Big East Final takeaways: Marquette rides talent, teamwork to crown

In the fall, Shaka Smart took his Marquette team on a weekend retreat. The goal? Establish roles and responsibilities for the 2022-23 edition of the Golden Eagles.

Saturday night inside Madison Square Garden, with 13 minutes left in the Big East Tournament championship game, the No. 6 team in the land used its hustle to produce three shots at the basket. On the third take, Big East Sixth Man of the Year David Joplin hit a triple and took a moment to flash a smile at the sea of ​​blue and gold in the crowd.

[Shaka Smart and Marquette: The perfect fit at the perfect time]

Joplin, who has embodied the Golden Eagles’ culture of embracing the papers, had that smile from ear to ear as Marquette trailed Xavier 54-27 with 13:18 remaining in regulation.

The sacrifices made and the culture instilled by second-year head coach Smart were all the changes needed to address last season’s 3-6 finish. This all took place on Saturday night in New York City.

Marquette had its biggest moment as a member of the Big East, winning its first tournament crown since joining the league in 2005 with a convincing 65-51 win over the 15th-ranked Musketeers.

East Grand Final: Marquette, Xavier

The Golden Eagles never trailed.

Marquette vs Xavier highlights

Marquette vs Xavier highlights

Tyler Kolek scored 20 points to lead Marquette.

Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek was named the Most Outstanding Player, with a game-high 56 points, 21 rebounds and 13 assists in the three wins.

Marquette’s rise can be traced back to Smart, who tied the legendary Al McGuire for the most wins in a single season at Marquette with 28.

The Golden Eagles, a two-seed projected in Mike DeCourcy’s latest forecast, showed Saturday night that a Final Four may be possible in Milwaukee this year.

Marquette lifts the trophy

Marquette lifts the trophy

The Golden Eagles celebrated after winning the Big East conference title. Tyler Kolek was also awarded Most Outstanding Player.

More to come from Madison Square Garden…

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers sports in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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