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Pitt to return to Madison Square Garden

Pitt returns to Madison Square Garden and plays Davidson Dec. 20 in the Gotham Classic's Showcase Game.

Pitt no longer plays at Madison Square Garden annually as a result of the program's move from the Big East into the ACC, but the Panthers are now scheduled to play there for the second time in three years since they left the Big East. 

After Pitt matched up with former Big East rival Cincinnati in 2013 at the Garden, the Panthers are slated to return to the Big Apple for a Dec. 20 tilt with Davidson as the Showcase Game of the fourth annual Gotham Classic. 

"We are excited to be a part of the Gotham Classic," Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said in a release. "It is a terrific event that will prepare us for our conference schedule. We have always received great support in the New York area, so playing an outstanding team like Davidson at Madison Square Garden will be tremendous for our team and our fans."

The arena remains an historic site for the Panthers as it hosted the Big East Tournament and was the scene for numerous transcendant moment in the program's rise during the early- to mid-2000s. 

Five teams total participate in the Gotham Classic, and Pitt will host Eastern Washington Dec. 11, Morehead State Dec. 13 and Western Carolina Dec. 23. The Panthers meet Davidson for the first time since 1974. 

Davidson enters the season off a NCAA Tournament berth as the defending Atlantic 10 regular-season champions. The Wildcats return four starters from that team and have won 496 wins in 27 years under head coach Bob McKillop. 

Eastern Washington was also a 2015 tournament team after the Eagles went 26-9 and won the Big Sky conference tournament. Morehead State finished 17-17 and returns six players while Western Carolina went 15-17 but returns 10 players to this year's team. 

The four games add to a current non-conference slate that includes a matchup with Gonzaga in the Armed Forces Classic Nov. 13 in Okinawa, Japan, and a home game against Purdue Dec. 1 as a part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. 

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