The first in-season Associated Press poll of the 2023-24 men’s college basketball season came out on Monday, and it contained good news for Marquette.
As was the case when the preseason AP poll came out, the Golden Eagles are once again holding their best ranking since the 1977-78 season. Monday’s poll has MU at #4 in the country, which surpasses the preseason ranking of #5 as the program’s best ranking since a #3 spot on March 6, 1978.
Marquette snagged 1,311 points in the polling, which has them behind the 1,356 accrued by #3 Arizona following their road win over then-#2 Duke, but ahead of the 1,301 that Connecticut picked up at #5 in the country this week, one spot better than they were in the preseason poll.
It’s safe to say that Marquette is improving in the minds of the voters in general. They are up to six people putting them at #2 in the country after only having two votes there in the preseason poll. MU’s lowest ranking is at #10, same as in the preseason, but they have just one voter placing them there instead of two.
The #1 and #2 teams in the country have not changed, and they are still both teams that Marquette might see in the Maui Invitational next week. Kansas is #1 with 51 first place votes, while Purdue grabbed seven top spot votes to end up at #2. We already mentioned UConn at #5, so we move on to #7 Tennessee, another possible Maui opponent, up two spots at #7, followed by Creighton staying steady at #8. Gonzaga, another Maui team, is still #11, and then we have to dip down to #21 in the country to get another team on MU’s schedule. That’s Villanova, up one spot from the preseason. Illinois, the next team that Marquette will face, ascended two spots from the preseason poll to #23 this week, just to add some extra juice to Tuesday night’s game.
St. John’s leads the way in the Receiving Votes department, at least in terms of the Golden Eagles’ schedule, picking up 47 points to be the unofficial #28 team in the country. [checks scoreboard as I write this on Monday night] Although that’s clearly not going to be the case next week. UCLA, the team Marquette will face first in Maui, is at the unofficial #29 spot, and six points worth of votes was good enough to land Wisconsin at #36.
#4 Marquette returns to action on Tuesday night when they face #23 Illinois down at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois. Tipoff on FS1 is scheduled for 7pm Central time.