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Bearcats Picked To Finish Fourth in the AAC

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The oh-so-important preseason conference coaches poll. It's probably the most accurate predictor of where teams will end up at the conclusion of the 2014-15 basketball season [sarcasm off].

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were picked to finish first last year in the American Athletic Conference? And then went wire-to-wire and, in fact, ended up as league champs?

Me neither. Well they did end up as league champs - that much is true.

The Bearcats were picked fourth last year in the preseason coaches poll last year, and, yes, they did go on to finish in a tie for the regular season conference championship. And Cincinnati fans would be thrilled with the same outcome this year as Mick Cronin's squad was pegged for fourth place in the AAC behind UConn, SMU, and Memphis.

I get it - the conference wants to create a little buzz prior to the start of the season, and the media needs something to write about, so that's why they have these preseason polls. Speaking of buzz, the AAC probably could have had a bit more of it had they scheduled their media day on a day different than the ACC, but that's a different topic.

On to my narrative for the first part of this year:

This isn't the first time a Mick Cronin coached team has felt "disrepected," but it's probably warranted given the turnover on this year's roster. Yes, you can make a case that we don't know what to expect out of SMU and that we've owned Memphis lately, but I think fourth place is about right.

Oh - and the Bearcats didn't have a single player named to the any of the preseason all-conference teams. Again, not shocking.

But this will do one thing: continue to burn Cronin's "disrespect" flame. He'll have a chip squarely planted on the shoulders of every Bearcat during the first half of this year. He alluded to it at the tip-off event earlier this year, and you'll continue to hear him and the players talk about it from time-to-time.

Whether the Bearcats can keep that motivation throughout the entire season, though, is something we'll see in time.

2014-15 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

PRESEASON COACHES' POLL

Rank Team (First-Place Votes)

1. UConn (6)

2. SMU (5)

3. Memphis

4. Cincinnati

5. Tulsa

6. Temple

7. Houston

8. USF

9. UCF

10. East Carolina

11. Tulane

2014-15 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

PRESEASON INDIVIDUAL HONORS

Preseason Player of the Year: Ryan Boatright, G, Sr., UConn

Preseason Rookie of the Year: Daniel Hamilton, G/F, Fr., UConn

PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS

First Team

Ryan Boatright, G, UConn *

Shaq Goodwin, F, Memphis

Austin Nichols, F, Memphis

Nic Moore, G, SMU *

Markus Kennedy, F, SMU *

James Woodard, G, Tulsa

Second Team

Amida Brimah, C, UConn

Anthony Collins, G, USF

Chris Perry, F, USF

Will Cummings, G, Temple

Quenton DeCosey, G, Temple

* unanimous selection