Familiar schools absent from Pitt's basketball schedule

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Pitt released its men's basketball schedule today and a couple of familiar opponents are nowhere to be found.

For the first time in nearly a century, Pitt will not play arch rival West Virginia. And the series against Robert Morris, which has been played every year but one since 1998-99, might not continue this season.

Pitt and West Virginia will not play because the Mountaineers moved into the Big 12 Conference this season, and the two schools could not come to an agreement to play a non-conference game. They had played every year since 1916-17.

Pitt might play Robert Morris, but it's not assured. Both schools are in the preseason N.I.T., but pairings for the win-and-advance tournament have not yet been announced.

Pitt will play two home games in the preseason N.I.T. Nov. 12 and 13 at the Petersen Events Center. ESPN reported this morning that the other three teams are Robert Morris, Fordham and Lehigh. Lehigh advanced to the NCAA tournament last season and upset Duke in the first round.

The two winners on Nov. 12 will play each the following night for the right to advance to Madison Square Garden. Participating in the only win-to-advance preseason tournament means the Panthers must win those two home games in order to face any teams from other major conferences in the non-conference portion of their schedule.

The other BCS schools hosting preseason N.I.T tournament games are Virginia, Michigan and Kansas State. If Pitt advances to Madison Square Garden it will play a semifinal game Nov. 21 and either a consolation or championship game Nov. 23.

If the Panthers do not advance they will play host to two lower-level teams Nov. 19 and 20 at the Petersen Events Center.

The one rivalry that will remain intact is the annual City Game against Duquesne. That contest will take place Dec. 5 at Consol Energy Center.

The season opener will be Nov. 9 vs. Mount Saint Mary's at the Petersen Events Center. Other non-conference games are against Oakland (Nov. 17), Howard (Nov. 27), Detroit (Dec. 1), North Florida (Dec. 8), Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 15), Delaware State (Dec. 19) and Kennesaw State (Dec. 23).

Pitt's Big East opener will be Dec. 31 against Cincinnati at the Petersen Events Center. The final regular-season game as a member of the conference will be at DePaul.

You can view the complete schedule here.

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