A preseason rife with optimistic forecasts continued for the USF men’s basketball team Monday morning when the Bulls were picked to finish fifth in the American Athletic Conference by league coaches.
The USF women, coming off arguably the most injury-beleaguered season in program history, were picked to finish second behind Connecticut.
The coaches polls were released at the outset of the AAC men’s and women’s media day in Philadelphia. The No. 5 ranking is the USF men’s highest ever in the seven-year history of the league coaches poll, and marks the first time in five years the Bulls ― coming off a breakthrough 24-14 season ― haven’t been picked last or next to last.
The complete poll can be seen here. Reigning league champ Houston and Memphis ― which brought in the nation’s top recruiting class ― finished tied for first in the poll.
Bulls senior point guard Laquincy Rideau (13.4 ppg, 2.9 steals), reigning AAC Defensive Player of the Year, was named to the preseason All-AAC first team. Junior David Collins (15.9 ppg) and sophomore Alexis Yetna (12.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg) were second-team picks. USF was the lone school with three preseason All-AAC picks.
The Bulls, who capped the 2018-19 season with a College Basketball Invitational (CBI) title, return all five starters from that club. Statistically, they return 92.4 percent of their scoring, 90.3 percent of their minutes, and 94.6 percent of their rebounding and assists.
The women’s preseason all-conference team can be found here. USF finished 19-16 last season, losing four of its five opening-night starters to season-ending injury by early January.
But every rookie thrust into significant action returns, joined by a heralded five-player freshman class. One of those returners, redshirt junior guard Enna Pehadzic (12.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg), made the coaches preseason All-AAC second team.