Syracuse University won't play in the Big East Conferencemuch longer. But for now, coaches expect the Orange to be the class of the conference.
Syracuse tied defending NCAA champion UConn for first place in the Big East preseason coaches' poll, accumulating five first-place votes to UConn's seven. The Orange will be led by Kris Joseph, a preseason first-team selection, and Scoop Jardine, a second-team selection whose 6.1 assists per game led the conference last year. Syracuse also returns starters Brandon Triche and Fab Melo.
Rutgers, St. John's and Seton Hall finished 10th, 11th and 12th in the poll, respectively. Rutgers and St. John's both added talented recruited classes, but are expected to be held back by a lack of experience. Steve Lavin's crew at St. John's returns just one scholarship player from last season's NCAA-tournament team, and will need to replace 96.3 percent of their scoring and 97.8 percent of their rebounding from last season. Seton Hall lost 2,000-point scorer Jeremy Hazell, now playing for Meridiano Alicante in Spain.
Louisville was third in the voting, followed by Pittsburgh, Cincinatti, Marquette, West Virginia, Villanova, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Rutgers, St. John's, Seton Hall, South Florida, Providence and DePaul.
For more Syracuse coverage, visit our team page, or our blog Nunes Magician. For more Rutgers coverage, visit our team page, or our blog On the Banks. For more St. John's coverage, visit our team page, or our blog Rumble in the Garden. For more Seton Hall coverage, visit our team page, or our blog South Orange Juice.