Illini picked 13th in Big Ten

Illini picked 13th in Big Ten

The men's basketball season doesn't start for Illinois until Evansville visits State Farm Center on Nov. 8 and the first Big Ten game isn't until Dec. 2 at Nebraska, but the Illini did not receive much love from a preseason poll of Big Ten beat writers.

Illinois is picked to finish 13th in the 14-team league, according to a poll conducted by media members, including The News-Gazette's Scott Richey, that was released on Wednesday, one day before the conference's annual media day event in Chicago on Thursday.

Illinois, coming off a 14-18 season that included a 4-14 mark in the Big Ten and a first-round Big Ten tournament loss during Brad Underwood's first season in charge of the Illini, is only projected to finish higher than Rutgers in the Big Ten, with Michigan State the favorite to win the conference.

Carsen Edwards of Purdue is pegged as the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year, with Edwards, Wisconsin's Ethan Happ, Nebraska's James Palmer, Michigan State's Cassius Winston and Indiana's Juwan Morgan joining him on a preseason First Team All-Conference list.

Incoming Indiana guard Romeo Langford was the unanimous pick as the league's Freshman of the Year.

Here is the full preseason poll:

1. Michigan State

2. Michigan

3. Indiana

4. Nebraska

5. Purdue

6. Wisconsin

7. Maryland

8. Ohio State

9. Minnesota

10. Iowa

11. Penn State

12. Northwestern

13. Illinois

14. Rutgers