Matt Norlander of CBS Sports reported Thursday that Pittsburgh and West Virginia are set to renew the basketball version of their old rivalry, known as the Backyard Brawl.
The official announcement will come down next Thursday as the old rivals will begin a four-year series starting in 2017. Pitt will be the first host and the schools will alternate each year through the 2020 season. Exact dates have still yet to be decided, however.
The Panthers and Mountaineers have met on the basketball court 184 times before, though they haven’t faced one another since 2012. The schools, separated by just 80 miles, used to play together in the Big East Conference. The rivalry ceased once West Virginia joined the Big 12 in 2012 and Pitt left for the ACC the following year.
West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons had this to say on the rivalry rejuvenation:
“One of my first goals as athletic director was to reach out to [Pitt Director of Athletics] Scott Barnes about renewing the football and basketball series with Pitt because I knew it would be good for both schools…The fans are the real winners because whether the game is in the WVU Coliseum or the Petersen Events Center, it will be great for college basketball.”
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins, a Morgantown native and West Virginia alum, said the following via CBS:
“I think this is great not only for both schools but for college basketball. This has been such a great rivalry, and it is a game that fans of both schools look forward to…Pitt has been our biggest rival since I can remember and we have been theirs. The game makes sense.”
The Mountaineers lead the all-time series 96-88.