Now it's official: the Wisconsin Badgers are preseason basketball favorites, and Frank Kaminsky is the choice for Preseason Player of the Year. The conference announced the results of its "official" preseason media poll Thursday morning at Big Ten media day in Chicago. On Wednesday, the "unofficial" media poll also tabbed the Badgers as unanimous favorites.
Behind Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State were picked as the conference's second and third teams, respectively. The conference only goes three-deep in its preseason media poll, for some reason.
As for the preseason All-Big Ten team, Kaminsky is joined by teammate Sam Dekker, Indiana's Yogi Ferrell, Michigan's Caris LeVert and Nebraska's Terran Petteway.
Preseason honors essentially mean nothing, but hey, they're nice! There's also some precedent for the early awards paying off down the road.
Today's stunner - 2014-15 is believed to be the first time in history the #Badgers have been picked as the Big Ten's preseason favorite— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) October 16, 2014
This season also marks the first time the #Badgers have had 2 players on the preseason All-Big Ten team (@FSKPart3 and @samdek1)— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) October 16, 2014
Each of the other 2 #Badgers to earn preseason Big Ten POY (Harris & Tucker) went on to win postseason POY honors as well.— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) October 16, 2014
Frank Kaminsky is the third #Badgers player to earn preseason Big Ten Player of the Year honors. (Harris 2003-04 & Tucker 2006-07)— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) October 16, 2014
Here's Thursday's full release from the Big Ten:
Rosemont, Ill. - Wisconsin has been chosen as the unanimous Big Ten favorite heading into the 2014-15 men's basketball season as voted on by a panel of conference media. The media also tabbed Badger senior Frank Kaminsky as the Preseason Player of the Year. Michigan State and Ohio State were selected to finish second and third, respectively.
Kaminsky was joined on the preseason All-Big Ten team by Indiana's Yogi Ferrell, Michigan's Caris LeVert, Nebraska's Terran Petteway and Wisconsin's Sam Dekker.
The Badgers return four starters from last year's team that advanced to the Final Four. Bo Ryan enters his 14th year at the helm after leading Wisconsin to a 30-8 record last season. Kaminsky was named to the 2014 All-Big Ten first team by both the coaches and media, while Dekker earned second-team honors from the coaches and third-team laurels from the media.
Michigan State's Tom Izzo enters his 20th season with the Spartans and welcomes back two starters, Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine, from last year's team that advanced to the Elite Eight. Michigan State won its fourth Big Ten Tournament title last season.
Ohio State returns two starters in Sam Thompson and Amir Williams from last year's team that made its 26th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Thad Matta enters his 11th year at the helm of the Buckeyes.
Petteway earned 2014 first-team All-Big Ten honors from both the conference coaches and media, while Ferrell and LeVert both garnered second-team laurels on both ballots.
The complete 2014-15 preseason poll and All-Big Ten team can be found below.
2014-15 BIG TEN PRESEASON RANKINGS
2. Michigan State
3. Ohio State
2014-15 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
Caris LeVert, Michigan
Terran Petteway, Nebraska
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
FRANK KAMINSKY, WISCONSIN
2014-15 PRESEASON BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Unanimous selections in ALL CAPS