Huskies Picked 9th in Big East

For any number of reasons, the 2012-13 season won't resemble what we've come to expect from the Huskies men's basketball team. Jim Calhoun retired after 26 years, five players left the program for either the NBA or other programs, and promoted assistant coach Kevin Ollie inherits a young, inexperienced team. And while internally, expectations may be high, everybody else is understandably skeptical.

How skeptical?

We're talking UConn football expectations. The Huskies were picked ninth in the 15-team Big East by conference coaches (via's John Silver). This is the same team that ranked fourth nationally in the 2011-12 preseason poll. Also worth noting: The Huskies have finished ninth in the conference in each of the last two seasons.

The difference between those teams and this one? To paraphrase former Celtics coach Rick Pitino, who now is at Louisville (incidentally, they're ranked first in the Big East): Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb ain't walking through that door.

That burden now falls to guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, some veteran role players and a handful of freshmen and sophomores with tons of talent but no big-time college experience.

As for the Big East preseason honors, Napier is the only Huskies player to get a name-check. He's a second-team all-conference selection. Louisville's Peyton Siva is the preseason player of the year, and Pitt's Steven Adams is the conference's rookie of the year.

The complete 2012-13 preseason Big East coaches' poll is below (first-place votes are in parentheses, to the right of that are total points received).

1. Louisville (14) 196
2. Syracuse 175
3. Notre Dame (1) 166
4. Cincinnati 152
5. Georgetown 136
6. Pittsburgh 132
7. Marquette 121
8. USF 96
9. Connecticut 83
10. St. John’s 73
11. Rutgers 63
12. Villanova 61
13. DePaul 48
14. Seton Hall 42
15. Providence 31

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