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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette ranked No. 5 in preseason poll

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake
Shaka Smart celebrates in Marquette men’s basketball’s 96-70 upset win over No. 6 Baylor Nov. 29, 2022 at Fiserv Forum.

The Marquette men’s basketball team was voted the No. 5 team in the country in the Associated Press Top 25 Preseason Poll, which was announced Monday morning. 

Here is what you need to know: 

  • This is the highest ranking Marquette has received in the preseason poll since the 1977-78 season, when the Golden Eagles were voted the No. 3 team in the country. That was also the last time Marquette was a preseason Top 10 team before today.
  • This is the 22nd time the Golden Eagles have been included in the preseason poll.
  • The last time Marquette was a preseason Top 25 team, it was 2013-14 and the Golden Eagles were voted No. 17.
  • With the ranking, Shaka Smart is the second Marquette head coach in history to have a team in the Top 10 of the preseason poll. The other was Al McGuire, who achieved it nine consecutive times from 1969-1977.

Marquette looks to build off last year

The Golden Eagles had a historic 2022-23 season. 

They won both the Big East regular season title and the Big East Tournament, were named a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and were voted as the No. 6 team in the final AP poll of the year.

Keeping most of its core — losing only Olivier-Maxence Prosper to the NBA Draft — Marquette returns starters Tyler Kolek, Oso Ighodaro, Kam Jones and Stevie Mitchell.

David Joplin, the likely candidate to fill Prosper’s spot in the starting five, is leaner and more athletic and Ben Gold added 25 pounds from his starting weight of 220 pounds. 

With returners Chase Ross and Sean Jones, and the additions of Zaide Lowery, Tre Norman and Al Amadou, the Golden Eagles have high expectations.

From the hunters to the hunted

Last season, Marquette was picked to finish ninth in the Big East and was not included on the Preseason Poll. 

Now, with all the hype surrounding the program, the Golden Eagles have a target on their backs, something the team has not shied away from. 

“We’ve proven to ourselves that we can do it and we’re in that caliber of teams,” Ighodaro said after the Blue & Gold scrimmage. “That gives us the confidence to go into the season with that mentality.”

MORE: Three observations from Blue and Gold scrimmage

Not listening to the rankings

Marquette knows it was voted No. 5, but nobody within the program cares about the outside noise. 

“We proved last year that rankings don’t really mean anything,” Ighodaro said. “Just because we may be picked high this year, that doesn’t guarantee us any wins, any stops, any buckets on the court. That’s something that we have to go out and do ourselves.

“And the rankings, it’s nice that people are finally on board with what we’re doing here, but it doesn’t mean anything.”

Smart said that regardless of where Marquette is ranked, what other people think will always be secondary.

“For us, what’s way more important is the internal feeling we have inside of our locker room,” Smart said. “The way that guys are committed to playing and pulling for one another, regardless of circumstances.”

Marquette starts its season in three weeks when it will take on Northern Illinois Nov. 6 at Fiserv Forum.

This article was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAlbrightMU.

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About the Contributors
Jack Albright
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.
Katie Craig
Katie Craig, Staff Photographer
Katie is a Staff Photographer at the Wire. She is a first-year from Lakeville, MN studying digital media and minoring in advertising. In her free time, Katie enjoys photography and hanging out with her friends. This year Katie is looking forward to getting to know more people and improving her photography skills.

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