After smashing Creighton in straight sets on Thursday and sliding past Providence in similar fashion on Friday, Marquette has now won eight straight matches and sits alone in first place in the Big East at 7-0.
The news gets even better as, thanks to Creighton holding onto a #12 ranking last week when they visited the McGuire Center, Marquette earned votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll for the first time since early September. MU found their way into the “Also Receiving Votes” section early in the season after defeating preseason #20 Hawaii, but slipped back out again after failing to close out Wichita State in the second weekend of the season.
This time around, Marquette picked up 13 points in the polling, more than they had after beating Hawaii. Since we’re in early October, the voting has settled down a bit, as gaining two points in the voting means sitting at an unofficial rank of #29 in the country after 11 points meant MU was at #36 a month ago.
Creighton slides down to #17 with their loss. In other Marquette opponent news, Kentucky is up to #8 in the country, which is impressive given the tightly contested match that the Golden Eagles had against the Wildcats in the McGuire Center. Wisconsin sits at #11, UCLA is #12, San Diego is #18, and Wichita State is #22. The bad news here is that Marquette lost to all of these teams outside of the Bluejays.
The other bad news is that you’ll notice the lack of non-Creighton Big East teams in that list, which means MU won’t get another chance at a ranked team until the trip to Omaha on November 4th. Things are actually a little more risky than that in terms of Marquette sneaking into the top 25. If you check out the NCAA’s official RPI, which was updated on October 8th, Creighton is #14 and Marquette is a “probably NCAA tournament safe” #32. Past that, you get Villanova at #67, Butler at #75, and everyone else is a sub-100 team. I suppose it is a positive thing that MU still has both Villanova matches ahead of them, as that could end up benefiting them in the long run. However, if MU wants to get into the top 25, they can not take another loss until they play Creighton again. That’s just the way it goes.
MU returns to the court on Saturday afternoon when they visit — SURPRISE — Villanova. The Wildcats are 11-6 overall and 4-2 in Big East action with a Wednesday night contest on the road against Seton Hall on the docket.