Michigan State lost two first round picks with Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., but Big Ten beat writers voted Tom Izzo's squad as the frontrunner for the league title in the 2018-19 season.
The Spartans appear to be in a different class from the rest of the conference. It’s a tossup who will challenge them for the Big Ten crown this year.
Michigan was a surprise Final Four team last season, but can John Beilein build off the second NCAA runner-up finish in his tenure? A majority of Big Ten media believe in the Wolverines, who received the second most votes behind the Spartans in the preseason poll.
Indiana, Nebraska and Purdue could throw their names in a hat and pick out the next contender, but the media poll suggests the Hoosiers are ready to make a big jump to top three in the league in Archie Miller's second season as head coach. The Cornhuskers and Boilermakers have Big Ten player of the year candidates in Carsen Edwards (the preseason favorite) and James Palmer Jr., so they round out the media's top five.
I believe Minnesota isn’t far behind if it stays healthy this season, but most of my conference colleagues aren't buying in to a turnaround for Richard Pitino after a 15-17 season. The Gophers are ninth in the media poll right behind Wisconsin, Maryland and Ohio State. The lack of respect continues for Minnesota senior forward Jordan Murphy, who led the league with 11.3 rebounds per game and averaged a team-best 16.8 points. He wasn't even a consensus pick for the media's all-league team (only seven writers voted for him)? Ridiculous IMO. SMH! We'll see how the official Big Ten preseason team looks at Thursday's media day in Chicago.
Below is my ballot for the unofficial Big Ten media day writer’s poll and preseason player awards:
1. Michigan State
10. Ohio State
12. Penn State
Big Ten preseason player of the year: Carsen Edwards, Purdue
Freshman of the year: Romeo Langford, Indiana
All-conference first team preseason:
Carsen Edwards, Purdue
Cassius Winston, Michigan State
James Palmer Jr. Nebraska
Jordan Murphy, Minnesota
Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
UNOFFICIAL BIG TEN MEDIA PRESEASON POLL AND PLAYER AWARDS
1. Michigan State
8. Ohio State
11. Penn State
Big Ten POY: Carsen Edwards
Big Ten freshman of the year: Romeo Langford
All-conference team: Carsen Edwards, Ethan Happ, James Palmer Jr., Cassius Winston, Juwan Morgan