Villanova doesn't have high expectations on the hardwood this season, at least not for the members of the traditional media who vote in an annual preseason poll conducted by the sports desk of the Syracuse Post-Standard. The Post-Standard poll surveyed 15 writers covering the basketball conference in each of the league's markets.
Louisville, which returns three key players from last season's Final Four team, was the unanimous pick to win the league title this season. Villanova was picked 12th out of 15 in the voting, ahead of just Providence (13), Seton Hall (14) and DePaul (15).
Syracuse was solidly (but not unanimously) picked in second place by media, while other traditional powers like Georgetown, UConn and Marquette were projected toward the middle of the league. It appears that a re-shuffling of the Big East standings is expected among the media members this season.
South Florida, which has handled the Wildcats easily in recent meetings, was picked 8th by the media. According to Big East Coast Bias:
South Florida, not going to be a one hit wonder. Stan Heath did a great job last year and has a team that should be NCAA Tournament caliber again this year. I think people still fail to realize how monumental of an achievement that is. Combine that with a renovated and improved Sun Dome and a new practice facility and suddenly there's a foundation laid at a place where basketball has never flourished.
Maybe there is hope yet for the conference post-expansion. The full poll is produced below:
1. Louisville (15 1st-place votes)
3. Notre Dame
8. South Florida
10. St. John's
14. Seton Hall