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Marquette Men’s Basketball Picked To Win The Big East; Tyler Kolek Named Preseason POY

The news out of New York this morning is big news in Milwaukee.

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Big East Basketball Media Day!

As expected, that means big time fancy news for Marquette men’s basketball. Shall we start with the team poll, where all 11 coaches voted, although they couldn’t vote for their own team? Marquette is #1 in the eyes of the 10 guys not named Shaka Smart, picking up seven of the first place votes and beating out second place Creighton, 96 points to 92 points.

Here’s the full rundown:

1 — Marquette, 96 points, 7 first place votes
2 — Creighton, 92 points, 4 first place votes
3 — Connecticut, 79 points
4 — Villanova, 76 points
5 — St. John’s, 59 points
6 — Xavier, 57 points
7 — Providence, 51 points
8 — Georgetown, 34 points
9 — Seton Hall, 30 points
10 — Butler, 16 points
11 — DePaul, 15 points

I find it interesting that the poll ended up sectioning the teams into very clear tiers, with only Tier #3 — the teams with point totals in the 50s — ending up with three teams in it. Very much a “Likely Champs/Likely Tourney Teams/Question Mark Town/Notable Flaws/Bad” separation. The placement of Xavier with Zach Freemantle and Jerome Hunter likely out for the year is interesting, as is the location of Georgetown as Ed Cooley resets the roster in Washington in his first year in charge of the Hoyas.

Would you like some individual honors news? Good! That news continues to be great for Marquette, as Tyler Kolek is the Big East Preseason Player of the Year.

Here’s how the league wrote it up:

Kolek, a 6-3 junior, was the 2022-23 BIG EAST Player of the Year while leading Marquette to the school’s first outright regular-season title. Kolek also guided the Golden Eagles to their first BIG EAST Tournament crown and won the Dave Gavitt Trophy as the Most Outstanding Player. The native of Cumberland, R.I., averaged 12.9 points, led the league in assists with a 7.5 average and was first in assist/turnover ratio at 3.0. Marquette finished with an overall 29-7 record.

I’d love to tell you more about Tyler Kolek, but the press release is just a copy of the league’s release on the preseason poll and doesn’t talk about any individual players.

Speaking of individual players, there is a Preseason All-Big East First Team. Tyler Kolek is not on it, but that’s a “POY is a separate entity” thing, not a “coaches are disrespecting him” thing. If you watched the league last year, then this list of five men here is not surprising to you: Trey Alexander and Ryan Kalkbrenner from Creighton, Bryce Hopkins from Providence, Joel Soriano from St. John’s, and Justin Moore from Villanova. Kalkbrenner is the only unanimous choice amongst the five, although I wonder what would have happened if Kolek was eligible to be part of the five.

Marquette is well represented on the All-Big East Second Team, as Oso Ighodaro and Kam Jones both made that five man group. They’re joined there by UConn’s Donovan Clingan, Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman, and Villanova’s Eric Dixon.

Here’s what the league office said about Ighodaro and Jones:

Marquette has two players on the All-BIG EAST Second Team, guard Kam Jones and forward Oso Ighodaro. Jones led the Golden Eagles in scoring with 15.1 average. Ighodaro was an all-around contributor, averaging 11.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 blocked shots. Jones and Ighodaro were All-BIG EAST Second Team postseason picks last year.

The only thing we didn’t cover from Madison Square Garden is UConn’s Stephon Castle being named as Preseason Freshman of the Year, and three men earned Honorable Mention all-conference honors: UConn’s Alex Karaban, Providence’s Devin Carter, and Xavier’s Zach Freemantle. That last one is an interesting choice by one of the coaches, as Freemantle is not expected to play this season after surgery to correct an injury late in the offseason.

Did I miss anything important that needs to be noted? Chat about it in the comments below!