Do you remember how the last Associated Press poll of the 2022-23 season for men’s basketball went for Marquette? If you don’t, that’s fine, we can remind you. The Golden Eagles wrapped up the season in the eyes of the poll — before the NCAA tournament, by the way — at #6 in the country, marking the first time that MU was in the final poll since 2013. It was also Marquette’s best finish in a final AP poll since 1976, when Al McGuire’s team was #2.
So, with that in mind, and remembering that Marquette returns four of the five starters from a team that won a Big East regular season title and earned the best NCAA tournament seed in program history, that prompts questions to mind.
Namely: Where will Marquette be when the AP releases the preseason poll for the 2023-24 season?
It seems like a safe wager that the Golden Eagles will be a preseason top 10 team. That then prompts the curious mind to wonder about the last time Marquette was a preseason top 10 team, as well as their entire history with the preseason AP poll.
So, let’s run through it, shall we? Marquette has been ranked in the preseason poll just 21 times in the history of the AP rankings, and all of them have come in the last 60 years. However, most of them happened quite some time ago, so if we’re right about that top 10 situation, then there’s going to be what I presume to be a majority of Marquette fans getting to experience some history on October 16th when that poll is released.
We’ll start with the most recent preseason ranking and work backwards from there. For simplicity of reading and understandings how rare things have been over the recent history of the program, we’ll provide convenient decade headers to break things up.
Yes, it’s been a full decade since Marquette was a preseason top 25 team.
This is Marquette’s best preseason ranking since Butch Lee won National Player of the Year. Not was. IS, because no team has done better than this in the last decade and a half either.
If we presume that 5 years old is a reasonable cutoff mark, then everything below this line happened before every single current Marquette traditional undergraduate student can remember.
Everything below this line happened before every single current Marquette traditional undergraduate student was born.
You have to be over the age of 40 — yes, 40, not even 30, we’re skipping a few years because reasons — for anything below this line to have happened during your lifetime.
This was Doc Rivers’ junior year.
From here down, we enter The Glory Days for the next 10 seasons.
This is the last time Marquette was in the preseason top 10 and the preseason top 5.
This one is funny because largely speaking, we think of the National Championship Team as “Not Al McGuire’s best team” based on their in-season accomplishments, but that team had the best preseason ranking in program history.
You have to be over the age of 50 for anything below this line to have happened in your lifetime.
Marquette’s first preseason top 5 ranking.
Marquette’s first preseason top 10 ranking.
And that’s it. MU was never ranked in the preseason AP poll before Al McGuire’s fifth season. Ranked, sure, going back all the way to Week 7 in 1954-55. Ranked in the final poll of the year, sure, in 1955 again. Never in the preseason poll before Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walter Cunningham flew the first crewed Apollo mission in October 1968.
If Marquette is in the preseason top 5, it will be the first top 5 ranking of any kind for MU since they were #3 in the country in the poll on March 6, 1978. If Marquette manages to be #1 in the preseason AP poll, it will be just the fourth time that they have achieved that ranking. The first three happened in January 1971, February 1971, and February 1978.