Marquette has been picked to finish seventh in this year’s Big East preseason coaches’ poll, while defending national champion Villanova is the runaway preseason No. 1.
Senior center Luke Fischer and sophomore guard Haanif Cheatham return after helping one of the NCAA’s youngest rosters to a 20-13 record last season, and an 8-10 mark in conference play.
The Wildcats are the choice of nine coaches — who cannot vote for their own team — while runner-up Xavier received the other vote.
Villanova senior guard Josh Hart is the coaches’ choice as preseason player of the year.
Following Xavier in the poll are Creighton, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Butler, Marquette, St. John’s, Providence and DePaul.
Joining Hart on the preseason first team are teammate Kris Jenkins, who hit the game-winning shot in last season’s national championship game, Kelan Martin of Butler, Maurice Watson Jr. of Creighton and Xavier teammates Trevon Bluiett and Edmond Sumner.
Shamorie Ponds of St. John’s is the preseason freshman of the year.