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Louisville, which had three first-place votes was third, followed by Pittsburgh, which had one.

Rick Pitino, along with Calhoun and Boeheim the three coaches in the conference with a national championship, wasn’t hiding his feelings about the move by Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

“I had no problem with a charter member like Syracuse leaving and I had no problem with Pittsburgh leaving,” Pitino said. “What I had a problem with was the decision coming in 36 to 48 hours. It’s like being engaged for a while and then heading to Las Vegas to get married. I think any major decision for a charter member, it would need two weeks to make a decision. It’s the right of every school to do what they want.”

Then he tried to debunk the feeling that the expansions were all football-related.

“I don’t like hearing that this was a football decision,” he said. “It was a basketball decision to get the ACC back to where it was 25, 30 years ago, and I’m sure they want to go back to that and the way they did it was to steal two great basketball programs like Syracuse and Pitt.”

Panthers senior guard Ashton Gibbs was selected preseason player of the year. He led Pittsburgh in scoring (16.8), and led the conference in 3-point shooting (49 percent), and was second in free throw shooting (88.9) He enters the season third on the Big East career 3-point shooting percentage list at 45.4.

The other Panthers to be preseason player of the year are Charles Smith (1986-87), Jerome Lane (1987-88), Brandin Knight (2002-03) and Aaron Gray (2006-07).

“It’s an honor but it’s a personal accolade and my teammates and I are playing for championships,” Gibbs said. “We want the Big East. We want a national championship. That’s what we work so hard for.”

Cincinnati was fifth followed by Marquette, West Virginia, Villanova, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, South Florida, Providence and DePaul.

In addition to Gibbs, Lamb and Joseph, the preseason first team included seniors Darius Johnson-Odom of Marquette and Kevin Jones of West Virginia, and graduate student Tim Abromaitis of Notre Dame.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or players.