The American Athletic Conference’s first-ever preseason coaches poll is out. As expected, Louisville was No. 1.
UConn is the second choice and Shabazz Napier was named to the preseason all-conference team.
Louisville, the defending national champion, was a unanimous choice to win the league and Cardinals guard Russ Smith was named preseason player of the year.
The poll and teams were announced this morning at the FedEx Forum as part of the American’s Media Day.
Louisville received nine first-place votes. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams and Louisville’s Rick Pitino obviously voted for the Huskies.
Louisville received a total of 81 points in the poll and UConn 69, just one point more than the third choice, Memphis. Memphis was followed in the poll by Cincinnati, Temple, SMU, Houston, South Florida, Central Florida and Rutgers.
Napier, Smith and Memphis’ Joe Jackson were unanimous selections to the first team. They were joined by Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick and another Louisville standout, forward Chane Behanan.
Napier’s UConn backcourt partner, junior Ryan Boatright, was named to the second team.
UConn junior forward DeAndre Daniels, who averaged 12.1 points per game last season and 21.3 over his final four, was not named to either of the teams.
UConn, which is less than three years removed from its most recent national championships, return all five of their starters and their stop six scorers from last season’s 20-11 squad.
UConn opens regular season play Nov. 9 against Maryland at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Its first AAC game is Dec. 31 in Houston.
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Louisville (9) 81
2. UConn (1) 69
3. Memphis 68
4. Cincinnati 58
5. Temple 40
6. SMU 39
7. Houston 28
8. South Florida 27
9. Central Florida 24
10. Rutgers 16
PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR _ Russ Smith (Louisville)
PRESEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR _ Keith Frazier (SMU)
PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati)
Shabazz Napier (UConn)*
Chane Behanan (Louisville)
Russ Smith (Louisville)*
Joe Jackson (Memphis)*
Isaiah Sykes (Central Florida)
Ryan Boatright (UConn)
TaShawn Thomas (Houston)
Montrezl Harrell (Louisville)
Anthony Collins (South Florida)
Victor Rudd (South Florida)