Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Pitt Midnight Madness: Panthers begin work on last Big East season

Pitt basketball to tip off season with Midnight Madness on Friday.

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Pitt holds Midnight Madness on Friday night

On a chilly night in Pittsburgh, eager fans gathered to celebrate the start of another Pitt Panther basketball season at Midnight Madness. And even though their season-opener is four weeks away, Pitt's coaches, players, and fans have plenty to be excited about.

Highlights of the night included dunk and 3-point contests, and a recreation of some of Pitt's most famous basketball memories. Junior J.J. Moore won the dunk contest, and then gave the crowd an encore performance, jumping over freshman center Steven Adams and then dunking the ball.

One of the moments they reenacted was Ronald Ramon's 3-point buzzer-beater against West Virginia in 2008. Sophomore guard John Johnson successfully drained Ramon's shot from the same exact spot on the court.

Oh, by the way, coach Jamie Dixon came out dressed as Jackie Moon from Will Ferrell's film, Semi-Pro. Dawning his orange wig and Flint Tropics jersey, Dixon conducted a serious interview with ESPN's Bob Picozzi and Bill Raftery.

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Pitt is ready to put last season behind them

The Pitt basketball team is set to start practice on Friday night with Midnight Madness, and it is ready to put a disappointing 2011-12 campaign in the rear-view mirror. The Panthers struggled to a 5-13 Big East conference record before winning the CBI tournament to end last season.

The players are ready to improve on that result, and get back to the top of the conference in their final season as a Big East member. Head coach Jamie Dixon is armed with one of the nation's top recruiting classes, and he wants to end this season strong, according to triblive.com:

"We want to finish it out the right way," coach Jamie Dixon said. "That’s what we’re trying to do."

Midnight Madness festivities are set to begin at 10 p.m. ET. The event will be held outdoors, on a court along Bigelow Boulevard. It will be streamed live on ESPN3 and will be covered by ESPNU.

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