Another day, another preseason top 25. This time it's the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook's preseason top 25, which was recently posted online via Chris Dortch's website. A quick note before getting to the list, but if you're not familiar with the Blue Ribbon Yearbook I'd highly recommend considering it, especially in comparison to the previews commonly found at newstands. The yearbook is more of an actual book than a preview magazine, with 400 pages and equal coverage for the most obscure of mid-major programs, leading me to view at as the college basketball equivalent to Phil Steele's mammoth annual football preview.
That being said, onto the countdown. Their preseason top 25, which is topped by Kentucky, includes five Big Ten programs:
- #2 Maryland
- #13 Indiana
- #15 Michigan State
- #17 Michigan
- #19 Purdue
This seems to be somewhat the norm when it comes to the Big Ten, with a lot of the picks here being pretty similar to Athlon's preseason top 25 that was recently released. In that list Maryland was 4th, Indiana 17th, Michigan State 12th, Purdue 16th and Michigan 22nd. The only major difference here, besides these teams landing a few spots higher or lower, is the exclusion of Wisconsin, something that I'm kind of surprised more publications haven't done. On one hand I realize that the Badgers have been extremely successful the past few seasons and that Bo Ryan is a great coach, but the roster turnover is considerable and it feels like putting them in a preseason top 25 is mainly based on their previous accomplishments and has nothing to do with the personnel at hand heading into the 2015-16 season.
Michigan is become an interesting team a lot of polls have been sneaking in towards the back end. It'll be interesting to see how Michigan pans out this season because while they'll be healthy and basically return everyone, the team wasn't very good last season when their star players were healthy. Things became even more complicated with an injury to Zak Irvin potentially lingering as the season approaches and now the Wolverines will have to hope the team will get a rejuvenated Caris LeVert (he was good last year, but couldn't carry the team early on) while the younger players all continue to progress at a solid rate from last season. Oh, and I'm sure Purdue fans will love being behind both Indiana and Michigan in Blue Ribbon's preseason poll.
Anyway, this seems to be the norm for the Big Ten in preseason polls, with Maryland up top, followed by Michigan State and Indiana and then Purdue/Michigan towards the mid-back end of the top 25. Wisconsin is showing up in a number of polls, but like Michigan, is occasionally absent. As for everyone else in the conference, there isn't anyone even close to the top 25 and that more or less makes sense.
Since these polls are typically highly debated, what are your opinions on Blue Ribbon's top 25? Accurate? A joke? Let us know in the comments below.