Connecticut and Seton Hall chosen to win divisions by Big East coaches

Wednesday, October 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Connecticut, which lost three starters from last season, and Seton Hall, which has one of the best freshman classes in the country, were chosen Wednesday as the favorites in their respective divisions in a vote of Big East coaches.

Troy Murphy of Notre Dame, the league's player of the year last season when he became the first player to lead the conference in scoring and rebounding, was chosen preseason player of the year.

With the addition of Virginia Tech this season, the Big East will compete in two seven-team divisions, with each school playing 16 conference games _ home-and-home against divisional opponents and four against teams from the other division on a rotating basis.

Connecticut, which must replace Khalid El-Amin, Kevin Freeman and Jake Voskuhl, received 12 first-place votes and 90 points in the East Division, easily outdistancing St. John's, which received 72 points. Villanova, which received two first-place votes, was third with 69 points, followed by Miami (58), Boston College (37), Providence (35) and Virginia Tech (24).

Seton Hall, which advanced to the NCAA regional semifinals last season and has added high school stars Eddie Griffin and Andre Barrett, was No. 1 on four ballots and received 80 points in the West.

Georgetown was second with five first-place votes and 77 points. Notre Dame, first on three ballots, was third with 68 points, five more than Syracuse, which had two first-place votes. Pittsburgh was fifth with 45 points, followed by West Virginia (27) and Rutgers (25).

Murphy, who averaged 21.7 points and 10.5 rebounds as a sophomore last season, was joined on the preseason all-conference first team by Georgetown guard Kevin Braswell, Pittsburgh forward Ricardo Greer and Seton Hall guard Darius Lane _ all juniors _ and Boston College sophomore guard Troy Bell.

The second team had three seniors _ Connecticut guard Albert Mouring, Georgetown center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje and Georgetown forward Lee Scruggs _ Villanova junior center Michael Bradley, a transfer from Kentucky, and Seton Hall sophomore center Samuel Dalembert.

Griffin, a 6-9 forward from Philadelphia, was chosen preseason rookie of the year.