Big East Basketball Media Day was on Tuesday, and that means that we got the results of the preseason poll of the league’s coaches as to how they think things are going to go in 2022-23. Let’s just get right to it: The Big East coaches voted YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles to finish ninth in the league this year. Marquette picked up 32 points in the poll, landing them four points behind eighth place Butler and 11 points in front of 10th place Georgetown.
We should immediately point out that Marquette was picked to finish ninth last season. What ended up happening was the Golden Eagles went 11-8 and tied for fifth place with Seton Hall. You’d think that would teach the coaches a thing or two about what to think about Shaka Smart and the Golden Eagles, but alas. In fairness, four of the people voting weren’t part of the league last year, so I guess they’ll just have to learn to doubt MU the hard way.
As you can see from the graphic, Creighton is the favorite to win the league this season, but it’s far from a unanimous decision even with the Bluejays earning eight of the possible 10 votes since coaches can’t vote for their own team. Xavier, in their first year under head coach Sean Miller, snagged two first place votes, while Villanova, also with a first year head coach in Kyle Neptune, picked up the last one. That creates something of a top tier in the league with XU and VU just one point apart from each other and within 15 points of the Jays in the top spot. I think that makes Tier Two UConn and Providence, with St. John’s, Seton Hall, Butler, and MU in Tier Three.
The final tier has the bottom two teams in Georgetown and DePaul, and I want to pause on this for a second. Georgetown, as of right this second not to mention the second when these coaches voted in this poll, is on a 21 game losing streak including going 0-19 in Big East play. The Hoyas have not won a Big East regular season game since March 2nd, 2021 and really return just one big time contributor from last season..... and I’m supposed to believe that they’re not the worst team in the league? On top of that, I’m expected to believe that DePaul is so bad in comparison to a team that is being dragged into a ditch by the best player in program history that the Blue Demons picked up 12 points, just two more than the 10 points if they had received 10 last place votes? What the actual hell is this?
By the way: If Georgetown had received 10 votes in second-to-last place, that would be 20 points. At least one coach has the Hoyas better than two teams in the Big East.
Onwards to the individual awards, which is much less insane.
Preseason Player of the Year: Adama Sanogo, UConn
Preseason Freshman of the Year: Cam Whitmore, Villanova
Here’s how the league wrote these two guys up:
Sanogo, a 6-9 junior, ranked seventh in the BIG EAST last season in scoring with a 15.1 average. He led the league in rebounding with a 9.7 mark and was first in field goal shooting, making 50.9 percent. Sanogo was an All-BIG EAST First Team selection in 2021-22 while helping the Huskies to a 23-10 overall record, a 13-6 BIG EAST mark and an NCAA Tournament bid. As a freshman two seasons ago, the native of Bamako, Mali, made the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team and BIG EAST All-Tournament Team.
Whitmore, a highly rated prep recruit from Odenton, Md., was the Most Outstanding Player of the USA Basketball U18 team that won the FIBA U18 Americas Championship this past summer. The 6-7 forward was a McDonald’s All-America selection and the Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year at Archbishop Spalding High School.
Here’s the Preseason All-Big East Teams, and as always, the POY is not on the First Team because the Big East is weird. Also, there was a tie in the voting, which is why there’s six players on the Second Team.
I don’t know if it was necessary, but the league did announce three guys as Honorable Mention for preseason all-BE honors: Whitmore, Butler’s Chuck Harris, and Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman. I think Scheierman’s inclusion is fascinating, as I don’t recall off the top of my head the last time that a transfer making their Big East debut earned any kind of preseason honor from the league. I am sure someone is furiously typing out a comment right this second to tell me exactly when the last time it happened.
In any case, Scheierman’s inclusion in the HM department gives the Bluejays four guys with preseason all-conference honors. That’s pretty impressive and definitely explains why they’re the favorite to win the league. I suspect that four guys with all-league honors won’t stand up to the test of the regular season, but we’ll have to wait til March to see if that’s accurate.
As you’ll note, there is not a single Golden Eagle in any of the 14 preseason all-Big East spots, 15 if you count Sanogo’s POY honors as a spot. Feels like Tyler Kolek at the very least is being drastically overlooked after leading the conference in assists per game last season, but that’s merely one opinion from one humble but clearly biased blogger.
What did they get right? What did they get wrong? The comments section is yours to comment as needed.