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Villanova tabbed to win Big East by conference coaches


NEW YORK (AP) — Villanova has dominated the Big East over the last decade under the guidance of coach Jay Wright.

The fourth-ranked Wildcats were the unanimous choice to win the conference in a preseason coaches poll released Tuesday. The team, which has won seven of the last eight regular-season titles, received all 10 first-place votes from the league’s coaches. Coaches couldn’t vote for their own team, and Wright picked No. 24 Connecticut, which was the second choice.

Villanova is led by guard Collin Gillespie, who was the coaches’ pick for preseason player of the year. He and teammate Jermaine Samuels took advantage of the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the effects of the coronavirus last season.

The Huskies, playing their second season back in the Big East, return grad student R.J. Cole and senior guard Tyrese Martin. Dan Hurley’s squad also brings back the conference’s sixth man of the year Tyler Polley and co-defensive player of the year Isaiah Whaley.

Xavier was the coaches’ third choice as the Musketeers return their top seven scorers from last year. St. John’s was fourth, with the Red Storm led by Julian Champagnie — the conference’s scoring leader — and Posh Alexander, who was the Big East freshman of the year.

Seton Hall rounded out the top half of the conference in the preseason poll. Butler was sixth, followed by Providence, Creighton, Marquette, Georgetown and DePaul.

The Big East has two new coaches, with Shaka Smart taking over at Marquette and Tony Stubblefield leading DePaul.

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Source: Berkshire mont

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