Big Ten Conference Preview

Big Ten Conference Preview

The Big Ten is consistently one of the toughest leagues in College Basketball, that statement should be true once again this year as they will have the National Championship favorites in the league with Michigan State, along with a collection of really good teams behind them. Michigan State is going to, of course, be the heavy favorites to win the league as they return most of their team that won the league last season, including 2019 Big Ten player of the year Cassius Winston. That being said, six teams should come into this year with NCAA Tournament expectations, while the depth of the league cannot be overlooked as well. Without any further introduction, let’s get into the teams that will make the Big Ten so tough this season. 

1.Michigan State Spartans

There is a case to be made that Michigan State shouldn’t be ranked number one in the National Polls, even though I don’t agree with it, a case can be made. That being said, if you rank Michigan State anything but number one in your Big Ten preseason rankings, you should immediately see a doctor to check and see if you are feeling okay. The Spartans will return the Big Ten Player of the Year and First-Team All-American Cassius Winston, who looks to once again have an outstanding season. Winston has excellent vision, which allows him to find open teammates for assists, while he is an outstanding shooter, both those attributes make him maybe the most valuable player in the sport. 

Winston will get his secondary playmaker back in Josh Langford, who missed the second half of last season with an ankle injury. Like Winston, Langford is a really good shooter and scorer in general, his ability to take the pressure off of Winston will be a key ingredient in keeping the Spartans fresh heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans will look for Xavier Tillman to continue to be effective down-low, he is a good interior scorer and rebounder and while he is only 6’8”, he can play with the best of them inside. Aaron Henry was able to be the leading contributor from last year’s freshman class, he’s a 6’6” guard but could be asked to play the four with not much depth in the frontcourt. 

The real question I have with this team is who will be the fifth starter for this Michigan State team. Kyle Ahrens seems like the guy that should be the starter for this team, he’s a gritty, do-everything type of player that can play at the guard position. Gabe Brown could also start for the Spartans, he struggled for most of the season but did have a couple of big games, most notably against LSU in the Sweet 16 where he dropped 15 points. Top-40 freshman Rocket Watts will likely become the starting point guard once Cassius Winston is gone, he should get minutes as a backup point guard and play at times with Winston. Big man Marcus Bingham and freshman Malik Hall are other guys that to look for to get some playing time. Hall is someone that could make an Aaron Henry type impact for this edition of Michigan State Spartan offense. 

There is a lot to like about this Michigan State team, whether it would be the leadership and playmaking ability from Cassius Winston or the role guys in Josh Langford, Xavier Tillman, and Aaron Henry. This is why most everyone within the sport is picking the Spartans to win the National Championship. The question with this team will not be about winning the Big Ten title, because that should be theirs for the taking, it is whether or not they can win six games and get Tom Izzo his second National Championship. Anything but that will make this season seem like a disappointment. 

2.Maryland Terrapins

Mark Turgeon has gotten a bad reputation for consistently underachieving, while that reputation didn’t change, credit should be given to him after actually overachieving based on preseason expectations last season. While the Terrapins will lose their starting big man Bruno Fernando, the return of Anthony Cowan Jr, Jalen Smith and a good mix of athletic guards, this season should be one where the Terrapins will be looking to once again make some noise. 

The Obvious leader for this Terrapins team is Anthony Cowan Jr, who has been a three-year starter for this Maryland team and has been able to bring a level of consistency to the point guard position. Cowan is not a superstar by any means but he does do a lot of things well, like setting up his teammates on offense, stretching the floor by way of three-point shooting and can go inside and get rebounds. Jalen “Stix” Smith looks to be dominant inside for the Terrapins, he is a long and athletic big man that can step out and shoot it a little bit, while he is also an effortless rebounder. 

While those two are pretty clearly the best overall players, without the role-playing guards on this team, the Terrapins would get nowhere. Darryl Morsell is a lockdown defender who has notably challenged himself by taking on every teams best player, which makes him a key player despite not being the best offensively. Eric Ayala will start at the other guard spot, he is a bigger guard that can shoot it pretty efficiently from deep and is a plus defender. Aaron Wiggins will look to slide in as a small-ball four, he shot 41 percent from deep and made the second most threes on the team last year. Serrell Smith Jr. and Ricky Lindo both got about 10-15 minutes per game last year, I do think Smith is more likely to see a jump in minutes from what he got last year. 6’9” Top-100 freshman Makhi Mitchell will also factor into the rotation for this Terrapins team. 

This Maryland team is just all-around good ranging from the point guard to the center position and everything in between. It should not be a question if this team will get to the NCAA Tournament, the expectations need to be for a Top-3 finish in league play and a second weekend run in the NCAA Tournament. Anything less than that and Mark Turgeon will once again be criticized for not winning with a good amount of talent. 

3.Purdue Boilermakers 

It should come as a surprise to no one but once again Purdue is ranked this high in preseason Big Ten projections despite the loss of their best and a big reason why is because of the consistency of which Matt Painter has been able to show in recent years. Purdue relies upon Carsen Edwards heavily last season and it worked as they won a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and an Elite Eight appearance where they came a couple of tenths of a second away from the Final Four. While they will no longer be able to rely on Edwards, there is still a good amount of talent that will be able to keep them near the top of the Big Ten standings. 

The lead guard will be Nojel Eastern, who is a big and tough defender that can guard 1-4 and is a great passer. Eastern can score driving to the basket at a high rate but isn’t a great shooter which does limit him offensively. 7’3” Matt Haarms is the interior rim-protector, he is very mobile defensively which makes him a valuable piece and has good touch around the basket. Haarms will likely be asked to start next to Trevion Williams, who is a big bruising big man that can score and rebound at a high rate, if he can get in shape enough to play 25+ minutes a game, teams will be panicking because he is that tough around the basket. 

Those three will make Purdue a tough team as is but what they really need is improved play from their sophomore class. Aaron Wheeler is a stretch-4 that can shoot it at a high level and will almost certainly be on the court when one of Haarms or Williams is out of the game. Eric Hunter Jr. and Sasha Stefonovic will look to fill in at the guard positions, neither really impressed all that much but an offseason should give them a chance to improve. Four-Star guard Brandon Newman is regarded as a good shooter which should get him some minutes off the bench. Also, look for High Point grad transfer Jahaad Proctor to make an impact as a sixth man scorer off the bench. 

While Matt Painter is a great coach, there are a lot of question marks with this Purdue team. My main one comes from a shooting perspective where the trio of Matt Haarms, Nojel Eastern and Trevion Williams aren’t good shooters. The other one coming from the fact that no one knows who will start at the guard spots. That being said, the defensive tenacity from Nojel Eastern and Matt Haarms will be outstanding, so while the offense could be pretty bad at times, this Boilermakers team is fully prepared to win and win ugly. 

4.Ohio State Buckeyes 

Chris Holtmann has done an incredible job in leading Ohio State to the NCAA Tournament his first two years at Ohio State, that being said, it is time to start being a threat to make a deep March run. Holtmann has been able to get his guys in and ready to play his way. With a good combination of returning players and a good incoming class of freshmen, expectations are sky-high this year for the Buckeyes. 

The Buckeyes will look to run their offense through their big man Kaleb Wesson, who is a really good scorer around the rim, rebounder and is a good passer from out of the low-post. If he only did all those things then he would be really good but what makes him maybe the second-best player in this league is his ability to step out and knock down threes, which makes him borderline unguardable. His brother, Andre Wesson is one of the better 3-4 combos in the Big Ten, he is both physical enough to guard bigs but has the overall athleticism to play at the 3. Those two, along with the addition of Florida State transfer CJ Walker will provide some good experience. Walker was a really good role player at the point for Florida State, he will almost certainly play the same role at Ohio State.

The development of guard Luther Muhammad will be something to keep an eye on. He was a really good shooter but was a little bit too inconsistent as a freshman. Junior Kyle Young really doesn’t do a lot offensively but can play as a good defender inside. Musa Jallow and Duane Washington Jr. are guards that could make an impact off the bench. The Buckeyes will look to implement their three Top-50 freshmen group that includes DJ Carton, EJ Liddell, and Alonzo Gaffney. I expect Liddell to maybe move into the starting lineup as a small-ball 3-4 combo, while DJ Carton could maybe be a floor general point guard. 

This Ohio State team will be one that should take the biggest step forward in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes will look to continue to let Kaleb Wesson be the go-to guy. While this team has a good collection of returning pieces that led them to the NCAA Tournament last year. The thing that will maybe help them go from a Top-50 team to a Top-20 team will be the improvement of guy Luther Muhammad and the overall impact of their freshman trio. 

5.Illinois Fighting Illini 

After missing the NCAA Tournament in the first two years of the Brad Underwood era, expectations are sky-high for the Illini heading into this season. The Illini will return basically their entire rotation from last year’s team. While the team finished 12-21 overall, the team played good towards the end of the season, winning games against Michigan State, Maryland, and winning at Ohio State. Assuming this team picks off from where they left off, look for this team to make it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Brad Underwood. 

Combo guard Ayo Dosumnu is expected to play the biggest role for this Illinois team, he is a very long and athletic guard with an NBA frame. He will act as the lead guard for this Illinois team, he is a really good passer, scorer, and is a more than capable shooter from deep. His overall ability to create offensively and athletic ability will be a great asset to this team. Backcourt mate Trent Frazier shot over 40 percent from deep making him a threat from deep, that being said he should maybe stick to just shooting threes because he only shot 41 percent from the floor. He will look to improve upon his ability to score from inside the arc in order to help this team more offensively. The team will look for guard Andres Feliz will act as the third guard for this team, he’s not as much of a scorer but can create offense for others and is a solid defender. 

Coming out of nowhere and making an impact was Georgia native Georgi Bezhanishvili, he was really efficient scoring inside, his impact on the defensive end and overall rebounding ability will be something that he will look to improve upon but he is definitely a nice player to have on the court. Senior Kipper Nichols will look to play both the 3 and the 4 this year, look for him to improve upon his shooting after making just 22 percent of his looks from deep last season. Freshman big man Kofi Cockburn is a 6’10” 290-pound big man that will look to erase shots at the rim and provide an impact around the basket offensively. He is probably only going to play around 20 minutes per game but he will look to make an impact when on the court. Da’Monte Williams, Tevian Jones, and Alan Griffin will look to get minutes off the bench playing off the ball, all of them will try to earn more minutes throughout the season. 

In order for this team to make the improvements needed to actually make the NCAA Tournament, this team needs to take a big step forward defensively, they did force turnovers but too often got burned, which led to their 68th ranking in Haslametrics defensive ratings. They will need Trent Frazier to be a little more efficient on two-point shooting and Ayo Dosumnu will need to take a step forward and become an All-Big Ten level player. If those things come to fruition there isn’t a whole lot stopping this team from being a Top-25 team, that being said it is hard to go from being a 12-21 team to being a Top-25 level team in just one season. 

6.Michigan Wolverines

No team had a worse run from a team perspective since the end of last year’s College Basketball season than the Michigan Wolverines. First, they lost the trio of Charles Matthews, Ignas Brazdiekis, and Jordan Poole to the NBA. They then lost head coach John Beilein to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he brought the team to two National Championships and was regarded as one of the best offensive minds in the sport. The team will lose defensive coordinator Luke Yaklich to Texas just to make matters worse. Now the Wolverines will look to pick up the pieces and get back to the NCAA Tournament under first-time head coach and former Michigan player Juwan Howard. 

With mostly everyone gone, Zavier Simpson will be the do-everything player for this team. Simpson might be the best on-ball defender in the sport of College Basketball, he is a decent scorer from the inside, a good passer and he plays with a scrappiness and toughness that will see him dive after any loose ball. Simpson also has the best hook shot seen on the planet since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Jon Teske will start at center, he’s a more than capable shooter from deep and an excellent post defender. If Teske can develop a little more skill offensively this he could be an All-Big Ten level big. Isaiah Livers could very well lead the team in scoring, he’s been playing in the shadows as more of a glue guy in the past but he possesses the ability to make shots from anywhere on the court. 

The Wolverines look for Franz Wagner to make an immediate impact for the Wolverines, Franz is the brother of former star Moe Wagner. Wagner is a polished player on the wing that can make shots and at 6’8” should be able to defend multiple positions. Eli Brooks will take over the lead in terms of the best hair on the team, Brooks will probably be a secondary creator offensively, he can make shots from deep which will help spacing wise but don’t expect him to play too big of a role besides that. Freshman Cole Bajema will look to contribute in a likely bench role, he is a 6’7” wing with a really good jump shot. Elsewhere the trio of sophomores Brandon Johns, Colin Castleton, and David DeJulius will try to make an impact. 

This team has a few things going for it, most notably with Zavier Simpson being in the lineup but there are a lot of holes elsewhere. For this team to maybe be a Top-25 team Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers will need to provide a good chunk of scoring, Jon Teske will need to defend well in the post and they will need Zavier Simpson to improve shooting the ball. This team isn’t really all that deep either, so if a few things don’t click within the starting lineup things could go downhill quickly. Expect this team to make the NCAA Tournament under Juwan Howard but definitely don’t place a bet on them making a deep run in the tournament. As for what to expect from Juwan Howard, I would hold off about three years until he starts to recruit and get things going the way he likes to run the team before making any judgments. 

7.Wisconsin Badgers

Greg Gard has been pretty good in his time since taking over for head coach Bo Ryan, that being said he will be put to the test this season with the graduation of big man Ethan Happ. Happ has been a staple of the Badgers offense for four years, he was dominant in the post and was an elite passer out of the post. While the loss of Ethan Happ will leave a giant hole in the middle, this team still has some talent within the program which should help the Badgers compete for an at-large bid. 

Offensively the Badgers will likely put the ball in the hands of guard D’Mitrik Trice. Trice is a really good all-around player but the two things that stand out the most with him is the ability to shoot it efficiently from deep and also his tough shot-making ability, which comes in handy late in games. Brad Davison took over as America’s most hated player in College Basketball last season as he made a few dirty plays on the court which rubbed people the wrong way. Davison is a player that does all the little things like drawing charges and diving after loose balls, while he is a decent scorer off of the dribble and a capable shooter. Nate Reuvers will take over as the interior big man for this Badgers team, he is a good scorer and rebounder inside. Reuvers is pretty mobile for a big man and is capable of stepping out and making one or two threes in any game, which makes him a dangerous player offensively. 

Kobe King has breakout player written all over him this year with him likely getting more of a role offensively, he is big enough to guard 1-4 and is a consistent jumper away from being an effective player on the offensive side of the ball. Aleem Ford will likely move into the starting lineup at the 4, he’s a switchable defender and capable shooter both things are needed to help this team win. Brevin Pritzl will look to provide some shooting off the bench which is important. Ohio State transfer Micah Potter will have to sit out his first semester but once eligible, he and freshman Tyler Wahl will look to provide an impact likely in a bench role, both of them will look to provide some help down low. 

It will be hard to adjust to life after Ethan Happ as he was so valuable as a big man, that being said this team has a lot of returning pieces coming back. I think this team will take a big step back, especially offensively but I would be hesitant to write them off as a tournament team. Look for them to be in contention for an at-large bid and finish in the top half of the Big Ten standings. 

8.Penn State Nittany Lions

Time flies when you are winning, except when you are Pat Chambers who is still the head coach at Penn State after eight seasons of missed NCAA Tournaments. At any other school, he would have been canned four years ago but luckily for him, Penn State is strictly a football school so mediocrity is okay for the fans. While the past hasn’t been great under Chambers, it is time to look at this year’s team with some optimism, as I think this is Penn State’s best chance to make the NCAA Tournament since Chambers took over back in 2011. The Nittany Lions will run their offense through point forward Lamar Stevens, he is a really good interior scorer with an elite ball-handling ability which makes him tough to guard. In addition to that, he is an elite level rebounder and a good passer for his size, all of these things make him one of the toughest players to guard in the league. 

Frontcourt mate Mike Watkins will bring a limited offensive game but he is a really good rebounder and shot-blocker, which is needed in order to help start fast breaks. For this team to reach its ceiling, sophomore guard Myles Dread will need to step up and be a difference-maker, in addition to stepping up and being an impactful player defensively, he will need to take a step up with scoring the ball. Jamari Wheeler isn’t exactly a threat when it comes to scoring the ball but he is a pretty good defender and a guy that will setup others on the offensive side of the ball. Myreon Jones and John Harrar will look to make some sort of an impact offensively off the bench. Grad transfer Curtis Jones will certainly play a role for this team, he’s not really had an opportunity to show himself yet at the College level but without a ton of options offensively he could break out and become maybe a second or third option offensively. St. Bonaventure transfer Izaiah Brockington will bring some NCAA Tournament experience over, he’s a good shooter and is a big enough guard to switch defensively. 

For the Nittany Lions to get to the NCAA Tournament they will first need to replace the defensive tenacity that Josh Reaves had, he was able to really help the team get out and run because of his abilities to get steals. I think Dread and Wheeler can step up and help this team be a really good defensive backcourt that can get out in transition and get easy points. The thing that I like a lot about this team is the offensive abilities that they will have. Obviously Stevens will be great, he’s an elite-level scorer and has guard-like skills but the addition of Curtis Jones and I think the improvements from Myles Dread will be what can help this team at least contend for an at-large bid. 

9.Minnesota Golden Gophers

After a rough 2018 season, Richard Pitino and the Golden Gophers broke through and made the NCAA Tournament last season. While last season was obviously a success, the 2019-20 season will be a rebuild with both Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy leaving for the NBA. The thing keeping them afloat will be the Sophomore trio of Gabe Kalscheur, Daniel Oturu, and Marcus Carr. Kalscheur will likely lead the team in scoring due to his ability to knock down shots, especially from downtown. 

Big man Daniel Oturu is a presence down-low, he’s a big-bodied center that rebounds at a high level and is really efficient around the rim. The third leg to that trio will be Pittsburgh transfer Marcus Carr, he was put in a tough spot at Pittsburgh but did show himself to be a pretty good distributor for that team, that should translate to Minnesota. Eric Curry is the leading candidate for the “most likely to get hurt” award, that being said when on the court he’s another option down-low as well as a good rebounder. Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis will likely step in and be a help at the guard position, he is a decent shooter which should help him get minutes. 

The Golden Gophers will almost certainly take a step back this season with a lot of pieces gone but I would be hesitant to put them in the bottom tier of the Big Ten. Look for this team to struggle early on but I think as the team gets more experience they will get better. I would expect them to miss the NCAA Tournament but an NIT birth isn’t out of the question. 

10.Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers is coming off a season where they went 7-13 in Big Ten play and finished tied for 9th place in the league and before you ask, yes you did read that correctly. Things are looking really good for them once again this year as they return 7 of their 8 top scorers from last year’s team while adding Texas transfer Jacob Young. Young never really was able to get off the bench at Texas but he does have an ability to really shoot it from deep. He will be joined by point guard Geo Baker who will have the offense run through him. Baker is a good shooter/ scorer and can rack up assists, both things make him a valuable piece to this Rutgers team.

Sophomore guard Montez Mathis will look to become more of a threat offensively, he struggled shooting it last year but his overall presence defensively does help this team a lot. Ron Harper Jr. is a high-level athlete, an improved stroke and the continuation of some great defensive play will make him an impactful player. Stony Brook transfer Akwasi Yeboah will provide this team with another good defender while providing the scoring and rebounding to help this team overall. Big man Myles Johnson will provide a good interior presence, he’s a really good rebounder and a capable shot blocker. Peter Kiss and Caleb McConnell will look to provide some help from a depth perspective. 

Steve Pikiell continues to build this program up which should be no different this year. This team is always going to compete on a nightly basis and they will defend at a high-level. Pikiell’s teams will continue to play with a toughness about them which is going to allow them to stay in every game. They probably won’t make the NCAA Tournament but in a league that has a lot of question marks, Rutgers could stack up 7-8 Conference wins and maybe finish over .500 for the season. 

11.Indiana Hoosiers

The Archie Miller hiring seemed good for all parties when it happened in 2017 but heading into this year he has yet to meet expectations. Last year with Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan the team finished just over .500 for the season and missed the NCAA Tournament. Those expectations will go down with those two out of the equation, now it will be up to a mixture of unproven players to step in and play a big role for this Hoosiers team. 

The Hoosiers have a solid point guard in Rob Phinisee who is a low turnover guard who is a good on-ball defender. Devonte Green is a good three-point shooter and can play on the ball with to Phinisee. Aljami Durham acts as a bigger guard that can play at the three, his defensive toughness and shooting ability is important. Justin Smith and De’Ron Davis are solid defensive players down low but neither can really stretch the floor. Trayce Jackson-Davis is a player to get excited about, he’s a long and athletic big that can switch defensively and has an ability to make shots from the midrange. Butler transfer Joey Brunk is expected to get minutes down low which isn’t ideal but one thing to maybe get excited about is Freshman guard wing, Jerome Hunter.

This is the always important year three for Head Coach Archie Miller and he is really going into this year without a great roster. Without a major step forward from one of the returning players or a big impact from freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis this will be another disappointing season for the Indiana Hoosiers. 

12.Iowa Hawkeyes

Let me start off this Iowa preview by stating that they are ranked this low because I am expecting Jordan Bohannon to be out for the season. If Bohannon does play I think this team would then be eighth in my Big Ten Power Rankings and a legitimate NCAA Tournament caliber team. With that being said, this Iowa roster is one that I am very skeptical of because of the lack of quality guards beyond Joe Wieskamp. With a lacking amount of playmakers, do expect Wieskamp to stuff the stat sheets on a nightly basis. Wieskamp is an elite-level playmaker and a lethal three-point shooter, with him being asked to step into the role as a team leader it will provide him an opportunity to show just how good he actually is. 

Joining him in the backcourt will be Fran McCaffery’s son Connor McCaffery who will likely run the point for this team. McCaffery is not really isn’t really a knockdown shooter or anything like that but is a capable ball-handler. Luka Garza will be the team’s go-to option down low, he’s a really good back to the basket low-post big which is going to be very helpful for this team. Ryan Kriener and Jack Nurge will provide some more help on the interior. Cordell Pemsl and Pat McCaffery are probably ideally 4’s in College but I think will have to play the 3 for this team.

Fran McCaffery has been good for this Iowa program over the years, while this won’t be a good one for the team it is import to remember that. If Jordan Bohannon maybe comes back midseason maybe this team will be able to compete near the middle of the Big Ten but without that, this team is way too forward heavy with only two trustworthy guards. 

13.Nebraska Cornhuskers

There is no program that is turning it over more than the Nebraska Cornhuskers as they fired Tim Miles and hired former Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg. Hoiberg built Iowa State into a consistent contender in the Big 12 thanks to an abundance of transfers and a sped-up pace with maybe the first five guard lineup in the sport. Hoiberg pretty quickly got an offer with the Bulls but things didn’t work out there so he’s back in College Basketball. The Fred Hoiberg hiring is a really good one just because of the schemes on offense that he will bring in and also the addition of many great transfers in the future. With all that being said, don’t expect much from him in year one at Nebraska. There are some decent transfer additions but I really don’t think anyone that will make a huge impact this season. 

Looking at the roster guards Jervay Green and Cam Mack were two of the top JUCO players in the sport last season, so expect them to put up big numbers for this team. Florida Gulf Coast transfer Hannif Cheatham will bring in some NCAA Tournament experience to this roster which I guess could help them. Pittsburgh transfer Shamiel Stevenson will have to sit out until the end of the first semester but once eligible he will make an impact. Thorir Thorbjarnarson is the lone returner from last year’s team, he will look to start at the 4 for this team. With a lot of new additions and not a lot of talent on the roster, this year will be rough, expect Nebraska to finish at or near the bottom of the Big Ten standings. If you are looking for a positive, Fred Hoiberg will almost certainly have this team in the NCAA Tournament within the next three years.

14.Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern was pretty bad last season as they finished 4-16 in league play and missed the NCAA Tournament, while that wasn’t great by any means, the team could be even worse this year. They lose the duo of Vic Law and Dererk Pardon who were integral pieces for last year’s team on the offensive end. Now Chris Collins will look to put together a few young pieces and make this team competitive in the Big Ten. The team will need veterans AJ Turner and Anthony Gains to take on more of a role offensively in order for this team to succeed. Look for Collins to put the ball in the hands of either sophomore Ryan Greer or freshman Boo Buie. Freshman Robbie Beran looks to be the future of the program on the interior, he’s the highest-ranked recruit for this team. Miller Kopp looks to improve as well as he will have a year under his belt and don’t forget about Pat Spencer who is a former lacrosse player that looked good on the team’s overseas trip. There’s not a whole lot to like about this team with no major impact freshman and no returning 10-point per game scorers so a last-place finish is the most likely outcome with this team but who knows, maybe they will surprise some people. 

Tiering of teams

Tier 1: Michigan State

Tier 2: Maryland, Purdue, and Ohio State

Tier 3: Illinois and Michigan

Tier 4: Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota, Rutgers, Indiana, and Iowa

Tier 5: Nebraska and Northwestern

Big Ten Awards

Big Ten Player of the year: Cassius Winston

Big Ten Freshman of the year: Franz Wagner

Big Ten Newcomer of the year: Marcus Carr 

Big Ten 6th Man of the year: Jahaad Proctor

Breakout Player of the year: Jalen Smith

All-Big Ten teams

1st Team All-Big Ten

Cassius Winston

Zavier Simpson

Ayo Dosumnu

Jalen Smith

Kaleb Wesson

2nd Team All-Big Ten

Anthony Cowan

Nojel Eastern

Josh Langford

Lamar Stevens

Joe Wieskamp

3rd Team All-Big Ten

D’Mitrik Trice

Geo Baker

Matt Haarms

Xavier Tillman

Jon Teske

1st Team All-Freshman 

Franz Wagner

Trayce Jackson-Davis

Rocket Watts

DJ Carton

EJ Liddell

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