The Wisconsin Badgers are the unanimous picks by Big Ten beat writers to win the conference this basketball season, the poll released Wednesday reveals.
The "official" Big Ten poll will be released Thursday during the conference's media day in Chicago, though it will only list three times. Those will likely be Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State, which also led the media poll in that order. Via Madison.com, here's the full media preseason poll:
1, UW (378 points) ... all 27 first-place votes
2, Ohio State (322) ... voted as high as second and as low as fifth
3, Michigan State (305) ... voted as high as second and as low as seventh
4, Nebraska (299) ... voted as high as second and as low as seventh
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5, Michigan (286) ... voted as high as second and as low as seventh
6, Minnesota (226) ... voted as high as third and as low as 11th.
7, Iowa (214) ... voted as high as fourth and as low as 11th.
8, Illinois (196) ... voted as high as fourth and as low as 11th.
9, Indiana (163) ... vote as high as sixth and as low as 12th.
10, Maryland (162) ... voted as high as fourth and as low as 11th.
11, Purdue (95) ... voted anywhere between ninth and 13th.
12, Penn State (84) ... voted anywhere between ninth and 13th.
13, Northwestern (78) ... voted anywhere between 10th and 13th.
14, Rutgers (27) ... all last-place votes.
It comes as no surprise that the Badgers sit atop the poll, or that they're unanimous picks, either. Every major contributor from the Final Four team except for Ben Brust returns, and Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky are both expected to make significant leaps before possibly becoming first-round NBA draft picks.
After Wisconsin, though, things are interesting. Some are down on Ohio State -- undeniably because of the loss of Aaron "Grit" Craft, of course -- and it seems like Nebraska might not reach the same levels of Nebrasketball as it did last season. Others seem to like Michigan way more than a No. 5 time in the conference ... and wow, Maryland was voted as high as fourth in the conference?! Uhh, welcome guys?
Feel free to chime in with your own rankings in the polls. Also, a note: B5Q's Sam Brief will be at media day tomorrow covering the event for us. Keep checking back here throughout the day, as he plans to have video, a few stories and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @sambrief.