SEC-Big East Challenge: Pitt Surprised To Be Left Out

February 29, 2012; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon (left) gives instructions to Panthers guard John Johnson (4) against the St. John's Red Storm during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. PITT won 89-69. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

The Pitt Panthers have been left out of the SEC-Big East challenge. There is now a hole on Pitt's scheduled that they have to fill quickly.

The Pittsburgh Panthers were caught off guard when they were left out of the pairings of the SEC-Big East Challenge. After traveling to play the Tennessee Volunteers last season, the belief around the basketball program was that an SEC team was going to make the trip to Pittsburgh this season. Now that the pairings have been announced, the Panthers are scrambling to find a replacement opponent for that early in the season.

Athletic director Steve Pederson said that he was promised by the league that they would be in the challenge, according to ESPN's Andy Katz.

We were led to believe we had a home game all along. At no point were we told that we wouldn't get a home game. They've put us in a difficult spot. All [Pittsburgh Head Coach Jamie Dixon] and I were waiting on was who we were playing. We're very disappointed, obviously.

Big East commissioner Dan Gavitt denies that the reason for leaving Pitt out of the challenge this season was the lawsuit filed by the university to leave the Big East by 2013.

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