NEW YORK – Connecticut will dominate and Georgetown will surprise, according to the consensus of Big East men’s basketball coaches. The coaches and top league players gathered at [the conference’s annual media day Wednesday]( at the New York Hilton. Connecticut, which returns all five starters from last year’s 32-5, Elite Eight team, was the unanimous choice of Big East coaches as the top team in the preseason poll. In fact, most coaches overlooked UConn’s expected Big East dominance and predicted higher accomplishments. “They have all the ingredients to be a No. 1 team and compete for a national championship,” said Seton Hall Head Coach Tommy Amaker. “I can’t imagine anyone being better than they are right now.” Connecticut Head Coach Jim Calhoun is not accepting any concession speeches, however. “I don’t think we’re head and shoulders above our league,” he said. “I think we have potentially four or five teams that could be top 25 teams, and if you’re a top 25 team, there’s no head and shoulders above anyone.” Part of Connecticut’s appeal is its stars, featuring two All-Big East First Team members, sophomore guard Khalid El-Amin and junior forward Richard Hamilton. Hamilton, last year’s Big East Player of the Year, was picked by the coaches to repeat his title this season. “My biggest challenge is coming in night in and night out and giving 100 percent,” he said. Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson, who has been a Big East coach since the inception of the league 20 years ago, spoke to a large media crowd about issues affecting all of college basketball. Issues he addressed include freshman ineligibility and Big East scheduling. Thompson also spoke about his propensity for recruiting foreign players. “We live in the world now more than we live in America,” Thompson said. “It’s kind of hard for me to look at America and find out who’s a foreigner anymore.” any of the league’s coaches said they expect Georgetown to recover from last year’s injury-plagued 16-15 team. Hoyas junior [guard Shernard Long, who is academically ineligible until the end of the first semester](, made the second-team All-Big East squad, while sophomore guard Anthony Perry, who did not play as a freshman last season because he failed to meet NCAA Clearinghouse initial eligibility requirements, was named a preseason Co-Rookie of the Year. “They were hit hard [by injuries], they had a really good recruiting year with good kids coming in and obviously Coach John Thompson is one of the greats in the business, so I would imagine that they will be a very strong team this year,” Amaker said. “Last year was a tough year [for Georgetown], and what they were able to accomplish with all the injuries and distractions to me was amazing,” Rutgers Head Coach Kevin Bannon said. “I think they’re just poised to be the old Georgetown, bounce back and be an elite team in the league.” Georgetown sent seniors Joe Touomou and Jameel Watkins to the event. Tououmou said Georgetown would rely on its intensity to attack its opponents. “We want to feel that every time we play against a team they’re nervous about our intensity and how physical we’re going to play,” Touomou said.

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