Big Ten basketball fans should love Mike DeCourcy’s recently released preseason top 25. The Sporting News scribe and BTN contributor placed six Big Ten teams in his poll, including four in the top 15. In other words, DeCourcy has half the Big Ten among his top 25 teams.
Michigan State leads the group, at No. 2, behind only No. 1 Kentucky. His other top 25 Big Ten teams include: No. 7 Michigan; No. 11 Ohio State; No. 14 Wisconsin; No. 23 Iowa; No. 25 Indiana.
Five of the teams are no surprise, based on history and recent performance. The other, Iowa, will raise a lot of eyebrows among casual basketball fans.
It shouldn’t. The Hawkeyes are primed for a breakout season under Fran McCaffery, and it’s great to see them getting the respect they deserve. Iowa returns everyone but Eric May from last year’s talented team that went 9-9 in a loaded Big Ten and advanced to the NIT final.
Here’s what DeCourcy says about the Big Ten teams:
No. 2 Michigan State
“The Spartans hung onto shooting guard Gary Harris and power forward Adreian Payne, who were essential ingredients.” Read more on Spartans.
No. 7 Michigan
“(Mitch) McGary is going to be a star. (Glenn) Robinson might have to manage the transition to small forward, and that could be problematic.” Read more on Wolverines.
No. 11 Ohio State
“Our belief in OSU is based on the presence of veteran guard core and the expected development of F LaQuinton Ross.” Read more on Buckeyes.
No. 14 Wisconsin
“This is the coolest stat in college basketball: Every season Bo Ryan has coached the Badgers, they’ve finished no worse than fourth in the Big Ten.” Read more on Badgers.
No. 23 Iowa
“This is the next step for the Hawkeyes in Fran McCaffery’s reconstruction of the program. Or maybe it’s skipping a step, to say they’ll go from out of the tournament to a top-tier seed.” Read more on Hawkeyes.
No. 25 Indiana
“IU isn’t going anywhere, so perhaps the magic of point guard Yogi Ferrell will quickly bring along a young but talented team.” Read more on Hoosiers.