Big East notebook: Pitt picked to finish 6th in coaches' poll
The Pitt men's basketball team was picked to finish sixth in its final season of Big East play in the preseason coaches' poll announced Wednesday.
Louisville, which returns three starters from last year's NCAA Tournament Final Four team, was a unanimous choice to win the conference. Returners include senior guard Peyton Silva, named the Big East Preseason Player of the Year.
Syracuse was picked to finish second, followed by Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Georgetown.
The Panthers finished 22-17 last season — 5-13 in the Big East — and missed the NCAA Tournament after making 10 straight appearances. They won the College Basketball Invitational.
Pitt is followed in the poll by Marquette, South Florida, Connecticut, St. John's, Rutgers, Villanova, DePaul, Seton Hall and Providence.
• Freshman center Steven Adams was named Preseason Rookie of the Year, the third time a Pitt player has earned the nod and first since Vonteego Cummings in 1995-96. Panthers point guard Tray Woodall received an All-Big East preseason honorable mention.
• Louisville coach Rick Pitino said that the addition of Memphis and Temple will more than make up for the loss of Syracuse and Pitt in the Big East next year. Told of Pitino's assessment, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim responded good-naturedly, “Rick's full of (expletive) if that's what he really said,” Boeheim said. “If he was in the Big 12 right now like he wanted to be, he'd being saying the Big 12 is the best. That's the bottom line.”
• Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie said he can't fill the void left by Jim Calhoun, nor will he try. “I see it as an opportunity to follow someone I love and come back to a place I love. And I don't have to sell my house,” said Ollie, who spent the past two years as Calhoun's assistant following as 13-year NBA career.
• Despite the move out of the Big East, Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said they're going to keep coming to the New York area to recruit. “We've had good success stories with kids from New York, and I think that's the best way of recruiting,” he said.
• The Big East and Madison Square Garden have agreed to a multiyear extension of their contract that will keep the conference's postseason tournament in New York City.
— Karen Price