Five Big Ten teams were among the preseason Associated Press top 25 poll of the 2016-17 college basketball season.
Wisconsin was ranked the highest at ninth. Three Big Ten teams were in the top 15, with No. 11 Indiana, No. 12 Michigan State and No. 15 Purdue.
Maryland rounded out the Big Ten and the poll at No. 25. Ohio State (18) and Michigan (8) both got votes, but not enough to crack the top 25. The full poll can be found here.
The Spartans are coming off a 29-6 season which featured a major March letdown. They lost the reigning AP Player of the Year Denzel Valentine, but return a strong core group and add the nation’s third-best 2016 recruiting class.
The Badgers are one of the most-seasoned teams in the Big Ten and are led by seniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes. They made it to the Sweet 16 last season with Greg Gard taking over as head coach in December.
Indiana comes in as the reigning Big Ten regular season champs. The Hoosiers went 27-8 last season with a 15-3 mark in conference play. Their key returners including guard James Blackmon Jr. and sophomore big man Thomas Bryant.
Purdue is coming off a 26-9 season, in which three of its top four scorers were underclassmen. Meanwhile, Maryland returns one of the top guards in the country in Melo Trimble.
The AP rankings are pretty close to where the same quintet of teams was ranked in the preseason Coaches Poll. We’ll find out who is for real in less than two weeks. The season tips off Nov. 11.
AP basketball poll
- North Carolina
- Michigan State
- St. Mary’s
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- Iowa State