clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Last Basketball Backyard Brawl? Don't Count On It.

With news of West Virginia heading to the Big 12 next season, cue the panic that the Backyard Brawl is done after tonight's game. Football is an entirely different animal with only three non-conference games, but basketball? With so many non-conference games available, barring a Hatfield-McCoy type feud between the two schools, the Brawl is almost assuredly going to continue.

For starters, Pitt has made it a point to play a school like Robert Morris every season. That's obviously because it's a local game, but I can't imagine that game would be as important to the athletic department as a game against the Mountaineers. The game against the Colonials isn't anything like the City Game, which is steeped in tradition. I'm not calling for the Robert Morris games to end, I'm merely pointing out that if Pitt can find room to play the Colonials, they can certainly find room for a great rivalry like West Virginia.

Then throw in all of the other fluff non-con games out there every year. The bottom line is that Pitt has plenty of opportunities to find room for WVU.

And I think it will happen.

Count Bob Huggins as one who 'gets it':

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said Tuesday he planned to talk with Dixon after the season is over about continuing the series. He said he would be surprised if the two parties could not find a way to play the game.

"I'd be shocked," he said. "We've been playing since 1904. We're all looking for good non-conference games."

Jamie Dixon on the other hand? Not so much:

"We'll see what happens," Dixon said. "Things are changing. A lot of things are going on. When things settle, we'll go from there. No decision will be made [right away].

"I think it's been a great experience for us. I'm not the one who makes all the decisions. There's a history way before I got here. There are a lot more people who have been through a lot more games than myself. It means more to some. We'll see how everything plays out. We have to see how everything falls."

Dixon was asked whether he will take into account that the game has been played every year for almost a century.

"Sometimes there are things you can control and sometimes there are things you can't," he said. "I don't know where this one will fall. I haven't sat down and looked at what we need to do. No decision will be made [right now] for good reasons. We won't make any decisions at this point. Let's get all of the information, see where we stand. The biggest issue for us is a football game. That's what we have to be focused on as a university."

Huh? Call me confused. I get that Dixon isn't the only one to decide this game gets played, but I find it hard to believe that the athletic department wouldn't try to accommodate him if he said it needed to be a priority.

And the comment about a football game being the biggest issue? I totally don't get that. What does that have to do with continuing the basketball series? Maybe he's alluding to the fact that West Virginia could be upset enough to discontinue playing the basketball game if a football game can't go along with it. But again - if Dixon and Huggins really want to get this done, I find it hard to believe that a couple of ADs are going to stand in the way.

There's no reason for the basketball series to end. Not when the likes of Albany, Rider, and VMI are on the schedule.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt football and basketball.