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BIG TEN MEDIA TABS IOWA HOOPS FOR MIDDLE OF THE PACK FINISH

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Stuck in the middle with you...

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The results of the Big Ten basketball media's annual preseason poll were released today -- and the ink-stained wretches representing the Big Ten slotted Iowa for a 7th place finish, behind Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Michigan, and Minnesota.  27 writers voted in the poll; Iowa was represented by Scott Dochterman of The Cedar Rapids Gazette and Rick Brown of The Des Moines Register.

RANK TEAM PTS
1 Wisconsin 378
2 Ohio State 322
3 Michigan State 305
4 Nebraska 299
5 Michigan 286
6 Minnesota 226
7 Iowa 214
8 Illinois 196
9 Indiana 163
10 Maryland 162
11 Purdue 95
12 Penn State 84
13 Northwestern 78
14 Rutgers 27

Wisconsin was one of two unanimous picks by the writers (they also unanimously picked Rutgers to finish dead last in the Big Ten).  The Badgers finished 30-8 a season ago and advanced to the Final Four before suffering a narrow defeat against Kentucky.  They return several players of consequence from a season ago, including Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, and Nigel Hayes.

Behind the Badgers are several familiar faces at the top of the league -- Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan -- as well as a surprising face -- Nebraska.  Nebrasketball enters 2014-15 fresh off a 4th place finish in the Big Ten and an NCAA Tournament berth and returns a solid amount of talent from that team.  The only other team ranked ahead of Iowa is Minnesota, who finished a game behind Iowa in the league last year and enters Year 2 of the Richard Pitino Era as the defending NIT Champions.

Illinois and Indiana head up the rankings behind Iowa, followed by a Big Ten newbie Maryland. Purdue, Penn State, and Northwestern bring up the rear of the rankings, each grateful for the presence of another newbie, Rutgers, that ought to keep them from finishing dead last in the league.

How do these preseason picks look?  Is Iowa's 7th place slot too high?  Too low?  Just right?  Any surprises among the other teams? Hit up the comments.