Inside Illini Basketball: Preseason Big Ten ballot

Inside Illini Basketball: Preseason Big Ten ballot

CHAMPAIGN — Preseason voting is full of inherent risk in the college basketball world where the addition or subtraction of even a single player can alter a team's fortunes significantly more than, say, football. But that's hardly a roadblock to a preseason poll — something fans like to dissect, discuss and generally complain about unless their team is at the top.

The Big Ten Conference has moved away from a preseason ranking of its teams. The Big Ten media, therefore, has picked up the slack, and the preseason poll will be released Thursday before Big Ten basketball media day after all of our votes are compiled by the Columbus Dispatch's Adam Jardy and The Athletic's Brendan F. Quinn.

Any preseason voting, as well reasoned as it might be, is more of a best guess than any firm estimation of a team's chances before they've even played a game. That's why the collective Big Ten media all missed on Ohio State last season.

The Buckeyes were a consensus bottom four team heading into the 2017-18 season. They wound up with the Big Ten Player of the Year in Keita Bates-Diop and finished third in the conference en route to a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Our college basketball writer and Associated Press Top 25 voter Scott Richey wasn't immune from missing on Ohio State, but one bad season won't keep him from putting together another preseason poll in addition to some preseason player awards. Here's how he sees the Big Ten shaking out — at least with a month yet before any team plays a game.

Preseason poll

1. Michigan State

2. Michigan

3. Indiana

4. Nebraska

5. Maryland

6. Purdue

7. Wisconsin

8. Ohio State

9. Minnesota

10. Penn State

11. Iowa

12. Illinois

13. Northwestern

14. Rutgers

Player of the Year — Carsen Edwards, Purdue

Freshman of the Year — Romeo Langford, Indiana

All-Big Ten Team

Anthony Cowan, Maryland

Carsen Edwards, Purdue

James Palmer Jr., Nebraska

Jordan Murphy, Minnesota

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin