DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Villanova has been picked by Big East coaches to win its fifth straight regular-season conference title.

Jay Wright's team received eight first-place votes from the league's coaches Wednesday. Wildcats guard Jalen Brunson was chosen as the conference's preseason player of the year, and Omari Spellman was selected freshman of the year. The Wildcats return two starters from last season's championship team.

This is the fourth consecutive time Villanova has been the coaches' preseason favorite to win the regular-season crown.

Seton Hall and Xavier received the other two first-place votes. The Pirates were second in the poll, their highest position since the 2000-01 season. The Musketeers were picked third. Providence and Creighton round out the top half of the poll.

St. John's was sixth and the Red Storm were followed by Marquette, Butler, Georgetown and DePaul. The Hoyas are led by first-year coach and Georgetown great Patrick Ewing.

Butler's Kelan Martin, Creighton's Marcus Foster, Xavier's Trevon Bluiett and Seton Hall's Khadeen Carrington and Angel Delgado make up the conference's preseason first team.

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