The Creighton men’s basketball team has been picked to finish in third place during its first season in the BIG EAST Conference in a preseason poll of league coaches.
In addition, two-time First Team All-American Doug McDermott was named the 2013-14 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year. It’s the third straight season the Creighton senior has been honored as Preseason Player of the Year by a conference after earning the honor as both a sophomore and junior in the Missouri Valley Conference. He would live up to the hype both previous occasions.
Marquette, which shared the 2012-13 BIG EAST regular-season crown, was picked to win the 2013-14 title. The Golden Eagles, who have nine letterwinners and two starters back from last year’s squad that reached the NCAA Elite Eight, received five of 10 first-place votes and finished with 74 points in the poll.
Georgetown finished a close second in the poll with 70 points, which included two first-place votes. The Hoyas were in a three-way tie with Marquette for first place last year at 14-4 and finished 25-7 overall. Coach John Thompson III must find a way to replace BIG EAST Player of the Year Otto Porter, Jr., but he can build around All-BIG EAST First Team guard Markel Starks.
Newcomer Creighton has been slotted for third place with 61 points. The Bluejays picked up one first-place vote. Last year, Creighton put together a 28-8 record that included advancing to the third round of the NCAA Championship. Coach Greg McDermott has four returning starters, including his son, Doug, who has been a consensus All-American for the past two seasons. This is the 14th straight season Creighton has been picked for a top-four finish in its league.
Villanova edged St. John’s for fourth place with 58 points. The Wildcats were 20-14 overall and 10-8 in the BIG EAST last season. They earned an NCAA Tournament bid for the eighth time in the last nine years. Forward JayVaughn Pinkston and guard Ryan Arcidiacono figure to be the leaders of head coach Jay Wright’s club.
St. John’s received two first-place votes and finished fifth in the poll with 56 points. The Red Storm’s 2012-13 season ended in the second round of the NIT. Coach Steve Lavin welcomes back sophomore forward JaKarr Sampson, who was the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. Chris Obekpa, another freshman, led the nation in blocked shots.
Providence is tabbed for sixth. Last year, the Friars played in the postseason for the first time since 2009. With two wins in the NIT, head coach Ed Cooley helped PC get their first postseason victories since 2003. This season, the Friars return sharpshooting guard Bryce Cotton, who led the BIG EAST in scoring with a 19.7 average in all games and 18.3 in league play.
Xavier was placed seventh in the poll. The Musketeers are coming off a 17-14 season under head coach Chris Mack who will depend on guard Semaj Christon, a sophomore who was the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year after averaging 15.2 points. His assist total of 139 set a school record for a freshman. He has earned Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team honors.
Seton Hall finished eighth in the poll. The Pirates expect Fuquan Edwin to lead an ascent in the standings. Edwin is one of the top all-around players in the BIG EAST. The 6-6 wing was named Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team by the coaches. He averaged 16.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals.
Butler, chosen for ninth, is coming off another NCAA season. The Bulldogs are led by new head coach Brandon Miller, who played and was an assistant coach at Butler. The Bulldogs have a streak of eight straight 20-win seasons, including a 27-9 campaign last year, and have been ranked in the top 10 five of the last seven seasons. Their top returnee is senior forward Khyle Marshall.
DePaul is 10th, but has the dynamic duo of forward Cleveland Melvin and guard Brandon Young, both seniors. Young was sixth in the BIG EAST in scoring with 16.7 mark and Melvin was seventh at 16.6. They were the highest scoring pair in the league.
2013-14 Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Marquette (5) 74
2. Georgetown (2) 70
3. Creighton (1) 61
4. Villanova 58
5. St. John’s (2) 56
6. Providence 41
7. Xavier 38
8. Seton Hall 20
9. Butler 19
10. DePaul 13