The results of the Big East media's annual preseason poll (as tabulated by the Syracuse Post-Standard) were released today, and, to the surprise of no one, Louisville and its 48-man roster of 36 walk-ons and 12 scholarship players were selected as the unanimous favorite to win the conference crown in 2012-'13.
YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles wound up in seventh place in the voting, ranking just behind Georgetown and just ahead of South Florida (by the way: hey neat, GO BULLS). That seems about right when you think about it, given who Marquette lost after the 2011-'12 season, who it brings back, and who's ranked ahead of MU in the voting (Louisville, 'Cuse, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Georgetown).
That said: if you're a betting man (or lady), you might be well-advised to wager that Marquette's going to finish a tad higher than the media projects, based on the historical precedent from the Buzz Williams Era:
Last season, the media pegged MU in fifth place before the season, trailing Syracuse and UConn, Louisville, and Pitt. As you no doubt remember, Marquette romped to a 14-4 record and second-place finish in the BEast (and, by the by, I haven't given up hope that Marquette will eventually be named the 2011-'12 conference champions after 'Cuse's wins from last season are vacated because of whatever happened with Fabricio "Portuguese for Frequently Suspended" de Melo).
For the 2010-'11 season, Marquette was tabbed sixth in the preseason media poll. This marked the only occasion in Buzz Williams' tenure where MU underperformed relative to the poll, as a roller coaster season left Marquette with a 9-9 conference record, in a three-way tie for ninth place with Villanova and UConn, who just wound up winning the whole kielbasa a month later.
The 2009-'10 media poll had Marquette twelfth. You might remember that season as the one where Marquette lost on a prayer by Da'Sean Butler in the conference season opener at No. 6 West Virginia, leading Coach Buzz to ask the assembled media if his team looked like a twelfth-place squad. Marquette limped to a 2-5 start in conference in 2009-'10, then ripped off nine wins in eleven games to finish the year at 11-7 and tied for fifth place in the BEast with Louisville.
Buzz's inaugural season at the helm was also the last dance for seniors Dom James, Jerel McNeal, and Wes Matthews, and in a nod to that veteran talent, Marquette was ranked fifth in the preseason media poll, behind heavyweights UConn, Pitt, Louisville, and the 'Gody-led Irish. For some reason, I have no memory of how that season played out after the Georgetown game on February 21. Weird. Well, we were 12-2 at the time. I guess I'll just assume we finished top four in the conference and went to the Final Four or something.