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Capel, Pitt Decline To Renew The City Game

Has the former Duke assistant made his first mistake at Pitt?

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at N.C. State
: Feb 29, 2020; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA;Pitt Panthers head coach Jeff Capel (center) talks to his players during a timeout in the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at PNC Arena. The Wolfpack won 77-73. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Capel has been immensely popular since moving to Pitt and his program has shown significant improvement. He’s been building a solid core of athletic, midsized players and his incoming freshmen will augment that with size.

And he’s embraced Pittsburgh which is important. It’s important in any job but Pittsburgh is a city with immense pride and heart and tons of traditions.

So when Capel opted out of the City Game, for many people it was an unpopular choice.

The City Game is a traditional matchup between Pitt and Duquesne. The schools are just a hair over two miles apart so you can see why it would be pretty intense.

Capel may be thinking why would we risk losing to Duquesne, particularly given the NET changes? In one sense, Pitt has nothing to gain.

In another though, as popular sentiment has shown, Pitt may also have something big to lose.