Iowa men's basketball picked second in Big Ten in preseason poll; Luka Garza player of the year

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

Iowa's sixth-ranked men's basketball team is projected to finish second in a tight Big Ten Conference race this winter, according to a poll of reporters who cover the league released Tuesday.

The annual preseason voting is a project of the Columbus Dispatch and The Athletic, and includes 28 media members, two from each of the Big Ten's markets.

Those voters see Illinois emerging on top of the Big Ten, with Iowa second and Wisconsin third. The Illini received 16 of the 28 first-place votes; the Hawkeyes and Badgers split the remaining 12 evenly.

Iowa enters the season as the highest-ranked Big Ten team in both the Associated Press (5) and coaches' polls (6). But Wisconsin and Illinois are also in the top 10 in each, so there is consensus that those three teams seem to be the best-equipped to handle a very deep and talented league in what is supposed to be a 20-game regular season.

Luka Garza was the Big Ten Conference player of the year last winter, and the Iowa center is seen as the league's top player entering this year as well. That's no surprise. But the Hawkeyes were picked to finish second in the league in a poll of reporters who cover the Big Ten.

The Big Ten schedule has not yet been released. But non-conference games are scheduled to begin Nov. 25.

Iowa center Luka Garza, not surprisingly, was voted the preseason player of the year in the Big Ten. He won that award last year as a junior averaging 23.1 points and 9.8 rebounds. Garza got 24 votes for that award, with Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu receiving the other four.

More:Big Ten basketball star Luka Garza staying at Iowa, forgoes NBA draft

Joining Garza and Dosunmu on the preseason all-Big Ten team were Trayce Jackson-Davis of Indiana, Kofi Cockburn of Illinois, Nate Reuvers of Wisconsin and Franz Wagner of Michigan. Iowa junior forward Joe Wieskamp got one vote for all-Big Ten.

Earlier:Joe Wieskamp ready to seize his moment as Iowa Hawkeyes' leading man

Adam Miller of Illinois was voted preseason freshman of the year.

Here's how the voting went:

Standings (first-place votes in parenthesis):

1. Illinois 376 (16)

2. Iowa 350 (6)

3. Wisconsin 347 (6)

4. Michigan State 323

5. Rutgers 249

6. Michigan 241

7. Ohio State 229

8. Indiana 212

9. Purdue 179

10. Maryland 141

11. Minnesota 121

12. Penn State 72

13. Nebraska 54

14. Northwestern 47

Player of the year votes:

Luka Garza, Iowa (24)

Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois (4)

Freshman of the year votes:

Adam Miller, Illinois (12)

Khristian Lander, Indiana (10)

Hunter Dickinson, Michigan (4)

Zeb Jackson, Michigan (1)

Ethan Morton, Purdue (1)

First-team all-Big Ten (unanimous selections in caps):

LUKA GARZA, Iowa (28)

AYO DOSUNMU, Illinois (28)

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana (24)

Kofi Cockburn, Illinois (11)

Nate Reuvers, Wisconsin (11)

Franz Wagner, Michigan (11)

Also receiving votes: Marcus Carr, Minnesota (7); Aaron Henry, Michigan State (7); Geo Baker, Rutgers (6); Joey Hauser, Michigan State (2); Joshua Langford, Michigan State (1); Micah Potter, Wisconsin (1); D'Mitrik Trice, Wisconsin (1); Rocket Watts, Michigan State (1); Joe Wieskamp, Iowa (1).

Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at memmert@registermedia.com or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.