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Irish picked to finish 7th in Big East

Notre Dame was picked to finish seventh in the Big East in the preseason coach's poll, announced Wednesday at the Big East basketball media day in New York.

The Irish went 10-8 in league play last season and finished 23-12 overall.

Pittsburgh was picked to win the conference title with 12 first-place votes followed by Villanova and Syracuse, last year's regular-season champion.

The Irish's Tim Abromaitis was named to the preseason All-Big East second team. The 6-foot-8 senior forward averaged 16.1 points last season.

Georgetown guard Austin Freeman, who averaged 16.5 points last season, was named the preseason player of the year, and Syracuse's Fab Melo was selected as the rookie of the year.

Preseason coaches' poll

First-place votes in parentheses

1. Pittsburgh (12) 222 points

2. Villanova (1) 208

3. Syracuse (2) 187

4. Georgetown 173

5. West Virginia 164

6. St. John's (1) 145

7. Notre Dame 123

T8. Louisville 121

T8. Marquette 121

10. Connecticut 113

11. Seton Hall 104

12. Cincinnati 91

13. South Florida 54

14. Providence 36

15. Rutgers 32

16. DePaul 26

Big East individual preseason awards

Player of the Year

Austin Freeman, Georgetown

Rookie of the Year

Fab Melo, Syracuse

First Team

Austin Freeman, Georgetown (Player of the Year), G, Sr., 6-3 ½, 227, Mitchellville, Md.

Kemba Walker, Connecticut, G, Jr., 6-1, 172, Bronx, N.Y.

Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh, G, Jr., 6-2, 190, Scotch Plains, N.J.

Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, G, Sr., 6-5, 188, Bronx, N.Y.

Corey Fisher, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-1, 200, Bronx, N.Y.

Kevin Jones, West Virginia, F, Jr., 6-8, 255, Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Second Team

Chris Wright, Georgetown, G, Sr., 6-1, 208, Washington, D.C.

Jimmy Butler, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-7, 220, Tomball, Texas

Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame, F, Sr., 6-8, 235, Unionville, Conn.

D.J. Kennedy, St. John's, G/F, Sr., 6-5, 214, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Kris Joseph, Syracuse, F, Jr., 6-7, 207, Montreal, Quebec

Honorable Mention

Yancy Gates, Cincinnati, F, Sr., 6-9, 260, Cincinnati, Ohio

Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette, G, Jr., 6-2, 215, Raleigh, N.C.

Rick Jackson, Syracuse, F, Sr., 6-9, 240, Philadelphia, Pa.

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