The Minnesota Gopher men's basketball team has been picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten in a media poll of the conference's beat writers.
The Big Ten's Media Day is Thursday in Chicago, at which time the conference will name its preseason awards.
The Star Tribune's Amelia Rayno says Minnesota was one of the hardest teams for the writers to figure out, off their NIT Championship season last year.
She notes the Gophers received votes at eight different spots in the poll – from as high as third all the way down to 11th.
The writers had trouble figuring out some of the other teams, too. Ohio State was picked second, but received fifth place votes on three ballots. Iowa was picked seventh, but received votes that stretched between fourth and 11th. The only consensus was the pick for No. 1 – the Wisconsin Badgers.
College Basketball Talk agrees they expect the Big Ten to be a crapshoot this season.
"which means that it's going to be a lot of fun to watch the season the season play out. Wisconsin may be the only team that looks like a Final Four contender right now, but the league will be plenty exciting."
For the first time, the Big Ten will have 14 teams in it. Maryland and Rutgers joined the league prior to the start of the year. Neither is really expected to contend – Maryland was picked 10th and Rutgers 14th.
But the same poll picked Nebraska to finish at the bottom of the conference last year, only to see South Dakota native Tim Miles lead the Huskers to the NCAA Tournament.
Here is the full preseason poll (first-place votes in parentheses, followed by total points):
- Wisconsin, (27) 378
- Ohio State, 322
- Michigan State, 305
- Nebraska, 299
- Michigan, 286
- Minnesota, 226
- Iowa, 214
- Illinois, 196
- Indiana, 163
- Maryland, 162
- Purdue, 95
- Penn State, 84
- Northwestern, 78
- Rutgers, 27