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Villanova top choice in Big East ahead of Creighton

Villanova is the pick to win the Big East again, according to the league's coaches.

The Wildcats, who shared the regular-season title last year with Creighton and Seton Hall, received nine first-place votes on Wednesday. It's the sixth time in the past seven seasons that Jay Wright's squad was predicted to win the conference.

Creighton, led by preseason player of the year Marcus Zegarowski, was picked second. It's the highest preseason position for the Bluejays since they joined the conference for the 2013-14 season. Creighton received the other two first-place votes.

Providence was the third choice in the conference. UConn, which returns to the conference after a seven-year absence, was predicted to come in fourth — just ahead of Seton Hall. The Pirates have to replace Big East Player of the Year Myles Powell.

Marquette, Xavier and Butler were the next three, with St. John's, DePaul and Georgetown rounding out the preseason poll. The Golden Eagles are expecting big things out of first-year power forward Dawson Garcia, who was chosen as the preseason conference freshman of the year.

More AP college basketball: https://twitter.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25