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WVU AD Wren Baker Interested in Extending Basketball Backyard Brawl



Backyard Brawl Keddie Johnson WVU and Pitt

The schedule may not be the top priority for the WVU basketball program right now, but the Backyard Brawl was brought up recently anyway.

Even after talking with the media, including WVSN’s Mike Asti and Ethan Bock, throughout most of the afternoon on Monday, Baker had more to say. WVU’s director of athletics also made his feelings clear about how often West Virginia should play Pitt.

Baker told Jerry DiPaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he has already expressed to his counterpart at Pitt – Heather Lyke – that he has an interest in extending the basketball Backyard Brawl. “I called her and told her we would definitely love to extend it,” he said to DiPaola.

When the two schools play in Morgantown this coming season, it will mark the 190th version of the basketball rivalry. The Mountaineers beat Pitt 81-56 in Pittsburgh early last season.

It’s not even just about the basketball rivalry or the historic nature of the football battle either for Baker. “We would extend in pretty much every sport in our series with Pitt,” Baker said. “It’s a great rivalry, a great series, draws well for both. So, I think it makes a ton of sense. I’m for continuing the series.”

These comments by Baker come only days after WVU football head coach Neal Brown discussed what the Backyard Brawl means to him on a show with WVSN’s Mike Asti.

WVSN’s Mike Asti Goes One-on-One with WVU HC Neal Brown

“They had a really good football last year,” Brown said about the 2022 edition that saw the Brawl return on the gridiron for the first time in a decade. “Does the path of our season change if we win the game? Probably so, probably so, but we didn’t win the game. It was winnable. We didn’t make the plays. They made some plays to win it.”

“They took advantage of some of our mistakes, and now we’ve got a chance at our home stadium, and this place is gonna be rocking and rolling,” said Brown. “It’s gonna be a night game, I know our fans are gonna be supercharged, and it’s important.

“We need to win the game. We need to win the game. It’s important where it falls in our schedule, it’s the game before we play our Big 12 opener … It’s important and it matters and it’s a game from a rivalry perspective, we don’t try to undersell it.”

By most accounts, it certainly seems both programs are on the same page and want to play each other as often as possible. And that’s a win for both fan bases.


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