It was Big East Media Day on Wednesday, and things got started very early as the league announced the results of the preseason coaches’ poll before a lot of people in the Central time zone even had a chance to pour a cup of coffee. The notable part for the Marquette Golden Eagles fan that reads a wonderful Marquette website like this is that the Golden Eagles finished sixth in the polling for predicted standings this season. In addition to that poll making its way into the public view, Marquette freshman forward Dawson Garcia was voted as the league’s Preseason Freshman of the Year, and MU sophomore guard D.J. Carton was included on the preseason all-Big East teams as an Honorable Mention.
Villanova was installed as the preseason favorite in the Big East this season, earning 99 points in the poll with nine of the 11 first place votes. Creighton is second with the other two first place votes and 91 points. Providence (79 points), UConn (69), and Seton Hall (67) are the three squads in between the first place vote getters and Marquette. Xavier comes in one spot behind the Golden Eagles with 47 points. The poll is then rounded out by Butler (37 points), St. John’s (33), DePaul (20), and Georgetown (13).
For whatever it’s worth to you, Garcia is not a unanimous pick as the best freshman in the league heading into the season. We don’t know who else picked up a vote, of course, as no freshmen were included amongst the 14 players honored by the league as all-conference performers heading into 2020-21. Garcia is the #36 prospect in the country for the Class of 2020, which makes him the top ranked prospect joining the Big East. Just based on recruiting rankings alone, I would have to presume that Connecticut’s Andre Jackson (#50 in the country) is the most likely recipient of a vote, and Xavier’s Dwon Odom (#55) has to be up there, too. I have to wonder if Eric Dixon was included in the thought process for at least one non-Jay Wright coach. The 6’7” forward was the #71 prospect in the country in the Class of 2019, but redshirted last year for Villanova and thus would be eligible for the award that ultimately went to Garcia.
Carton is MU’s only representative on the preseason all-Big East squads, and that should not be a surprise to you if you look at the previous accomplishments of the chaps on the Marquette roster. The Bettendorf, Iowa, native appeared in 20 games for Ohio State a year ago and averaged 10.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game in just 23.9 minutes of action on average. If you see the former top 40 prospect as taking up a major role for the Golden Eagles in 2020-21 and give him a 25% boost on those stats to go with a 25% boost in minutes, you get 13 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. That definitely seems like all-conference worthy heading into the year.
In other Big East award related news, Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski was named the Preseason Player of the Year. That was not a unanimous vote, but since the Big East is weird and does not include Zegarowski on the preseason First Team, we don’t have full information here. However, I can tell you that Seton Hall’s Sandro Mamukelashvili and Villanova’s Collin Gillespie were unanimous selections for the First Team. As such, they definitely appear to be the most likely options as far as who else may have gotten a POY vote.
We’ll wrap up with a full run down of all of the voting, and then turn the comments over to you, the wise and intelligent Marquette fan, for reactions.
BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Marcus Zegarowski, Creighton, G, Jr.
BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year
Dawson Garcia, Marquette, F, Fr.
Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team
Charlie Moore, DePaul, G, Sr.
David Duke, Providence, G, Jr.
Sandro Mamukelashvili, Seton Hall, F, Sr.
Collin Gillespie, Villanova, G, Sr.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova, F, So.
Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team
Bryce Nze, Butler, F, Sr.
James Bouknight, Connecticut, G, So.
Mitch Ballock, Creighton, G, Sr.
Nate Watson, Providence, C, Sr.
Justin Moore, Villanova, G, So.
Paul Scruggs, Xavier, G, Sr.
Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
D.J. Carton, Marquette, G, So.
Bryce Aiken, Seton Hall, G, Sr.
2020-21 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Villanova, 99 points
2. Creighton, 91
3. Providence, 79
4. Connecticut, 69
5. Seton Hall, 67
6. Marquette, 50
7. Xavier, 47
8. Butler, 37
9. St. John’s, 33
10. DePaul, 20
11. Georgetown, 13