Football season is fully underway, but hoops season is right around the corner and the preseason talk is starting to gain steam. In an unofficial poll run by The Athletic, media members from each Big Ten member school’s media market voted on the various preseason awards and standings.
Wisconsin’s compiled rankings from the media was a sixth place finish, but various members had them as high as fourth, and as low as eighth. It’s fair to say that the voters are not quite sure of what Wisconsin will bring, but expect some emergence from new faces.
Unsurprisingly, Michigan State led the way in first place as is often the case for the Spartans. Maryland basketball has big expectations in 2019, and were chosen second in the rankings. Ohio State and Purdue came in at third and fourth in a close race, while Michigan beat out Wisconsin for number five. The Badgers came in at six, barely squeaking ahead of Illinois.
Iowa, Penn State, Indiana, and Minnesota were all muddled tightly for the eight thru 11 spots. Rutgers and Nebraska came in at 12 and 13, while Northwestern rounded out the basement of the conference predictions.
Michigan State’s Cassius Winston was a near unanimous selection for Player of the Year receiving 27 of the 28 first place votes. Maryland’s Jalen Smith also received a vote after a strong 2018-19 season. Highly touted D.J. Carton of Ohio State was named Freshman of the Year, and his floor-mate E.J. Liddell came in second.
No Badgers made the preseason All- Big Ten team which was occupied by Cassius Winston, Penn State’s Lamar Stevens, Illinois’s Ayo Dosunmu, Maryland’s Anthony Cowan, and Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson.
Wisconsin does not appear to be on many people’s radar coming into 2019, but that’s often the case. Being doubted preseason and finishing higher than most expected is a staple of almost all Wisconsin athletics, and it will be interesting to see how the perspective of the Badgers changes as the season goes on.