Marshall Athletic Director Dave Braine emerged as the leading candidate for the vacant athletic director's job at Virginia Tech, according to a reports.

Larry Travis, the Kansas State AD and the other finalist for the vacancy, told the Roanoke Times & World-News he has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Dale T. (Dutch) Baughman resigned in June after less than six months at the school . . .

Syracuse, runner-up last season to national champion Indiana, has been chosen No. 1 in the Associated Press' preseason basketball poll.

"It's a nice honor, but it's more a reflection of how we did last year than what we'll do this year, and the fact that we've got three key guys coming back," Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim said.

The Orangemen, 31-7 last season, received 32 of 64 first-place votes and 1,177 points from a nationwide panel of writers and broadcasters. It was the first No. 1 ranking in the poll for Syracuse.

Purdue, one of four Big Ten teams among the top 11, edged North Carolina for second, 975-974.

Syracuse also was No. 1 in the United Press International coaches' rankings. But North Carolina was second, followed by Indiana, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Kentucky, Kansas, Missouri and Arizona.

(Complete poll, E7.) . . .

Georgetown Coach John Thompson, coach of the 1988 Olympic basketball team, sees no harm in U.S. college teams playing the Soviet Union. He's not too keen on teaching the Soviets the finer points of the game, though.

"I'm concerned about us training them to beat us," Thompson said. "Why are America's best, the NBA, involved in training our opponents, the Russian team? Sometimes, we're too diplomatic. We've got to remember that bending over backward can break your back." . . .

American University's second-year volleyball coach, Kizzie Mailander, has been named Colonial Athletic Association coach of the year, and Tricia Gilbert and Karin Churchfield, both freshmen, were named to the all-conference second team. Also the CAA coaches named American University's new Bender Arena as the site for their 1988 volleyball championship . . .

Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer won't need surgery, but will wear a cast on his left leg for six weeks, after injuring his knee on the sideline during the game against Missouri Saturday.