Marquette enters AP Top 25 Poll for the first time this season


Photo by Alex DeBuhr

Marquette men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart from the sidelines’ in his team’s 80-77 overtime loss to Wisconsin Dec. 3 at Fiserv Forum.

The Marquette men’s basketball team is back on the national radar for the first time this season.

The Golden Eagles, riding a 6-1 record since Nov. 23, made their first appearance in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll this season at No. 24 on Monday.

Marquette has received votes the last three weeks, increasing its spot in each poll before cracking into the Top 25 this week.

It is the second time the Golden Eagles (9-3, 1-0 Big East) are ranked under head coach Shaka Smart. Last season, they were ranked as high as No. 22 before a late-season fall-off removed them from the poll.

The Golden Eagles’ early NCAA Tournament résumé strong, as Smart’s team has once again surpassed preseason expectations.

Marquette has beaten Baylor and Creighton at home; and Notre Dame on the road. Each of the Golden Eagles’ three losses have come against ranked teams —No. 1 Purdue, No. 15 Mississippi State and No. 17 Wisconsin.

In the latest NCAA Tournament projections, the Golden Eagles are projected to make their second March Madness appearance under Smart. ESPN’s Joe Lundari has Marquette as a eight seed in the Midwest region as of Dec. 13 while correspondent Andy Katz has the Golden Eagles as a 10 seed in the Midwest region as of Dec. 8.

Marquette comes in at No. 27 in the NET, the NCAA’s own ranking metric, at No. 29 on The Golden Eagles have fourth best 2-point shooting % in the country behind Arizona, Missouri and Furman.

Smart’s squad also came in at No. 25 in the USA Today Sports Coaches Poll this week.

Junior forward Oso Ighodaro was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll on Monday after finishing with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, six rebounds and two steals in the Golden Eagles’ win over Creighton Dec. 16.

Marquette takes on Providence on the road tomorrow night at 6 p.m. CST in its lone game of the week.

This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.