Spartans Picked Preseason Big Ten Champs

Defending Big Ten Champion and national runner-up Michigan State has been selected as the preseason conference favorite for the 2009-10 men's basketball season, as voted upon by a 24-member media panel.

Park Ridge, Ill.– Defending Big Ten Champion and national runner-up Michigan State has been selected as the preseason conference favorite for the 2009-10 men's basketball season, as voted upon by a 24-member media panel.

Purdue and Ohio State were chosen to finish second and third, respectively.

In addition, after five sophomores were named to the All-Big Ten first team last season, five juniors were selected for the 2009-10 Preseason All-Big Ten Team.

Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas of the Spartans was tabbed as the Preseason Player of the Year.

The other four juniors earning preseason accolades are Michigan's Manny Harris, Ohio State's Evan Turner, Penn State's Talor Battle and Purdue's Robbie Hummel.

Michigan State returns three starters and 12 letterwinners from a team that finished with a 31-7 overall record and a 15-3 conference mark, earning its first outright Big Ten title since 1999.

Big Ten Coach of the Year Tom Izzo took the Spartans to the Final Four for the fifth time in his 14 years as the head coach, before falling in the national championship game.

Izzo will look to guide MSU to a 12th Big Ten crown this season and back-to-back titles for the first time since he boosted the program to at least a share of four straight championships from 1998-2001.

The Spartans' Lucas was tabbed the Preseason Player of the Year after becoming just the seventh sophomore in conference annals to earn Big Ten Player of the Year accolades last season.

The junior guard led MSU to its first Big Ten Championship since 2001 while ranking second among all players with 16.5 points per game in conference play.

Lucas is the second Spartan in the last three years to earn Preseason Player of the Year laurels after Drew Neitzel was honored prior to the 2007-08 campaign.

The five-man Preseason All-Big Ten team includes four players that were named first-team All-Big Ten last season, including Lucas, Harris, Turner and Battle.

Hummel was a third-team All-Conference pick last season after earning first-team All-Big Ten honors as a freshman.


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