Tom Izzo's team is tops as far as Big Ten reporters are concerned. (Dale G. Young / Detroit News)
Pollsters have already declared Michigan State as one of the best basketball teams in the nation, and on Wednesday, writers from around the Big Ten said the Spartans were the overwhelming favorite to win the conference championship.
In an unofficial poll conducted by Bob Baptist of the Columbus Post Dispatch, Michigan State received all 24 first-place votes, compiling the maximum 288 points to finish well ahead of second-place Michigan.
The Wolverines totaled 241 points, just one more than Ohio State, which was voted in third place. Wisconsin was fourth, followed by Iowa, then Indiana.
Michigan State, which is ranked No. 2 in the country in the preseason coaches' poll, returns four starters and virtually all of its rotation from a team that lost to Duke last season in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
The Spartans began their exhibition season Tuesday with a 101-52 victory over Grand Valley State and open the regular season on Nov. 8 against McNeese State. On Nov. 12, Michigan State faces No. 1 Kentucky at the Champions Classic in Chicago.
Michigan is coming off its national championship game appearance last season with three of its starters back. However, the Wolverines must replace guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., who were both first-round picks in the NBA draft.
The Wolverines opened exhibition play on Tuesday with a 117-44 win over Concordia. Michigan begins its regular season Nov. 8 against UMass-Lowell.
Both teams will take part in the Big Ten's basketball media day Thursday in Chicago when the preseason first team and player of the year will be announced.
Nathan Baird, Lafayette Journal and Courier
Bob Baptist, Columbus Dispatch
Lee Barfknecht, Omaha World-Herald
Rod Beard, Detroit News
Mark Brennan, FightOnState.com
Rick Brown, Des Moines Register
Matt Charboneau, Detroit News
Pete DiPrimio, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel
Scott Dochterman, Cedar Rapids Gazette
Dustin Dopirak, Bloomington Herald-Times
Marcus Fuller, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
Seth Gruen, Chicago Sun-Times
Terry Hutchens, AllHoosiers.com
Marcus Jackson, Champaign News-Gazette
Dave Jones, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Jim Polzin, Wisconsin State Journal
Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Amelia Rayno, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Joe Rexrode, Detroit Free Press
Brian Rosenthal, Lincoln Journal Star
Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press
Mark Tupper, Decatur Herald-Review