No surprise: Big East coaches pick USF last
Big East coaches picked USF to finish again in last place in the men's basketball conference preseason poll released Wednesday morning. Pittsburgh was picked to win the league's regular-season title, getting 10 of 16 first-place votees, followed by Georgetown (four votes) and Syracuse and Marquette with one each.
USF got 22 "vote points," six more than the absolute minimum, which could mean six of 16 coaches picked the Bulls to finish next-to-last, or could be a simple as one coach picking the Bulls to finish 10th. Cincinnati, Rutgers and Seton Hall were picked in the three spots directly ahead of USF.
Again, to no huge surprise, USF did not have a player selected to the 11-player preseason all-conference team, nor among the three honorable mentions. Pittsburgh's Aaron Gray is the preseason league player of the year.
The preseason rankings, which can be found here, give better insight as to how USF's league schedule will break out. The Bulls open at Connecticut and at Pittsburgh, then start their home season against Louisville, making their first three games all against teams expected to finish in the top six in the league. That tough stretch is followed, however, with four games against teams expected to finish 11th or lower -- Notre Dame (11), West Virginia (12), Cincinnati (which should finish higher than 13th) and Rutgers (14th). Gotta think you'll know by the end of that stretch whether the Bulls can be markedly better than last season.