Villanova was picked second in the Big East preseason coaches' poll released today at the league's media day. The Wildcats received one first-place vote.
Pittsburgh was the overwhelming choice with 12 first-place votes and 222 total points. Villanova had 208 points.
Syracuse was third with two first-place votes and 188 points.
Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team.
The Panthers, who finished 25-9 overall and tied for second place in the conference at 13-5 last season, return four starters. Pitt was chosen first in the preseason poll for the first time since 2006-07.
Villanova is coming off a 25-8 season and tied the Panthers for second place in the Big East last season. The Wildcats, of course, are without All-American point guard Scottie Reynolds.
Georgetown guard Austin Freeman was chosen as the preseason player of the year. Villanova's Corey Fisher was selected to the first team.
BIG EAST COACHES' POLL
1. Pittsburgh (12) 222
2. Villanova (1) 208
3. Syracuse (2) 187
4. Georgetown 173
5. West Virginia 164
6. St. John’s (1) 145
7. Notre Dame 123
8. Louisville 121
10. Connecticut 113
11. Seton Hall 104
12. Cincinnati 91
13. USF 54
14. Providence 36
15. Rutgers 32
16. DePaul 26
First place votes in parentheses
Preseason Player of the Year
Austin Freeman, Georgetown
Preseason Rookie of the Year
Fab Melo, Syracuse
Preseason All-Big East First Team
Austin Freeman, Georgetown (Player of the Year), G, Sr., 6-3 ½, 227, Mitchellville, Md.
Kemba Walker, Connecticut, G, Jr., 6-1, 172, Bronx, N.Y.
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh, G, Jr., 6-2, 190, Scotch Plains, N.J.
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, G, Sr., 6-5, 188, Bronx, N.Y.
Corey Fisher, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-1, 200, Bronx, N.Y.
Kevin Jones, West Virginia, F, Jr., 6-8, 255, Mount Vernon, N.Y.
2010-11 Preseason All-Big East Second Team
Chris Wright, Georgetown, G, Sr., 6-1, 208, Washington, D.C.
Jimmy Butler, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-7, 220, Tomball, Texas
Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame, F, Sr., 6-8, 235, Unionville, Conn.
D.J. Kennedy, St. John’s, G/F, Sr., 6-5, 214, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Kris Joseph, Syracuse, F, Jr., 6-7, 207, Montreal, Quebec
2010-11 Preseason All-Big East Honorable Mention
Yancy Gates, Cincinnati, F, Sr., 6-9, 260, Cincinnati, Ohio
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette, G, Jr., 6-2, 215, Raleigh, N.C.
Rick Jackson, Syracuse, F, Sr., 6-9, 240, Philadelphia, Pa.