Update — The Duke-Pitt game at the Garden in 2011-12 is almost certain to happen. The schools just need to sign a contract to make it official. Pitt is looking for a high-profile non-conference opponent, sources said, because the Panthers’ tournament in Philadelphia, the Hoop Group-sponsored event, doesn’t have many top teams (Penn is one, not sure of others right now).
Duke and Pitt had a memorable meeting in their Dec. 20, 2007 classic at the Garden, a 65-64 Pitt victory. Coach Jamie Dixon will play any game at any time at the Garden and coach Kryzyzewski at Duke has the same feeling. And, however minimal, there is always the Dick Groat factor, too. This game is going to happen. Count on it.
*** Also, ref Tim Higgins, who pulled a hamstring in last night’s St. John’s-Villanova game, will miss today’s game with Pitt-Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center.
He will be replaced by Les Jones. Big East officials are concerned about Higgins’ health. Every Big East team plays on Saturday — eight games — and then the Big East Tournament starts on Tuesday, March 8. The conference will need all hands on deck for that crazy stretch. Higgins isn’t a young man anymore, so he will need to get his hamstring right, or risk pulling it again.