Is it too soon to start thinking about college basketball? Probably not -- the season will get underway in a little over a month -- there's an exhibition game with Lindsey Wilson College on November 4 and the first actual game with SIU-Edwardsville on November 8. So with that in mind, it doesn't seem shocking that the Big Ten media has released its unofficial preseason poll, organized by Brendan Quinn of The Athletic and Adam Jardy of The Columbus Dispatch, for this coming season.
|1||Michigan State (27)||391|
The Hawkeyes check in at 8th, smack in the middle of the rankings. For what it's worth, that's actually higher than the two Iowa writers who voted in the poll, The Des Moines Register's Chad Leistikow (10th) and Mark Emmert (12th), had the Hawkeyes on their own ballots. Iowa's placement on the ballots was as high as 4th (Christopher Heady of The Omaha World-Herald) and as low as 12th (Emmert). You can view the full ballots from all the media voters here.
It's no surprise that Michigan State is the runaway favorite to win the league; Tom Izzo's bunch is also widely tipped to be the preseason #1 team in the national rankings and expected to do Big Things this season. Maryland, Ohio State, and Purdue are predicted to be the next-best teams in the Big Ten next season.
Honestly, an 8th place finish for Iowa seems very fair at this point. There are so many question marks about this Iowa team. The presence of Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza gives Iowa a nice one-two punch, but outside of that there are questions everywhere. Will Jordan Bohannon be able to play at all this year? Can newcomers Bakari Evelyn (transfer) and Joe Toussaint and Patrick McCaffery (freshmen) make an immediate impact? What can C.J. Fredrick and Jack Nunge add to the mix after redshirting last season? We'll get a much better sense of what this Iowa team might be capable of in late November and early December; for now, a low-middle finish in the Big Ten seems about right.
The Big Ten media members also picked the Big Ten Player of the Year; Michigan State's Cassius Winston was the runaway winner,with 27 of 28 votes (Maryland's Jalen Smith got the only other vote.) The Freshman of the Year vote was more varied, but Ohio State's D.J. Carton (sigh) was the consensus pick there, with 15 of 28 votes. And they made First Team All-Conference selections as well: Winston was a unanimous selection, followed by Penn State's Lamar Stevens (26 votes), Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu (18), Maryland's Anthony Cowan (16), and Ohio State's Kaleb Wesson (14). Joe Wieskamp (5 votes) was the only Iowa player to garner any First Team All-Conference consideration.
How do these picks strike you? Fair? Unfair? Let us know in the comments.