In March, Pitt and Duquesne announced an agreement in principle on two-year resumption of the City Game for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.
But asked once again about the future of the rivalry on Thursday, Pitt head coach Jeff Capel wouldn’t even commit to what his university has already announced, and certainly nothing beyond that.
“It’s something going forward, that we could do, but that’s a decision that will be made by me after our season is over with this year,” Capel said on an interview with Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack of 93.7 The Fan.
“I’m not afraid to play anyone. Nobody. So let’s just get that out there. I’m not afraid to play anyone. But as the leader of our program, as the caretaker of this program, my job is to do what’s best for my program.”
What’s best for Pitt’s program apparently involved not playing Duquesne this season, even though PSN has reported that the Dukes were willing to play at the Petersen Events Center for free this season while they use PPG Paints Arena as a home court of sorts with construction ongoing to the new UPMC Chuck Cooper Fieldhouse.
Capel said not playing Duquesne this year had to do with Pitt agreeing to play at Robert Morris in November, even though the City Game is usually played in mid December.
“[It] played an absolute huge part for this year with that,” he said. “That was a decision that was made by me. No one else. Once we made the decision that we were going to go down that road with Robert Morris, and do this game, that was a decision by me to not play both of these teams, Robert Morris and Duquesne, in the same season.”
Capel also said that the external pressure put on Pitt’s schedule by the expansion of the ACC schedule to 20 game played a part, as well:
“With us going to 20 ACC games, with us playing in an [exempt tournament] every year, we have this West Virginia deal — I think next year is the last year of it and that was signed before I got here. Is that something we continue? We’re in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. I have to be smart about what’s the best for my program.”