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Louisville named AAC favorite, Smith preseason POY

The SportsXchange

Russ Smith and the Louisville Cardinals were named the overwhelming favorites by league coaches to claim the first American Athletic Conference title.

Smith, one of three starters returning for coach Rick Pitino from the team that won the national championship in April, was voted the preseason player of the year in the inaugural season of a league created largely of leftovers from the former Big East.

Louisville will join the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. Rutgers, another member of the former Big East, is headed to the Big Ten in 2014 after one year in the AAC.

Connecticut received one vote and is picked to finish second behind Louisville. Memphis was third, followed by Cincinnati, Temple and SMU.

Smith returned for his senior season after being named an All-American and averaging 22.3 points in the postseason for the Cardinals.

For the 2012-13 season, he averaged 18.7 points and 2.5 steals per game.

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