Wednesday October 22nd, 2014

The Big East Conference released its preseason coaches poll on Wednesday, and Villanova was a unanimous selection to finish first.

Coach Jay Wright's Wildcats received nine of 10 first-place votes, as coaches aren't allowed to vote for their own team. Villanova finished 29-5 last season and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It was upset by eventual national champion UConn in the third round.

Villanova returns several players from last season, including guard Darrun Hilliard II (14.3 ppg), forward JayVaughn Pinkston (14.1 ppg) and guard Ryan Arcidiacono (9.9 ppg).

Georgetown received the only other first-place vote and finished second in the poll. St. John's, Xavier and Providence rounded out the top five.

• Father of five-star Diamond Stone: No decision date

Hoyas guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera was voted the Big East preseason player of the year. He averaged 17.6 points per game last season as a sophomore.

Matt Stainbrook of Xavier, D'Angelo Harrison of St. John's, Kellen Dunham of Butler and Pinkston join Smith-Rivera on the preseason first-team.

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- Paul Palladino

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