Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Big Ten College Basketball Preseason Predictions
I plan on jumping heavily into basketball once the regular season of football is over, but I thought I would give my preseason picks for the Big Ten today before the season actually begins.
Here is how I look for the Big Ten to play out this year.
– The Hoosiers have the
experience and the talent. It was a slow rebuild for Tom Crean, but patience
seems to be paying off for Indiana Indiana.
– Things can go really well for Michigan
this year or really poorly. The Wolverines are relying on a lot of new faces,
but they are expected to be a talented group of new faces. Hardaway Jr. and
Burke will need to stay healthy throughout the season.
– The Spartans have a lot of talent, but the loss of Draymond Green will
hurt in more ways than one. Leadership issues could lead to struggles during
the season. If Nix and Payne take a big step forward in their progression, the
Spartans could win the conference. Michigan State
– The loss of Jared Sullinger and William Buford are big for the Buckeyes.
They will have to rely more on their defense this year, led by Aaron Craft. I
don’t see them being able to consistently win big games in the conference. Ohio State
– The Badgers return a solid
core from last year but lose their playmaker in Jordan Taylor. Not sure where
the points will come from for Wisconsin Wisconsin,
but they should be strong defensively once again.
– The Golden Gophers could be
the dark horse in the Big Ten as they return their top five scoring leaders
from last season. The question is, even with the returning talent, do they have
the talent that the other teams in the Big Ten have? Minnesota
7. Purdue – The Boilermakers were hit hard with losing the likes of Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith. Purdue will be a team that is stronger later in the season as it develops new go-to players.
8. Iowa – The Hawkeyes took a step forward last year and I think that will continue some this year as they threaten to earn a NCAA Tournament bid.
Iowa’s concern is not having a lot of depth
to work with after losing four players from last year’s squad.
9. Northwestern – Some see Northwestern higher, but the loss of John Shurna will be a lot to overcome. The Wildcats still have some talent, but they don’t have a game-changer like Shurna to turn to. Drew Crawford will attempt to take that role, but I’m not sure he can do it with added defensive focus put on him.
– I like the addition of John Groce as the coach, but he doesn’t have a lot
to work with this season at Illinois.
Look for the Illini to struggle most of the year, but pull off a few upsets
late in the season.
Penn State –
It’s hard to say if it’s good news or bad news, but
lost four players from a 12-20 team last season. I see it as the Nittany Lions
having little talent, and now, even less depth. Penn State
– What Nebraska
can accomplish in football with a move to the Big Ten, it loses in basketball.
The Cornhuskers are a mess of a basketball program. Similar to
lost five players from a 12-18 team. It will be a long year for new coach Tim
Miles. Penn State, Nebraska