---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.
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.