Pitt and West Virginia have faced each other 177 times since the “Backyard Brawl” began in February 1906, but tonight will be only their second meeting at the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Their previous meeting came in 2006 – the 100th year anniversary of their first game and No. 6 seed Pitt upset the No. 3 seed Kevin Pittsnogle-led Mountaineers, 68-57, with Aaron Gray finishing with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Tonight, Pitt (28-3), the No. 2 seed, is a four-point favorite over No. 6 West Virginia (22-10) for their 7 p.m. tipoff in the quarterfinals. The survivor will play either Syracuse or Connecticut in the semifinals at 9 p.m. on Friday.
Pitt, which hasn’t gone 3-0 against one team in the same season in nearly 20 years, could be asked to so it twice in about 24 hours. The last time the Panthers did it was 1989-90, when they swept Boston College. Pitt, of course, also swept No. 3 seed Connecticut during the regular season.