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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
Chris Matthews: Inspiring language learners at home and abroad
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024
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By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

Counterpoint | The City Game is pointless

Pitt+forward+Ryan+Luther+drives+to+the+hoop+during+the+Panther%E2%80%99s+2016+loss+against+Duquesne+in+the+City+Game.
TPN File Photo
Pitt forward Ryan Luther drives to the hoop during the Panther’s 2016 loss against Duquesne in the City Game.

This column is part of a point-counterpoint series. To read the opposing side, click here.

What was once the City Game held between Pitt men’s basketball and Duquesne is a storied rivalry with over 87 games played. While some may argue that the game should return after a six-year hiatus, I believe it is a waste of time for the Panthers.

If I am honest, the game never really had much of a purpose. Pitt leads the all-time series 55-32. From 2001 to 2015, Pitt won 15 consecutive City Game contests. True parity has not existed between the two Pittsburgh programs since 1978. 

Now, parity doesn’t have to exist in every college rivalry. For example, Penn State leads Pitt 53-43-4 in football. But the landscape of college basketball has changed dramatically.

Pitt was kept out of the NCAA tournament this season primarily due to non-conference strength of schedule. Many cite the Panthers’ loss to Missouri this season, but hindsight is 20/20. At the time when Missouri beat the Panthers, the Tigers sat at 6-2.

Also, the Tigers play in the SEC, a conference that placed eight teams in the NCAA tournament. Pitt is better off playing against SEC teams than playing against Duquesne. The Atlantic 10 would have only placed one team into the NCAA tournament if it weren’t for Duquesne stealing a bid by winning its conference tournament.

The idea of Pitt playing Duquesne sounds better than it actually is and really gives Pitt nothing other than bragging rights. The Panthers defeated West Virginia this season, and it did not help their NCAA tournament resumé. Heated rivalries add unnecessary stress and pressure to an already packed ACC schedule. Pitt already has the Backyard Brawl, so they don’t need another rivalry. 

Duquesne made strides this season by making the NCAA tournament as an 11 seed and defeating a Big 12 foe in the first round. Their journey was eerily similar to its Pittsburgh counterparts as the Panthers had the same route last season. 

But this is where the similarities end. Duquesne is an inferior conference. If Pitt had played Duquesne this season and defeated them at a neutral site, it would have counted as just a Quad 2 win. 

The City Game is great for the culture of Pittsburgh. But for Duquesne the benefits are plentiful, and the same cannot be said for Pitt. Pitt should pull a Penn State and end the rivalry until it is more rewarding for them.

About the Contributor
Jermaine Sykes, Assistant Sports Editor
Jermaine Sykes is the Assistant Sports Editor for The Pitt News. He is a part of the College of Business and Administration class of 2024 and is double majoring in Marketing and Human Resources Management. He is also pursuing a Sports Management certificate and an Economics minor. He has written over 90 articles as a member of the sports staff.