Women's hoops: Five Big East teams ranked
The first ESPN/USA Today coaches poll is out for women's basketball, with five Big East teams ranked, matching the ACC for the most of any conference.
The league has No. 2 Connecticut, No. 3 Rutgers, plus a run of Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Louisville from 21st to 23rd. Other leagues? The SEC and Big 12 have four, and the Big Ten and Pac-10 have three each, with George Washington the lone mid-major in the top 25.
USF has seven opponents in the top 25, with No. 9 Duke and No. 17 Vanderbilt joining the Big East five. Of those seven games, four are in Tampa -- Duke, Rutgers, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. I'm going to go ahead and say that Pitt game -- USF's final home game on March 1 -- will have major implications.
The Bulls' preseason ranking of ninth by Big East coaches holds up in the poll, as eight other conference teams are getting votes, with DePaul and Notre Dame as two of the top three teams in Also Receiving Votes and Marquette not too far behind. By the way, the 31 coaches who vote in this poll include just one from each of the major conferences; Pitt's Agnus Berenato is the Big East balloter.