Expectations for the 2013-14 Iowa men’s basketball team continued to build Wednesday.
A group of 24 media members who cover the Big Ten Conference projected the Hawkeyes to finish fifth out of 12 teams this year — ahead of Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State and Nebraska.
The buzz has been building for a team that brings back the majority of its roster from last year’s NIT runner-up finish. Coach Fran McCaffery is entering his fourth season at Iowa and is trying to deliver the school’s first NCAA tournament berth since the 2005-06 season.
All 24 writers predicted Michigan State as conference champion. The Spartans are ranked No. 2 nationally, behind Kentucky, in the preseason Top 25 coaches’ poll. Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin were predicted in the 2-3-4 spots by the Big Ten media, then Iowa.
In the breakdown by votes, two of the 24 media members picked Iowa to finish second. Two more predicted Iowa to finish third. The poll was released in advance of Thursday’s Big Ten media day in Chicago.
The Hawkeyes’ season opener is Nov. 8 against North Carolina-Wilmington.
Big Ten predicted order of finish:
1. Michigan State (288 points; 24 first-place votes)
2. Michigan (241)
3. Ohio State (240)
4. Wisconsin (218)
5. Iowa (192)
6. Indiana (173)
7. Purdue (143)
8. Illinois (127)
9. Minnesota (74)
10. Northwestern (70)
11. Penn State (58)
12. Nebraska (48)
Note: Twenty-four media members predict the order of finish; Iowa representatives are Rick Brown of the Des Moines Register and Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Brown selected the Hawkeyes fifth in his ballot.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball