Wisconsin tabbed for third

The two-time defending Big Ten champions trail Michigan State, Illinois in preseason poll

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Michigan State has been named the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten.

The Spartans, 10-6 in conference a year ago (22-13 overall) were pegged to finish first in the Big Ten according to both conference coaches and media that attended Sunday's Big Ten Basketball Media Day. Michigan State returns three starters from a squad that made it to the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight last season.

The coaches and media also agreed on the next two conference finishers, tabbing Illinois No. 2 and Wisconsin No. 3 in the preseason voting.

The Badgers (12-4, 24-8) are aiming to become the school's first three-time Big Ten champions since 1914. Wisconsin returns four starters from last year's team, which claimed Wisconsin's first outright conference title since 1947 and reached the Sweet Sixteen before losing to top-ranked Kentucky.

Illinois (11-5, 25-7) finished second in the Big Ten last season and won the Big Ten Tournament after finishing atop the conference standings the previous two seasons. The Fighting Illini bring a new coach, Bruce Weber, to the floor this season and return four starters.

In women's basketball, defending Big Ten champion Penn State (13-3, 26-9) was selected the preseason favorite by conference coaches; Purdue (12-4, 29-6) earned the honor from the media. Minnesota (12-4, 25-6), which tied Purdue for second place last season, was picked third in both polls.


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