(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Jamie Dixon's club ranks No. 11 in the first USA Today Coaches' poll of the season, but three other Big East clubs rank ahead of it.
In the first USA Today Coaches' Poll of the 2011/12 men's college basketball season, the Pittsburgh Panthers are ranked No. 11 in the country. Last season, Pitt's 28-6 record and first-place finish in the Big East helped them finish No. 12 in the final Coaches' Poll. That season ended in defeat to the Butler Bulldogs in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Though Pitt stands at No. 11, three Big East foes rank ahead of it: the Connecticut Huskies (No. 4), Syracuse Orange (No. 5), and Louisville Cardinals (No. 8). In addition, the Marquette Golden Eagles rank No. 21, while the Cincinnati Bearcats stand at No. 22.
Also of note: the West Virginia Mountaineers received some votes, but not enough to place them in the top 25. The Big East's strong representation in the preseason poll attests to its strength, and thus the difficulty each of its teams will face in nearly every game.
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