Everybody told us all offseason that the Big Ten would be stacked for the coming season. Everyone talked about how Maryland had the chance to win its first national title since 2002, how Michigan State could have the potential to make it back to the Final Four, and about how teams like Indiana, Michigan, and Purdue looked to improve significantly.
Well, the coaches seemed to agree.
In the first USA Today coaches' poll of the season, the Big Ten landed five teams in the rankings with Maryland leading the way at No. 3, Michigan State and Indiana in the top 15, and Wisconsin and Purdue both making the tail end of the rankings.
Perhaps even more interesting was that three additional schools from the Big Ten also received votes. Michigan led all unranked teams with an impressive 108 votes - just two votes shy of No. 25 Connecticut - and Iowa and Ohio State received a collective 10 votes.
All told, the Big Ten not only leads all conference with five ranked teams - tied with the Big 12 - it also has three other teams that could sneak into the top 25 with a strong non-conference performance. That is incredibly impressive and reminiscent of the incredible 2012-13 season that featured several teams in legitimate contention for the Final Four and a national championship.
The full rankings have been included below, but it certainly looks like it's going to be a fun year in the Big Ten.
USA Today Coaches Poll
|1||North Carolina Tar Heels||26-12||749||12||NR||0||-|
|4||Duke Blue Devils||35-4||686||3||NR||0||-|
|7||Iowa State Cyclones||25-9||541||0||NR||0||-|
|12||Wichita State Shockers||30-5||461||0||NR||0||-|
|13||Michigan State Spartans||27-12||386||0||NR||0||-|
|14||California Golden Bears||18-15||350||0||NR||0||-|
|18||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||32-6||172||0||NR||0||-|
|23||West Virginia Mountaineers||25-10||125||0||NR||0||-|
Others Receiving Votes
Michigan 108; Louisville 93; Texas A&M 58; UCLA 48; Georgetown 45; Cincinnati 43; North Carolina State 36; Oregon 33; Texas 29; Xavier 25; Florida State 25; Miami (Fla.) 11; San Diego State 10; Iowa 8; Davidson 5; Boise State 5; Providence 5; Stephen F. Austin 2; Belmont 2; Ohio State 2; Tulsa 1; Dayton 1; Old Dominion 1; Marquette 1.