Team preview: Pittsburgh
Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
Former Pittsburgh coach Ben Howland certainly left some talent behind for replacement Jamie Dixon, but few could have envisioned the sort of rookie season Dixon posted a year ago. Dixon guided the Panthers to their third consecutive Big East regular-season title, third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and a school-record 31 victories. Those accomplishments made him a no-brainer choice for conference coach of the year.
Dixon's 31 wins were the third-best, first-season win total in NCAA Division I history (only North Carolina's Bill Guthridge, who posted 34 victories in 1997-98, and Indiana State's Bill Hodges, who registered 33 in 1978-79, won more games in their first seasons).