At the Big East annual media day, the Conference unveiled its preseason picks along with their pr-season selections Wednesday morning.
Louisville was a unanimous choice to win the 2012-13 BIG EAST men’s basketball regular-season crown with 14 first-place votes, while USF was selected to finish eighth by the league coaches. Syracuse was tabbed for second place and Notre Dame came in third place. Cincinnati was fourth, followed by Georgetown, Pittsburgh, and Marquette. After South Florida, Connecticut, St. John’s rounded out the top ten. Rutgers is 11th and Villanova was picked for 12th, with DePaul, Seton Hall and Providence concluding the preseason poll. The league’s head coaches do not place their own teams on their ballots.
USF sophomore was a second-team preseason selection after earning a spot on the All-BIG EAST Rookie team following the 2011-12 season.
Collins was the catalyst that helped lead the Bulls to their best conference record in school history with 12 Big East wins and is the first USF player to be named on the conference All Rookie squad since guard Dominique Jones earned it after the 2007-08 season.
The Bulls star point guard led all Big East freshmen with 5.3 assists (sixth overall in the conference). His free-throw percentage of 85.7 was the tops of all freshmen and was good for third overall in the league. His 1.6 steals per game ranked second out of all freshman and twelfth overall. Collins also averaged 8.0 points per game and 1.9 rebounds during the regular season.
The 2011-12 Preseason All-BIG EAST Team has two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. The seniors are Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley and Providence’s Vincent Council. Cooley, the BIG EAST Most Improved Player last season, averaged 12.3 points and 8.9 rebounds. The rugged 6-9 forward helped the Irish to a 21-12 record and 13-5 BIG EAST mark.
The Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team includes DePaul junior forward Cleveland Melvin, who is the league’s top returning scorer with a 17.4 scoring average. He also averaged 7.4 rebounds. After Melvin, the second team is backcourt heavy. Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier was the second highest scorer for the Huskies with a 13.0 average. St. John’s guard D’Angelo Harrison was the BIG EAST’s top freshman scorer with a 17.0 average. USF point guard Anthony Collins was the glue behind the Bulls’ breakout season last year. He averaged 9.0 points and 3.4 assists. Syracuse senior guard Brandon Triche offers Syracuse the same stability as Collins. Triche averaged 9.4 points.
The 2012-13 Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention group includes Louisville forward Chane Behanan, Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant, Pittsburgh guard Tray Woodall and Syracuse forward C.J. Fair.
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