The City Game is going away, but only for one basketball season.
Athletic directors Heather Lyke of Pitt and Dave Harper of Duquesne said Thursday that their teams won’t play each other next season for the first time since 1969, but the series will resume with games in 2020 and 2021 at PPG Paints Arena.
Pitt has several twists to its schedule next season, including the ACC expanding its conference games from 18 to 20 for each team. Plus, Pitt will appear in the Fort Myers Tipoff Nov. 25-27 and the ACC-Big Ten Challenge after serving as Robert Morris’ first opponent when it opens its on-campus, 4,000-seat Peoples Court at the newly constructed UPMC Events Center.
“We are pleased to work with the University of Pittsburgh and our valued partners at PPG Paints Arena to continue the City Game in 2020 and 2021,” Harper said ina statement. “The very title ‘City Game’ is profound. This is a game for the city of Pittsburgh and its sports fans. It is an event circled on calendars each year. Duquesne is fully committed to participating in this game long term and honored to be part of this event for the city. We look forward to building the stature of the game and continuing to intensify the game as both programs continue on an upward trajectory.”
“The City Game is a time-honored basketball tradition in the city of Pittsburgh,” Lyke said. “Unfortunately, our men’s basketball scheduling dynamics will not allow us to play the game in 2019. We look forward to resuming the game with great anticipation in 2020 and 2021.”
Duquesne has its own scheduling problems next season, with the school set to break ground this month on the renovation of Palumbo Center. The new facility will be re-named the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. Until it’s ready for occupancy, Duquesne must find alternate sites for its home men’s and women’s basketball games.