Jamie Dixon and Pitt are booked for another early-season non-con tournament - this time, it's the 2011 Philly Hoop Group Classic, according to Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com.
The obvious thing to take a look at are the teams involved. It's safe to say you won't be blown away by the likes of La Salle, Penn, James Madison, Robert Morris, and Rider. After reading about that roster, one obvious team is missing from the mix - Temple.
But look beyond that for a second...there are a few things in play besides the quality of competion.
There's a very cool factor about this tournament in that Pitt will be playing at the Palestra. The chance to see Pitt play in that building should be worth a road trip alone.
Beyond that, the whole thing about Pennsylvania teams squaring off, regardless of talent level, is actually kind of cool. Philadelphia has a deep history of college basketball and while teams like Penn and La Salle aren't usually great teams, there's still something about them, the Palestra, etc. Would have been nice if they could have thrown Temple, Drexel, and even Penn State in. The problem is that some of those teams already play each other during the season and that would kind of water down those games. But a true Pennsylvania tourney at the Palestra would be something else.
Then you've got the whole Backyard Brawl thing. That's right - the tournament is taking place on November 25th and 26th, so Pitt's basketball team could be playing during the Brawl when they take on Penn on the 25th. If the Panthers can win that game - and they should, obviously - you can still catch them on Saturday.
Still, I think the Backyard Brawl is enough to ruin it for Pitt fans from Pittsburgh or the western part of the state wanting to travel to the tournament. I don't know how many will shoot down to West Virginia for the Brawl, then over to Philly for the finale on Sunday. Most people my age can talk their wives into getting away for one day during a holiday weekend, but two?
That's an entirely different proposition.