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When the Big Ten holds its annual Media Day on Thursday in Chicago, it will release a preseason all-Big Ten team along with predictions for the conference’s top three teams. There are one or two beat writers from each school that serve on this panel and I am one of them.

But a few years ago, one of the Big Ten writers decided to conduct his own poll separate from the Big Ten where he would get votes from writers around the conference to pick all 11 Big Ten teams (now all 12) and rank them in predicted order of finish.

I voted in this poll earlier this week, too.

Here’s how I picked the Big Ten:

1. Ohio State

2. Michigan State

3. Wisconsin

4. Michigan

5. Illinois

6. Indiana

7. Purdue

8. Northwestern

9. Iowa

10. Minnesota

11. Nebraska

12. Penn State

Now, I can already hear it from the Purdue people but to be honest I really wrestled with that one. I think you could make a case for Purdue at No. 6 and IU at No. 7. It all comes down to Robbie Hummel. (I did have Hummel on my preseason all-Big Ten team by the way).

The bigger question is whether this is expecting too much out of Indiana. And with the Hoosiers it will come down to how much of an impact Cody Zeller can make right away, and whether sophomores Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey in particular can take their game up a notch. If those three things happen, I think IU is firmly a middle of the pack Big Ten team. And that would be a major improvement.

In order for the Hoosiers to do this well, here’s what has to happen:

1. Indiana needs to win 10 non-conference games and have nine wins going into the Big Ten season. This would be losses to Kentucky, Notre Dame and one other school. It could be North Carolina State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. It could be Butler at Assembly Hall. And it could be another school scoring an upset. But if IU loses three, it would have nine wins going into Big Ten play. The final non-conference game is during the Big Ten season and against North Carolina Central. Here’s the schedule if you want to check it out yourself.

2. IU needs to win eight games or more in the Big Ten. But even at 8-10, I would think the Hoosiers could be at sixth or seventh in the conference. If you win eight, coupled with 10 non-conference games, that would give you 18 going into the Big Ten Tournament. This year eight teams will have play-in games and the top four finishers will get first round byes. But if you could come out of the Big Ten Tournament with 19 or 20 wins, I would have to think you would wind up in postseason play for the first time in four years.

3. IU needs to stay healthy. Maurice Creek is enough of a blow. Christian Watford should be back in a week or so at close to 100 percent. But this is still a team with a relatively small margin of error and it can’t afford to have major injuries. If it stays healthy, there’s no reason IU can’t be successful in the first two points I’ve made above.

So what do you think? I’ll be interested in how you rank the 12 teams in the Big Ten? And then we can all compare our lists to the actual one that comes out on Thursday afternoon and will likely be printed in the paper on Friday.