CBB Review hands out awards for each conference tournament in 2023. Up next: The Big East Tournament.
In my Big East Tournament preview, I predicted UConn to take down Xavier in the championship game. Xavier did reach the finals, but it was the Marquette Golden Eagles who took down the Huskies in the semifinals and marched on for a conference championship. It’s their first conference tournament championship since joining the Big East in 2006.
CBB Review Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Tyler Kolke, Marquette
The Big East player of the year (who I admittedly slept on), followed it up with an encore performance in the Big East Tournament. Kolek commanded control of the Marquette offense, leading the tournament with nearly 19 PPG. He grabs boards at just a 6-3 guard and plays both ends of the ball at a high level.
Kolek is the reason why Marquette needs to be taken seriously in the Big Dance. The Golden Eagles have a great team, but it starts with Tyler Kolek.
CBB Review All-Big East Tournament First Team
- G: Umoja Gibson, DePaul – 2 games (16.0 PPG, 5.0 APG, 2.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 54.5 FG%, 50.0 3P%)
- G: Tyler Kolek, Marquete – 3 games (18.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 2.3 SPG)
- F: Jack Nunge, Xavier – 3 games (15.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 BPG, 1.0 SPG, 51.5 FG%)
- C: Joel Soriano, St. John’s – 2 games (15.5 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 3.0 BPG)
- C: Ryan Kalkbrenner, Creighton – 2 games (19.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.5 BPG, 1.5 SPG, 84.2 FG%)
Marquette’s NCAA Tournament Prediction
While I think Marquette has the talent and winning streak to get all the way to the Elite Eight or Final Four, the Sweet Sixteen is a safe bet. The Golden Eagles got no favors drawing a Vermont team that won’t back down and is on a winning streak of their own. After that will be a matchup against either USC or Tom Izzo and Michigan State. Marquette should still be the favorite out of that pod.
For me, it because tricky with a potential matchup against Kansas State. The Wildcats have an above-average inside presence in Keyontae Johnson and are as battle tested as anyone in this tournament. I think the road ends here for the Golden Eagles, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they get to Houston. It’s that much of a toss up.