After winning the Big East Title in 2022-23, the Marquette Golden Eagles look to make a deeper run in March. Shaka Smart has a very talented team, and Marquette has national championship aspirations. Thus, the Golden Eagles rank first in this preseason rankings series.
Big East Rankings: #1-Marquette Golden Eagles
Projected Starting 5
PG- Tyler Kolek
SG- Stevie Mitchell
SF- Kameron Jones
PF- David Joplin
C- Oso Ighodaro
Where the Golden Eagles Found Success
Marquette was 12th in offensive efficiency a year ago. Averaging 1.105 points per possession, the Golden Eagles had a tremendous offense. Kolek and Jones led on this end, but it was a team effort. Ighodaro was excellent in diving to the rim, Joplin and Mitchell were good bench pieces, and Olivier Maxence-Prosper was a tremendous all-around player. Their offense was tough to stop because of their ball movement, speed, and spacing. With virtually all their scoring back, except for Maxence-Prosper, Marquette looks to repeat their offensive success. They also shot an effective field-goal percentage of 56%, ranked seventh nationally.
The Golden Eagles were an exceptional passing team. They were sixth in the country in assists per game. Averaging 17.3 assists per game, Marquette’s biggest strength was their ability to move the ball. More specifically, Kolek led the conference in assists at 7.5. He also had the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the conference at 3.22. The Golden Eagles were fourth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.617.
Chemistry gets developed from everyone feeling involved in offense or defense. For Marquette, their ability to share the ball made everyone get involved on the offensive end. Expect this area of their game to stay the same this season with Kolek returning.
Why Are They Number One?
The Golden Eagles’ starting roster all played significant minutes last season and were incredibly successful. UConn and Creighton lost a bunch of key pieces, and Marquette is bringing back virtually the same team. They won numerous games and greatly succeeded in Big East play, priming them to repeat their success this season. Also, they are a team that understands the pain of not making it as far as they wanted. Furthermore, they are hungry to win a national championship. Experience and drive make the Golden Eagles the highest-ranked team in these rankings.
Kolek and Jones
Kolek and Jones make up arguably the best backcourt in the Big East. Their shooting, playmaking, and chemistry make Marquette very hard to beat. Kolek was the Big East Player of the Year, and Jones was All-Conference. Furthermore, they play well together. This duo makes Marquette a scary team because these two produce in big moments.
Where Do They Need to Improve?
Shaka is known to be a defensive coach, but Marquette was not as good on the defensive end. Ranking 92nd in defense, the Golden Eagles struggled to guard the three. They ranked 203rd in the opponent’s field goal percentage and 186th in overall field-goal percentage defense. For Marquette to maximize their potential, defense must be the area they improve this season.
The Last Word on the Marquette Golden Eagles
The Marquette Golden Eagles rank one because of their talent and incredible offense. They are in the driver’s seat to win the Big East. However, it is about a deep run in March for the Golden Eagles. They need to get it done.