Michigan State's Gary Harris was selected by Big Ten media as the conference's preseason player of the year. (Dale G. Young / Detroit News)
Rosemont, Ill. — There is little debate among Big Ten media: Michigan State is the best team heading into the 2013-14 basketball season.
In a vote by a panel of conference reporters, the Spartans were unanimously selected to win the Big Ten championship while sophomore Gary Harris was the preseason player of the year.
Michigan was picked to finish second and Ohio State was third. Harris was joined on the preseason All-Big Ten team by fellow Spartan Adreian Payne, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III of Michigan, Aaron Craft of Ohio State and Tim Frazier of Penn State.
The Spartans return four starters and enter the season as the No. 2 team in the country in the coaches' poll and have a showdown with No. 1 Kentucky on Nov. 12 in the Champions Classic.
Harris was the Big Ten's freshman of the year last season after averaging 12.9 points a game and shooting 41.1 percent from 3-point range. Payne, who returns for his senior season, was a second-team All-Big Ten selection last year after averaging 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Michigan, which is No. 9 in the coaches' poll, brings back three starters from a team that reached the national championship game last season. McGary, who has a lower back injury and has been limited in the preseason, averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds as a freshman while Robinson averaged 11 points and shot 32.4 percent from 3-point range.
Michigan State's women's team was picked to finish third behind Nebraska and Penn State. The Spartans won 25 games last season and return three starters.