- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NEW YORK — Defending national champion Connecticut and Syracuse are co-favorites to win the Big East, according to a poll of conference coaches released Tuesday.

Connecticut, facing life without standout point guard Kemba Walker, received seven first-place votes, while Syracuse tallied five. Louisville and Pittsburgh also got first-place votes.

Georgetown’s squad with 10 freshmen and sophomores was picked 10th in the 16-team conference.

A year after since-graduated Austin Freeman was the Big East preseason player of the year, the Hoyas didn’t land anyone on the preseason all-conference teams. Pittsburgh’s Ashton Gibbs is the preseason player of the year and Connecticut’s Andre Drummond is the rookie of the year.

The complete preseason poll:

1. Connecticut, Syracuse; 3. Louisville; 4, Pittsburgh; 5. Cincinnati; 6. Marquette; 7. West Virginia; 8. Villanova; 9. Notre Dame; 10. Georgetown; 11. Rutgers; 12. St. John’s; 13. Seton Hall; 14. USF; 15. Providence; 16. DePaul.

The preseason all-conference teams:

First: Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh; Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut; Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette; Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame; Kris Joseph, Syracuse; Kevin Jones, West Virginia.

Second: Yancy Gates, Cincinnati; Alex Oriahki, Connecticut; Peyton Siva, Louisville; Scoop Jardine, Syracuse; Maalik Wayns, Villanova.

Honorable mention: Andre Drummond, Connecticut; Shabazz Napier, Connecticut; Cleveland Melvin, DePaul; Jae Crowder, Marquette; Augustus Gilchrist, USF.