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Michigan State lost two first round picks with Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., but Big Ten beat writers voted Tom Izzo's squad as the frontrunner for the league title in the 2018-19 season.

The Spartans appear to be in a different class from the rest of the conference. It’s a tossup who will challenge them for the Big Ten crown this year.

Michigan was a surprise Final Four team last season, but can John Beilein build off the second NCAA runner-up finish in his tenure? A majority of Big Ten media believe in the Wolverines, who received the second most votes behind the Spartans in the preseason poll.

Indiana, Nebraska and Purdue could throw their names in a hat and pick out the next contender, but the media poll suggests the Hoosiers are ready to make a big jump to top three in the league in Archie Miller's second season as head coach. The Cornhuskers and Boilermakers have Big Ten player of the year candidates in Carsen Edwards (the preseason favorite) and James Palmer Jr., so they round out the media's top five.

I believe Minnesota isn’t far behind if it stays healthy this season, but most of my conference colleagues aren't buying in to a turnaround for Richard Pitino after a 15-17 season. The Gophers are ninth in the media poll right behind Wisconsin, Maryland and Ohio State. The lack of respect continues for Minnesota senior forward Jordan Murphy, who led the league with 11.3 rebounds per game and averaged a team-best 16.8 points. He wasn't even a consensus pick for the media's all-league team (only seven writers voted for him)? Ridiculous IMO. SMH! We'll see how the official Big Ten preseason team looks at Thursday's media day in Chicago.

Below is my ballot for the unofficial Big Ten media day writer’s poll and preseason player awards:

1. Michigan State

2. Michigan

3. Indiana

4. Maryland

5. Nebraska

6. Minnesota

7. Purdue

8. Wisconsin

9. Iowa

10. Ohio State

11. Northwestern

12. Penn State

13. Illinois

14. Rutgers

Big Ten preseason player of the year: Carsen Edwards, Purdue

Freshman of the year: Romeo Langford, Indiana

All-conference first team preseason:

Carsen Edwards, Purdue

Cassius Winston, Michigan State

James Palmer Jr. Nebraska

Jordan Murphy, Minnesota

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin

UNOFFICIAL BIG TEN MEDIA PRESEASON POLL AND PLAYER AWARDS

1. Michigan State

2. Michigan

3. Indiana

4. Nebraska

5. Purdue

6. Wisconsin

7. Maryland

8. Ohio State

9. Minnesota

10. Iowa

11. Penn State

12. Northwestern

13. Illinois

14. Rutgers

Big Ten POY: Carsen Edwards

Big Ten freshman of the year: Romeo Langford

All-conference team: Carsen Edwards, Ethan Happ, James Palmer Jr., Cassius Winston, Juwan Morgan