The 2021-22 preseason poll for Big Ten men’s basketball was released on Wednesday prior to the league’s Media Days in Indianapolis on Thursday and Friday. To watch and read head coach Steve Pikiell’s press conference from Big Ten Media Day on Thursday, click here.
Rutgers was picked to finish in 8th place by the media this season. The Scarlet Knights received 11 fewer votes than seventh place Indiana and 58 more votes than ninth place Iowa, who finished one vote above tenth place Wisconsin.
The poll is organized by The Athletic and The Columbus Dispatch and features 28 media voters that includes two reporters that cover each Big Ten program. Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press and James Kratch of NJ Advance Media were the two media members who cover Rutgers that voted.
Last season, the Scarlet Knights were picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten preseason poll and ultimately finished in a tie for sixth place with Wisconsin. Per Jerry Carino, Rutgers was picked as high as fifth and as low as tenth in the preseason media poll.
Michigan and Purdue tied for first place with 373 total votes apiece with Illinois finishing 53 votes behind for third place. Rutgers will play all three teams in their first three games of the Big Ten schedule and play each of them twice overall this season. Here are the complete results of the preseason media poll.
Big Ten preseason media poll
1. Michigan, 373 (13)
2. Purdue, 373 (12)
3. Illinois, 320 (3)
4. Ohio State, 316
5. Maryland, 269
6. Michigan State, 262
7. Indiana, 219
8. Rutgers, 208
9. Iowa, 150
10. Wisconsin, 149
11. Nebraska, 105
T-12. Northwestern, 81
T-12. Penn State, 81
14. Minnesota, 34
The Scarlet Knights also play fifth place pick Maryland twice, as well as Wisconsin (10th), Nebraska (11th) and Penn State (T-12th).
Rutgers will play nine games against teams picked in the top five of the preseason poll.
Additional preseason selections by the media announced on Wednesday included Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn as Player of the Year and Michigan’s Caleb Houstan as Freshman of the Year.
Here is the preseason all-Big Ten Team as voted on by the media:
Kofi Cockburn, Illinois (27)
E.J. Liddell, Ohio State (26)
Hunter Dickinson, Michigan (25)
Jaden Ivey, Purdue (21)
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana (20)
Also receiving votes: Trevion Williams, Purdue (10); Eric Ayala, Maryland (4); Andre Curbelo, Illinois, and DeVante’ Jones, Michigan (2); Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers, and Caleb Houstan, Michigan (1).
Head coach Steve Pikiell will speak at Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis on Thursday airing live on the Big Ten Network. Geo Baker, Ron Harper Jr. and Caleb McConnell will be there as well. Pikiell will speak at the podium at 9:20 a.m. ET and the players will be interviewed by BTN between 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. ET. We will have full coverage of the media appearances made by Pikiell and the players on Thursday.
Earlier this week, I appeared on The Field of 68’s season preview podcast for Rutgers men’s basketball. The Field of 68 lists the Scarlet Knights No. 49 in their preseason Top 50 countdown. It is hosted by John Fanta and the preview includes head coach Steve Pikiell, Jerry Carino and myself. You can watch the full preview here: