For the first time since joining the Big East in 2013, Creighton is the preseason pick to win the conference, with the University of Connecticut picked fourth.
The ninth-ranked Creighton Bluejays received eight first-place votes from the league’s coaches on Tuesday. Creighton returns three double-figure scorers from last season’s team that finished 23-12 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Xavier, who received the two highest votes, was chosen for second place. The Musketeers went 23-13 last season and won the NIT Championship. They were welcomed by coach Sean Miller, who was in charge of the program from 2004-09.
Villanova, the defending conference tournament champion, was picked to finish third – one point behind Xavier. It’s the first time since 2013-14 that the 16th-ranked Wildcats haven’t been picked first or second. Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright retired and the Wildcats are now led by Kyle Neptune. He has a conference freshman of the year pick in Cam Whitmore.
UConn was picked fourth and is led by preseason Big East Player of the Year Adama Sanogo.
Providence, which won the Big East regular season crown last year, was picked to be fifth. The Friars reached the Sweet 16 last season for the first time in 25 years.
St. John’s and Seton Hall followed the friars.
Seton Hall welcomed former player and assistant coach Shaheen Holloway to lead the program. Holloway led 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s to the Elite Eight last season in the best run by a lower seed in NCAA history.
Butler, Marquette, Georgetown and DePaul round out the choices.