An article by ESPN Joe Lunardi showed Pitt has the 10th toughest non-conference schedule during the past four seasons, and coach Jamie Dixon is working hard to make sure the Panthers don’t take a step back this season — while landing a NYC metro area non-conference game for the fifth year in a row.
Dixon is searching far and wide trying to find a quality opponent to play at Madison Square Garden this season, but, as of Monday night, he can’t find any takers.
It’s not from a lack of trying.
Dixon is leaving no stone unturned. He was working his texts on Monday at the Greentree Summer League, determined to find a marquee game at MSG.
Pitt may reportedly be eyeing a spot at the Garden on Dec. 10 as part of a doubleheader with the Duke-Washington game. I reported in Feb. 27 that Pitt-Duke were expected to play at the Garden in December — it was virtually a done deal — but it fell through.
Michigan State has been mentioned as a possible opponent, but that is looking less likely to happen.
It’s hard to imagine opposing teams wouldn’t want the exposure and atmosphere of a nationally televised game against Pitt at the Garden. But, according to Dixon, they are hardly lining up for the game.
Pitt has played a non-conference game in the NYC metro area each of the past four seasons, including Texas and Maryland last year in the Coaches vs. Cancer event, which the Panthers won at the Garden.
A game at MSG would also boost Pitt’s non-conference schedule. The only BCS non-conference opponent so far this season is at Tennessee on Dec. 3 as part of the Big East-SEC Challenge.