Now Indiana REALLY has pressure.
The Big Ten media, specifically 24 beat writers who cover the conference, have voted IU as the preseason favorite.
The Hoosiers received 21 first place votes. That was good for a total of 285 points that topped the 12-team league. Michigan was second with three first-place votes and 256 points. Ohio State was third.
IU was already the preseason No. 1 team in the country by virtue of the USA Today coaches’ poll, plus a bunch of preseason publications.
Let’s face it. When you return a guy many believe to be the nation’s best player, All-America forward Cody Zeller, plus all-conference-caliber guys such as Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo, plus one of the country’s best shooters in Jordan Hulls, plus one of the nation’s most under-rated players in Will Sheehey, plus one of the nation’s best freshman classes led by point guard Yogi Ferrell, well, you’re going to attract attention.
The key is when the Hoosiers, who were 27-9 with a Sweet 16 berth last year, can handle the heat.
Here’s betting they can.
As far as the rest of the poll, Michigan State was fourth with 223 points, followed by Wisconsin (191), Minnesota (159), Iowa (134), Purdue (121), Illinois (90), Northwestern (89), Penn State (62) and Nebraska (25).
If you’re wondering, and even if you’re not, we were one of the voters.
Do you REALLY want to be scared this Halloween? Then head to Assembly Hall on Sunday afternoon to see how scary good IU basketball will be.
The Hoosiers will hold their annual Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage at Assembly Hall that day. The hope is all the players will participate. Sheehey and freshman forward Hanner Perea missed Hoosier Hysteria because of minor injuries. Hopefully, they’ll be able to go.
Coach Tom Crean has held this event to get his team used to playing in front of a crowd as well as to connect with the local community. Admission is free. There will be candy and games for children 12 and under. The event will end with an autograph session. Fan can have one item signed, and it must be personalized.
Also, after the scrimmage, children in costume will participate in a parade on the Assembly Hall floor. Group pictures with the coaches and players will be taken.
“We have enjoyed doing this each here,” Crean said in a university release. “This gives our players another opportunity to play in front of the best fans in the country.”
Doors will open at 1, with the scrimmage starting around 2 p.m.
The Big Ten Basketball Media Day is set for Thurday. All 24 men’s and women’s coaches will be there. The event will be streamed live on BTN.com. It begins at 9 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. CT. It’s free via the Big Ten Digital Network. For more information, Visit http://video.btn.com for more information.
Fans can use twitter via @B1GMBBall and @B1GWBBall for highlights. They also can use the hash tag #B1GMD to join the conversation.
Transcripts of each coach’s press conference will be posted on www.bigten.org later that day.