Xavier has been picked to finish second in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was announced today at BIG EAST Media Day at Madison Square Garden in New York. In addition, the league announced that Xavier placed two student-athletes on the BIG EAST Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team, 6-6 junior guard Trevon Bluiett and 6-6 sophomore guard Edmond Sumner. Bluiett, Sumner and 6-5 junior guard J.P. Macura are at Media Day with head coach Chris Mack.
Xavier, which finished second in the BIG EAST Conference last season at 14-4, was chosen for second place, the highest preseason position for the Musketeers as they begin their fourth year as a BIG EAST member. Xavier’s second-place finish last season is the best finish in its first three years in the league. Xavier, 28-6 overall record and No. 9 in the final Associated Press poll, reached the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. That marked XU’s 10th NCAA appearance in 11 years, something only nine schools in the country can claim.
Eighth-year head coach Chris Mack, who won three national Coach of the Year awards including USBWA honors last season, has plenty of returning talent. Bluiett, a 2015-16 USA Today Third Team All-American and 2015-16 BIG EAST First Team selection, led Xavier in scoring at 15.1 ppg. last season and is the team’s leading returning rebounder at 6.1 ppg. Sumner, a unanimous selection to the 2015-16 BIG EAST All-Freshman Team and a 2015-16 Kyle Macy Freshman All-American (collegeinsider.com), averaged 11.0 points and 3.6 assists last season.
Villanova, the 2016 National Champion, has been selected unanimously to capture the BIG EAST regular-season crown in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Wildcats received all nine possible first-place votes from the league’s head coaches and a total of 81 points in the poll. Coaches can’t place their own teams on their ballots.
2016-17 Preseason Coaches’ Poll Pts.
1. Villanova (9) 81
2. Xavier (1) 69
3. Creighton 64
4. Georgetown 53
5. Seton Hall 53
6. Butler 44
7. Marquette 35
8. St. John’s 21
9. Providence 18
10. DePaul 12
First-place votes in parentheses.