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IU to play Big East power Pitt

The game will be part of the Jimmy V Classic.

Friday, July 3, 2009 - 6:00 am

Ready or not, Indiana gets another prime-time basketball opportunity next season when it plays Big East power Pitt in the Jimmy V Classic.

The Hoosiers, who are coming off a 6-25 season and who will once again field one of the nation’s least-experienced teams, will face Pitt at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 8. The game will be televised by ESPN.

Pitt was 31-5 last season.

“It is an honor for us to participate in the Jimmy V Classic,” IU coach Tom Crean said in a university release. “This is annually one of the premiere events in college basketball. It is always exciting to take a team to Madison Square Garden. We have great respect for the Pitt program.”

Crean is familiar with that program. He faced it while coaching at fellow-Big East power Marquette.

IU is making its second appearance in the 15-year-old event. The Hoosiers beat North Carolina 82-73 in 1999. Indiana is 4-3 against Pitt, but lost the last meeting 74-52 in the second round of the 2003 NCAA tourney.

The Hoosiers are 8-8 in Madison Square Garden.

In the other Jimmy V Classic game, Butler will play Georgetown. Butler was 26-6 last season. Georgetown was 16-15.

The V Foundation is named after former North Carolina State coach and ESPN commentator Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993. The foundation has raised more than $80 million for cancer research.