Michigan State is the team to beat this season in the Big Ten, at least according to the media that covers the conference.
The Spartans were the overwhelming choice to repeat as regular-season champions, garnering 27 of 28 first-place votes. The other first-place vote went to Maryland, which was picked to finish second. The top five was rounded out by Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan.
Michigan State won the regular-season and tournament championships last season and reached the Final Four for the ninth time in coach Tom Izzo’s career. The Spartans return the bulk of their lineup, including senior guard Cassius Winston.
Last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year, Winston was picked to take that award home once again this season, picking up 27 of 28 votes. The other nod went to Maryland sophomore Jalen Smith.
Winston was joined on the All-Big Ten first team by Penn State’s Lamar Stevens, Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu, Maryland’s Anthony Cowan and Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson. Michigan’s Zavier Simpson, as well as Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman and Aaron Henry, each received All-Big Ten votes.
Ohio State’s D.J. Carton was named Freshman of the Year as Michigan State’s Rocket Watts got one vote.
Big Ten basketball media day takes place Wednesday in Chicago.
Michigan State opens the season Nov. 5 against Kentucky in the Champions Classic in New York while Michigan begins on Nov. 5 at home against Appalachian State.
(First-place votes in parentheses.)
1. Michigan State 391 (27)
2. Maryland 349 (1)
3. Ohio State 336
4. Purdue 311
5. Michigan 255
6. Wisconsin 241
7. Illinois 239
8. Iowa 174
9. Penn State 164
10. Indiana 155
11. Minnesota 127
12. Rutgers 95
13. Nebraska 69
14. Northwestern 34
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Cassius Winston (27)
Also receiving votes: Jalen Smith (1)
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
D.J. Carton (15)
Also receiving votes: EJ Liddell (4), Trayce Jackson-Davis (3), Franz Wagner (3), Kofi Cockburn (1), Jerome Hunter (1), Rocket Watts (1)
ALL-BIG TEN FIRST TEAM
Cassius Winston (28, unanimous)
Lamar Stevens (26)
Ayo Dosunmu (18)
Anthony Cowan (16)
Kaleb Wesson (14)
Also receiving votes: Zavier Simpson (13), Jalen Smith (12), Joe Weiskamp (5), Xavier Tillman (2), Nojel Eastern (2), Giorgi Bezhanishvili (1), Matt Haarms (1), Geo Baker (1), Aaron Henry (1)