In predicted order of finish:
Big East. Lost to Xavier in the second round of the NCAA Tournament
Coach: Jamie Dixon, eighth season, 188-54
Top players: Junior guard Ashton Gibbs, senior guard Brad Wanamaker, senior center Gary McGhee.
The skinny: Experienced and well-balanced, athletic and tough. The Panthers return their starting backcourt of Gibbs and Wanamaker and will be anchored inside by McGhee. Should be one of the best defensive teams in the nation, which is becoming a trend.
Last season: 25-8, 13-5 Big East. Lost to St. Mary's in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Coach: Jay Wright, 17th season, 10th at Villanova, 325-184 overall.
Top players: Senior guard Corey Fisher, senior guard Corey Stokes, senior forward Antonio Pena.
The skinny: The Wildcats lost Scottie Reynolds, but are extremely deep. Emerging players in sophomore center Mouphtaou Yorou and sophomore guard Maalik Wayns will support the Coreys and Pena.
Last season: 23-11, 10-8 Big East. Lost to Ohio in the first round of the NCAA Tournament
Coach: John Thompson III, 11th season, seventh at Georgetown, 207-104 overall
Top players: Senior guard Austin Freeman, senior guard Chris Wright, junior guard Jason Clark
The skinny: The Hoyas lost center Greg Monroe to the NBA but return four starters. Freeman is the conference's preseason player of the year. The Hoyas are loaded in the backcourt.
Last season: 30-5, 15-3 Big East. Lost to Butler in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Coach: Jim Boeheim, 35th season, 829-293.
BIG EAST MEN'S PREVIEW