Indiana men’s basketball was picked to finish sixth in the conference in the newly released unofficial preseason media poll. You can see the full rankings below.
2023-24 Official/Unofficial B10 mbb media poll— Brendan Quinn (@BFQuinn) October 9, 2023
(28 voters/2 per school)
Picks, All-B10 teams, + my lament for a league needing relevance ⤵️https://t.co/XsBlvl4EBc
Indiana fans likely have higher expectations for the team than sixth in the conference, but it’s important to remember that a lot of the key pieces for this season are unproven in college basketball. Kel’el Ware only saw limited time in his first season at Oregon, while Mackenzie Mgbako has yet to play a college game.
Indiana’s spot aside, there are still a few head scratchers for me on this list. Illinois returns Dain Dainja, Coleman Hawkins, and Terrence Shannon, but Brad Underwood had all those pieces last year and turned it into a whopping 6th place finish.
I also don’t see Wisconsin finishing above Indiana this season either. Connor Essegian will get his points and they have plenty of experience up and down the roster, but it’s unclear to me how Greg Gard will get them from last season’s disappointing 9-11 conference record to finishing in the top third of the league.
At the end of the day, I have to like that Indiana is coming in as something of a dark horse this season. After being picked to win the conference last year, a couple of significant injuries derailed the Hoosiers for the middle part of the season and had the fanbase on edge.
Given the lack of experience for Indiana this year, especially in the front court, there will likely be some growing pains. Even then, I believe this group will compete for a top three spot in the Big Ten this year.