Even while UConn was unranked at the beginning of the season, it was hard to look at this game on the schedule and see it as a non-marquee matchup. This game may not yet be Carolina-Duke, but it's still becoming one of the top rivalries in college basketball.
At the beginning of the season, UConn head coach Jim Calhoun, understandably, thought this game should be played later in the year:
Pitt guard Brad Wanamaker also wishes the game was later - but for other reasons:
"I don't think Connecticut should be playing Pitt on Dec. 27," Calhoun said at the Big East preseason media day. "The preseason for us, as it is for (Pitt coach) Jamie Dixon is very important. We have six freshmen. We should have a preseason."
"It's a grind," guard Brad Wanamaker said. "We want to be home with our families but we've got something to do. This is the reason why we play basketball."
"It's going to be a tough battle," senior forward Gilbert Brown said. "But we're definitely looking forward to it."
Pitt has won four of the past five games against UConn and I guess that's really the frustrating part when you think about it. UConn has two national championships and been the final Final Four three times in the past 11 years, while Pitt only has one Elite Eight run in that span. Despite having teams that can compete with the likes of UConn, Pitt hasn't had nearly the type of success the Huskies have.
A pesky little thing called Monday Night Football is keeping the game from being on ESPN, so it's being shown on ESPN2.