for this game

Emotional day in store for Pittsburgh

Nov 12, 2006 - 4:09 PM Western Michigan at No. 5 Pittsburgh 12:00 pm EST

WEST POINT, New York (Ticker) - It will be an emotional day on Sunday for the University of Pittsburgh basketball team, which kicks off its season by hosting Western Michigan in the Maggie Dixon Basketball Classic.

The tournament is named after the former Army women's coach, the younger sister of Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, who shockingly passed away last season from a heart irregularity.

Jamie and Maggie Dixon became the first brother-sister duo to guide their respective teams to the NCAA Tournament in the same year. A presentation will follow the Pitt-Western Michigan game honoring Maggie and the Dixon family. The second half of the basketball doubleheader features the Army women's team against No. 7 Ohio State.

The Panthers start the season as the fifth-ranked club in the country, and have high hopes. They return four starters and eight players from last season's 25-8 squad that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Leading the Pitt returnees is 7-0 All-American candidate Aaron Gray, who averaged 13.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

Pitt went 11-0 against non-league opponents last season.

The Broncos return three starters from last year's club that went 14-17. Western Michigan finished at 10-8 and in a tie for second in the Mid-American Conference West Division.

Junior center Joe Reitz led WMU in averaging 15.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.