Last week, the UConn men's basketball team was No. 4 in the ESPN/USA Today preseason poll, behind North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio State. Friday, the Associated Press released its preseason poll and the Huskies are ranked … No. 4 behind … UNC, Kentucky and Ohio State.
Put differently: everybody agrees on the top four programs in the country. The AP, just like ESPN/USA Today, had Syracuse No. 5, followed by: Duke, Vanderbilt, Florida, Louisville and Pittsburgh.
The Big East has six teams in the top 25 -- the same as ESPN/USA Today -- two more than the Big 12 and the SEC, two conferences doing their part, even if unwittingly -- to foster upheaval in the Big East. If nothing else, it's more evidence that the Big East is, from top to bottom, a much better basketball conference than the Big 12 and SEC, it's just that conference realignment is all about football. Hoops is an afterthought.
"In the past five years we've had the best basketball league in the country," Calhoun told the AP. "We had 11 teams in the NCAA tournament last year and on paper today nine of them would be in it again."
Either way, Calhoun is focused on one thing: getting his team ready for the 2011-12 season. “I keep telling our kids, ‘we’re not defending national champions,’” Calhoun told reporters at Big East Media Day last week. “We’re not defending anything. We won last year, no one can take it away from us. What we are is one of any number of teams with a chance to win this year.”