- Natural gas royalties lawsuit hinges on transaction date
- Lawmakers press Veterans Affairs for improved access to rural health care
- ALICE program aims to protect students from active shooter in school