Coming off the program’s first NCAA tournament win in six years, the Gophers men’s basketball team was picked to finish 11th in the 2019-20 Big Ten unofficial media preseason poll released Monday.

Michigan State was one vote away from the unanimous pick as preseason favorites to win the league title, followed by the only other team with a first-place vote in Maryland. Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan rounded out the top five. Minnesota’s border rival Wisconsin was sixth. 


The unofficial media preseason Big Ten player of the year was Michigan State’s Cassius Winston, while the freshman of the year was Ohio State’s D.J. Carton.

Richard Pitino lost starters Amir Coffey, Jordan Murphy and Dupree McBrayer from last season’s 22-win squad that beat Louisville in the NCAA tournament first round. Pitino is relying on sophomore starters Daniel Oturu and Gabe Kalscheur, along with seven newcomers entering his seventh season at Minnesota.

This could arguably be the most unfamiliar team during his tenure, so not surprisingly the preseason picks haven’t been very high. College basketball magazines have the Gophers finishing no higher than 10th. Minnesota's highest predicted finish in the unofficial media poll was seventh.

The unofficial media poll consisted of 28 Big Ten writers (two from each program) and was conducted by Columbus Dispatch’s Adam Jardy and the Athletic’s Brendan Quinn for the third straight season.

Big Ten unofficial poll (first-place votes)

  1. Michigan State 391 (27)
  2. Maryland 349 (1)
  3. Ohio State 336
  4. Purdue 311
  5. Michigan 255
  6. Wisconsin 241
  7. Illinois 239
  8. Iowa 174
  9. Penn state 164
  10. Indiana 155
  11. Minnesota 127 
  12. Rutgers 95
  13. Nebraska 69
  14. Northwestern 34

Unofficial preseason All-Big Ten team

G - Cassius Winston, Michigan State

G – Anthony Cowan, Maryland

G – Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois

F – Lamar Stevens, Penn State

C – Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State

My Big Ten predicted finish

  1. Michigan State
  2. Ohio State
  3. Maryland
  4. Michigan
  5. Purdue
  6. Illinois
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Minnesota
  9. Penn State
  10. Iowa
  11. Indiana
  12. Rutgers
  13. Northwestern
  14. Nebraska

My Big Ten preseason player of the Year

Cassius Winston, Michigan State

My freshman of the year

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana

My five-member all-conference team

G- Cassius Winston, Michigan St

G- Anthony Cowan, Maryland

G-Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois

F-Lamar Stevens, Penn State

C-Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State