CBK Roundup: Marquette, Louisville preseason conference favorites

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Marquette was voted the preseason favorite by Big East coaches to win the conference in its first season as a basketball-only league.

Georgetown and Creighton were voted second and third followed by Villanova, St. John's and Providence.

Marquette was Big East co-champion in 2012-13.

The reconfigured league might be unrecognizable to start the season. Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and defending national champion Louisville are no longer affiliated with the storied conference.

Doug McDermott of Creighton, a senior forward and 2012 All-American, was voted preseason player of the year.

---Russ Smith and the Louisville Cardinals were named the overwhelming favorites by league coaches to claim the first American Athletic Conference title.

Smith, one of three starters returning for coach Rick Pitino from the team that won the national championship in April, was voted the preseason player of the year in the inaugural season of a league created largely of schools formerly from the Big East.

Louisville will join the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. Rutgers, another member of the Big East, is headed to the Big Ten in 2014 after one year in the AAC.

Connecticut received one vote and is picked to finish second behind Louisville. Memphis was third, followed by Cincinnati, Temple and SMU.

Smith returned for his senior season after being named an All-American and averaging 22.3 points in the postseason for the Cardinals.

---Mike Aresco, commissioner of the new American Athletic Conference, declared at the league's first basketball media day that he is not in favor of players receiving additional compensation outside of their athletic scholarships.

"We will not pay players," Aresco said. "We will not establish an employer-employee relationship. That's not what college sports is about, and it is the road to ruin."

Aresco said the AAC would consider a stipend proposed at the NCAA level last year for full cost-of-attendance scholarships and added that he supports strengthening the relationship between schools and players.

The AAC is entering its first season after a split with the Big East. The new conference is in flux with Louisville and Rutgers leaving after this season to join the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten, respectively, and several new members joining in 2014.

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