I didn't expect preseason lacrosse polls to drop in mid-December, considering that Marquette's season doesn't start until February 8th. But I saw VU Hoops mention a preseason poll from Inside Lacrosse the other day, and said, "Hey, that makes sense. IL has to get out in front of the entire country, but the league won't announce the polling until mid-January."
Nope, wrong. That's the official Big East coaches' poll, at least according to the Big East Twitter account.
So, unfortunately, that means no chance to make our usual unscientific predictions on the order of finish or on the all-conference team. But we can still assess what's going on in the Big East this season.
First up, here's how the coaches see the Big East sorting out this year:
2. St. John’s
Hey, neat! They put the two newcomers to the Big East on opposite sides of the poll! I suppose since Denver is an established power under Hall of Fame head coach Bill Tierney, they might have a better chance of succeeding this season than Marquette, who is entering the second year of their program. Plus, Denver was a semifinalist in last year's NCAA tournament. So they've got that going for them, which is nice.
As for the Big East preseason all-conference team, here's the full list:
A Kieran McArdle, St. John’s
A Kevin Cernuto, St. John’s
A Wesley Berg, Denver
M Charlie McCormick, Georgetown
M John Kluh, Villanova
M Jeremy Noble, Denver
FO Joe Nardella, Rutgers
SSDM Thomas Croonquist, Villanova
LSM John LoCascio, Villanova
D Chris Conroy, Villanova
D Carson Cannon, Denver
D Tyler Knarr, Georgetown
G Kris Alleyne, Rutgers
Providence and Marquette do not have a representative on the team at all, which is a drag. This all-conference first team is essentially every single returning player from last year's league that was on the first or second all-Big East postseason teams with the exception of Providence midfielder Andrew Barton, plus the two returning first team all-ECAC guys from Denver. The only odd addition is Denver's Jeremy Noble, but he struggled with a hamstring injury last year after being a terror for the Pioneers in 2012.
I know the stats don't directly translate, as Marquette did not play a full Big East schedule last year, but I believe that Marquette will have representatives on the postseason all-conference team. Out of the players on the teams that returned to the Big East this season, senior attacker Tyler Melnyk had the fifth highest points per game average at 2.92, and sophomore attacker Conor Gately had the seventh highest average at 2.77 per game. Gately made his impact by handing out assists, finishing with the third highest average at 1.54 per game, while Melnyk was a dual threat, ranking seventh in goals average (1.77 gpg) and fifth in assists average (1.15 apg).