To start, there are a lot of preseason rankings out there. I've followed a few, but there are getting to be too many to keep up with. Chas over at Pitt Blather has a good rundown of the ones out there.
Pat Forde at ESPN.com thinks Pitt is a contender for next season and possibly the best team in the Big East:
4. Pittsburgh: The Panthers overachieved last season, winning 25 games with only a single senior playing a major role. Expect more next season from a program still trying to shatter the Elite Eight ceiling that has hovered above it in recent years. In a Big East that has lost a lot of sizzle, Pitt could be the clear preseason favorite.Former Pitt standout Charles Smith has been advising Seton Hall's Herb Pope and says he should be able to make a full recovery from his recent health issues that helped force him out of the NBA Draft.
And Jamie Dixon apparently helped, at least somewhat, in Robert Morris' hiring of assistant coach Andrew Toole.