University of Pittsburgh

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Hardwood Heroes

Written by Cara J. Hayden

The affectionately named Oakland Zoo—one of the planet’s best groups of basketball fans—went wild this season, along with Pitt fans everywhere. The Panthers scored a record 31 wins-5 losses (15-3 Big East) and achieved a consensus Number One national ranking for the first time in school history.  The team also earned Pitt’s first-ever Number One seed entering the NCAA Tournament. Despite a heartbreaking loss that kept the team out of the Final Four playoffs, the Panthers set or tied school records for victories (31) and league wins (15), and finished the year with a PERFECT 19-0 home record. To top it off, Coach Jamie Dixon won the most prestigious national award for coaches in college basketball: He was named the 2009 Naismith Men’s College Basketball Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, selected by a group of leading basketball journalists, coaches, and administrators from around the country.