We have reached the end of our top returning Big East guard countdown and headline our rankings at #1 is Marcus Zegarowski, who was one of the biggest factors in leading the Creighton Blue Jays to their best season ever. Creighton took a share of the Big East regular season crown with a 13-5 conference mark, and were ranked 7th in the final AP Poll. Had the season not been cancelled, the Blue Jays were slated to potentially be a 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament, which would have been a first in program history. Zegarowski was the driving force behind Creighton’s resurgence, putting together one of the best seasons of any guard, regardless of conference. He averaged 16.1 points per game, good for 6th in the conference, while he ranked third in assists (5.0 per game) and 3rd in three-point shooting percentage, firing up the triple at a 42.4% clip.
A product of Hamilton, Massachusetts, Zegarowski headed out to the westernmost school in the Big East, where he was a Year-1 contributor in Omaha, averaging 10.4 points per game while starting 16 of 32 games as a freshman. Averaging nearly 35 minutes a game as a sophomore, Zegarowski saw his stats take a leap, finishing second on the team in points and leading the squad in assists, while notching a very respectable 3.8 rebounds per contest. Zegarowski put up solid numbers from day 1, but it wasn’t until Creighton clashed with #12 Texas Tech, the defending national runner-ups, that the sophomore squad and his Blue Jays raised some eyebrows. After a 4-2 start, with no major wins and two losses by double-digits, Creighton wasn’t on anybody’s radar. But then Zegarowski and Co. took the Red Raiders to overtime in the Las Vegas Invitational, with the Massachusetts native dropping 32 points and 5 assists, while snaring a pair of steals in a signature performance. One game later, he poured in 30 points against Nebraska, to go with 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Zegarowski’s efforts sparked a 8-game win streak that was punctuated with an opening victory in Big East play, 92-75 vs. Marquette. Zegarowski made his presence felt in that victory as well with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Creighton briefly debuted in the rankings on January 13 at #25, but a loss to Georgetown saw the Blue Jays drop out once more. However, after that loss, the Blue Jays finished the year on an 11-2 tear that lifted the Blue Jays to the Big East lead and the #7 ranking. Zegarowski’s red-hot shooting was on display on many occasions, but his best performance came on February 23 versus #21 Butler, as he drained all seven of his three-point attempts en route to a 25-point night, leading Creighton to a massive 22-point victory that helped them crack the top 10 in the next morning. Zegarowski ended his shortened season in fitting fashion, combining for 43 points in his final two contests on 9-11 shooting from beyond the arc. His 5-5 effort against #8 Seton Hall gave Creighton the needed win to tie the Pirates and Villanova for the conference lead.
The cancellation of this year’s season blew the country’s opportunity to see the new and improved Marcus Zegarowski in March Madness. But, if he comes back firing on all cylinders and running the floor for Creighton, there’s no reason to think the Blue Jays won’t be back in Final Four consideration next season.