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Preseason College Basketball Rankings, Top 25: Pitt Panthers Open At No. 11; WVU Receives Votes

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.

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 (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Getty Images

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.

The North Carolina Tar Heels, Kentucky Wildcats, and Ohio St. Buckeyes rank Nos. 1-3, respectively.

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.

For complete coverage of the Panthers, please visit Cardiac Hill. The Smoking Musket remains your source for Mountaineers coverage, and Big East Coast Bias has everything you need to know about Big East athletics.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.