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SBN Big East Media Day Polls

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The SB Nation Big East team has released their votes for the preaseason awards. As is to be expected, Xavier is all over the top few spots in most categories.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

One of the nice things about writing for SBN is the group of contacts that comes with it. This year, Mike of VU Hoops put together polls for the SBN writers that fell in line with the same polls the mainstream media will release today Also included below are some of the comments other writers attached.

Preseason Big East Player of the Year: Darrun Hilliard, Villanova (3) D'Angelo Harrison, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, JayVaughn Pinkston each got 2

Quotes

  • Hilliard just seems like the obvious candidate as the guy who should be the best player on the best team in the league. Anything could happen though.
  • I think Hamilton will break out this season and help DePaul steal a few conference wins.
  • I remain completely shocked that D`Angelo Harrison is still in school, and feel free to take that however you want to take that. Is it just me, or are most of the picks here pretty obvious?
  • I struggled to pick 5 guys here - not exactly a scintillating group.
  • The StainTrain is going to have to do some serious work this season for Xavier, while I expect JVP and Hilliard to be a great one-two punch for Villanova. D'Angelo Harrison should be a leader for a St. John's team that wants to fight it's way into the discussion this season. I went with Kris Dunn for the last spot because I think he is a super-talented kid who will be pushed to the forefront at Providence this season -- plus, I wanted to make sure I included a point guard.

Preseason Big East Rookie of the Year: Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall (6)Trevon Bluiett (2), Isaac Copeland (1)

Preseason Big East Coach of the Year: Jay Wright, Villanova (4)
Chris Mack (2), John Thompson III (2), Kevin Willard (1)
Quotes:

  • First, preseason Coach of the Year is a strange award. That's always an award for a coach who exceeds expectations. The best coach in the conference is likely Jay Wright - for his consistency. I don't know that the postseason Player of the Year or Rookie of the Year will be the same people; I think Trevon Bluiett is my darkhorse pick for rookie, but Whitehead's going to get his points...
  • Did anyone else see CBS' Matt Norlander tweet that he had a surprise pick for Big East POY and then be completely underwhelmed when his "surprise" was Darrun Hilliard?
  • Jean Lenti Ponsetto would have my vote for AD of the Year if Oliver Purnell finally gets fired.

Preseason Rankings
1. Villanova (9) 2. Georgetown 3. Xavier***********8. Creighton 9. Butler 10. DePaul
Quotes:

  • Torn between Providence, Georgetown and St. John's at 3, but Providence lost a LOT from last year. And Georgetown seems to be talking about playing D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera at point guard, which raises a flag about their backcourt depth. Maybe that's just me.
  • Butler might be bad for a long time.
  • If venue were a factor, Butler would be 11th.
  • I appreciate not having to pick the middle of the league.
  • Ironically, positions 4-7 might be the most important because the conference will need those teams pushing for NCAA bids.
  • Watch out for the Hoyas. Though the departure of Markel Starks leaves a big hole at point guard, junior D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera has a chance to lead the Big East in scoring. Returning seniors Josh Smith, Mikael Hopkins and Jabril Trawick provide plenty of leadership alongside a suddenly deep squad and loaded freshman class including top prospects Isaac Copeland and LJ Peak - both who should press for major minutes from the get go.
  • Who knows how far Creighton is going to fall off this season. I have them realistically in a group with Marquette, Seton Hall and Providence that I struggle with rating. Any of them could surprise and have a great season, and none of them should be completely awful.
Here's the Preseason Team
Darrun Hilliard, 8
JayVaughn Pinkston, 7
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera 7
D'Angelo Harrison, 7
Matt Stainbrook 6
LaDontae Henton 3
Deonte Burton, 2
Kris Dunn 2
Tommy Hamilton 1
Matt Carlino 1
Isaiah Whitehead 1

Some takeaways:

The reason that Coach Mack has so many suitors every offseason is becoming more evident. Finishing behind Jay Wright in the voting is impressive, especially considering that the voting base is well aware of the challenges facing Mack this year.

Trevon Bluiett isn't just getting attention from Xavier fans. Whitehead at Seton Hall is a scorer, but Bluiett has no problem getting his and, as yesterday's picture shows, is now built like a Ford Ranger. The added size should help Trevon on days where his shot isn't falling. Expecting the best freshman season since Dez Wells is not at all out of the realm of possibility.

Butler is bad again this year, as is DePaul. The conference is very good as a whole, but adding some depth to offset the bottom feeders wouldn't be a bad thing. VCU seems like a great target, and there is a sentimental part of me that would like to see Syracuse come back. That said, maybe a few years of college basketball stability wouldn't be a bad thing. Butler and DePaul, though, remain anchors.

Matt Stainbrook made the preaseason all conference team. If Stainbrook's minutes go up, there's no reason to think he won't be the best center in the league. With his passing ability and the outside shooting now available to the Musketeers, there could be some massive offensive explosions coming for Xavier once the team gets used to playing together.

Participating Voters

Norman

Brewtown Andy

Brad D.
Joel D.

Casual Hoya

Chris
Pierce

Brian_Ewart
Chris Lane