NEW YORK - For only the third time in conference history, Pittsburgh has been chosen to win the BIG EAST regular season crown in a poll of the league's head coaches. The Panthers received 10 first-place votes, which helped them edge Georgetown in total points, 219 to 212, for the top spot in the poll. The Hoyas were picked second. They had four first-place votes.
is coming off a 25-8 season in 2005-06 and returns eight of its top 10 players.
The Panthers, who are coached by Jamie Dixon, have appeared in the last five
NCAA Tournaments. Pitt was the coaches' choice to win the league in 1987-88 and
2002-03. In '02-03, the Panthers were tabbed to win the BIG EAST West Division.
In both seasons, the Panthers followed through by capturing the respective
regular season titles.
is the second-place pick for
the first time since 2002-03 when they were also slotted below the Panthers in
the West Division. This season, the Hoyas will build around forward Jeff Green
and center Roy Hibbert. Both players were named to the 2006-07 Preseason All-BIG
EAST Team. Last year, GU finished 23-10 and advanced to the Sweet 16 round of
the NCAA Championship.
was picked for third place
with 182 points, just one point ahead of
, who have won the last two BIG EAST Championships Presented by Aeropostale,
finished 23-12 last season. This year, SU returns four starters but must replace
guard Gerry McNamara, who graduated.
was the most successful of
the five new league teams last year. The Golden Eagles compiled an overall
record of 20-11 and were 10-6 in the BIG EAST. Coach Tom Crean's squad will
feature sophomore guard Dominic James, the 2005-06 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year.
was picked for fifth with
173 points. The Huskies, who were the league's regular season co-champions last
year, finished 30-4 and advanced to the Elite Eight. UConn received strong
backing in the poll despite losing four players in the first round of the 2006
edged Villanova for sixth
place. The Cardinals battled through some key injuries last year to finish
21-13. This season, they return four starters, including junior forward Juan Palacios, a Preseason All-BIG EAST pick.
shared the regular season title with
last year with a 14-2 BIG EAST record. This season, coach Jay Wright welcomes
back two starters and 2004-05 all-conference forward Curtis Sumpter, a senior,
who missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
coaches predicted that DePaul will finish eighth. The Blue Demons are the only
league team to return four double-figure scorers.
was picked ninth, just ahead of
Notre Dame was selected 11th, followed by
, Rutgers, Seton Hall and USF.
Preseason Coaches' Poll
place votes in parentheses