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CBSSports.com names Pitt to "Flourishing Five"

Football Coach Dave Wannstedt and RB Dion Lewis

Football Coach Dave Wannstedt and RB Dion Lewis

July 23, 2010

After enjoying tremendous success both on the field and hardwood, the University of Pittsburgh has been named the nation's No. 5 football/men's basketball-combo school by CBSSports.com in its "Flourishing Five Countdown."

CBSSports.com senior writers Dennis Dodd and Gary Parrish each featured Pitt in separate stories to begin the Top-5 countdown, with Dodd focusing on the rise and upswing of the football program, while Parrish hones in on the culture of success and winning tradition within the men's basketball program.

The links to both stories can be found below:

Dodd: Resurgent Pitt football doing its part

Parrish: Pitt committed to hoops excellence

With just about two weeks until the start of football training camp, Pitt football is set to enter one of its most anticipated seasons in school history. The 2009 Panther squad capped off a successful season with a 19-17 win over North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl to finish the year 10-3 -- securing a Top 15 finish in both national polls.

The Panthers return four First Team All-Big East selections from 2009, including sophomore tailback Dion Lewis, who earned 2009 Big East Offensive Player of the Year honors, and senior defensive end Greg Romeus, the 2009 Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year (shared with graduated teammate Mick Williams). Junior receiver Jon Baldwin (1,111 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009) and senior offensive tackle Jason Pinkston (second team All-America in 2009) also return to help anchor the Panthers.

 

 

The men's basketball team, coming off its ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, is already receiving praise as a Top 10 team for this season. Pitt returns four starters, 86% of its scoring and 91% of its rebounding from last year's 25-win team. It was recently announced that Coach Dixon and the Panthers will travel overseas to Ireland for a six-game, 12-day foreign competition trip in late July.

Over the last nine seasons (2001-10), Pitt Basketball's .790 winning percentage (245-65) ranks among the nation's top-5 best winning percentages during that span. Pitt has captured five Big East championships, advanced to NCAA Elite Eight play (2009) and NCAA Sweet Sixteen play five times and ascended to the nation's No. 1 ranking in 2009. Pitt Basketball games at the Petersen Events Center have also been sold out for the last nine consecutive seasons and the Panthers own a 132-11 all-time record in the arena. Over the last eight seasons, the Panthers have earned an average RPI ranking of No. 3, trailing only No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Kansas.

The excitement surrounding Pitt Athletics is also evident in the turnstiles. Pitt men's basketball enjoyed a strong homecourt advantage with the 12,508-seat Petersen Events Center sold out for the eighth consecutive year in 2009-10. Moreover, attendance for Pitt football at Heinz Field has jumped 60 percent over the past two years, a trend that figures to continue in the 2010 season.

Pitt football, which has produced 19 wins over the last two seasons, will play one of 2010's most-anticipated season openers when it travels to Utah for a Sept. 2 matchup. The Panthers and Utes will kick off at 8:30 p.m. (ET) for a national telecast on Versus.

For season-ticket information, log on to PittsburghPanthers.com or call (800) 643-PITT.