The Syracuse Post-Standard's annual preseason writers poll is in and the top of the preseason Big East standings has a decidedly Keystone feel to it.
Pittsburgh received 10 out of a possible 16 first-place votes. Villanova, which was picked to finish second, received three first-place votes. Syracuse had two first-place votes and West Virginia one.
The general consensus amongst the writers seems to be that there is Pitt, Villanova, Syracuse, Georgetown and West Virginia and then there is everyone else. Making the most of their off-season, St. John's is looking up at 7th while DePaul takes its usual spot at the bottom of the pile.
On the player front, Syracuse also got some accolades. Kris Joseph was named to the Preseason All-Conference team alongside Corey Fisher (Villanova), Austin Freeman (Georgetown), Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh) and Kemba Walker (Connecticut).
Freeman was named Preseason Big East Player of the Year but that wasn't an easy selection for the writers. Seven different players received votes for POY, including Kris Joseph, who received two. Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News was one of KJ's backers:
"I think Kris Joseph is the most talented player in the Big East, and I always start with talent...The next element would be opportunity, and with Wesley Johnson and Andy Rautins gone, the opportunity is obvious. The final piece is motivation. Does the player want to be great? Can he handle the responsibility? I believe Kris will be a special player this season, but to be honest, the last part is up to him.’’
Adding some confirmation to what SU fans were already thinking, Fab Melo ran away with the Preseason Rookie of the Year vote, appearing on nine ballots. I guess when Jim Boeheim says a guy can be Rookie of the Year, everyone believes him. Dion Waiters also received two votes in the category, interestingly enough.