On Thursday morning, USA Today released its preseason rankings for the 2016-’17 college basketball season and five Big Ten teams were fortunate enough to make the cut. Although the conference doesn’t appear to be as loaded at the top as it has been in recent years, it still showed up strongly in this set of rankings.
While Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue, and Wisconsin were the five teams to make the cut, two other Big Ten teams also received votes. Perhaps the most interesting thing to watch will be to see how some wildcard teams like Iowa, Michigan, Northwstern, and Ohio State perform this season.
Here is how the Big Ten was ranked.
Big Ten In 10/20 USA Today Coaches’ Poll:
- #9 - Michigan State Spartans
- #10 - Wisconsin Badgers
- #12 - Indiana Hoosiers
- #15 - Purdue Boilermakers
- #21 - Maryland Terrapins
- Receiving Votes: Ohio State (12), Michigan (10)
While it was no surprise to see the top four Big Ten teams make the cut, to see Maryland come in at No. 21 was a bit of a bold decision by the voters. Some may be optimistic regarding Maryland’s chances this year, but there will be a lot of questions for the Terps this season given the team’s offseason departures.
Additionally, while Michigan State led the Big Ten at No. 9 in the rankings, it’s pretty easy to see that this year figures to be a three-way battle for the conference crown with Wisconsin and Indiana close behind. Following that race should be one of the more intriguing in recent memory.
Michigan and Ohio State also narrowly missed the top 25 cut and each received their fair share of votes. If either can come out strong in non-conference play, perhaps the Big Ten can get an impressive six or even seven teams in the top 25. The ACC also finished with five teams in the first set of rankings.
You can see the full list here.