Josh & Mike from Big Ten Geeks contributed this preview for the Big Ten Conference.
Predicted Order of Finish:
- Purdue (14-4)
- MSU (14-4)
- Minnesota (12-6)
- Michigan (12-6)
- Ohio St. (11-7)
- Illinois (9-9)
- Wisconsin (8-10)
- Northwestern (6-12)
- Penn St. (5-13)
- Indiana (5-13)
- Iowa (3-15)
- Kalin Lucas (G), Michigan State (110.2 ORtg, 28.6 Shot Percentage)
- William Buford (G), Ohio State (108.1 ORtg, 27.6 Shot Percentage)
- Evan Turner (F), Ohio State (108.3 ORtg, 25.3 Shot Percentage)
- DeShawn Sims (F), Michigan (108.6 ORtg, 30.3 Shot Percentage)
- JaJuan Johnson (C), Purdue (112.3 ORtg, 8.1 Block Percentage)
6th Man. Robbie Hummel (F), Purdue.
Impact Newcomer. D.J. Richardson (G), Illinois.
- The Big 10 is Very Good This Year. No, really, we mean it. Last year we predicted mediocrity, and I think we were mostly right. Although Michigan State had a great run in the tournament, it was not a Final Four team “on paper.” Indeed, the efficiency margins of the teams were bunched closely together, without any real spectacular performers. Sure, lots of teams made the Dance, but not a lot of them garnered high seeds. But we think that will be different this season, mostly because the Big Ten didn’t lose anyone. Sure, B.J. Mullens is gone, as are standouts Marcus Landry, Craig Moore and Jamelle Cornley. But the conference’s best players all returned, including the entire all-conference 1st Team. Throw in some strong recruiting classes, and you’ve got what appears to be the conference’s best year in possibly a decade. Although there’s not a lot of star quality to this conference–there might be less than 10 NBA players among the 11 teams–there is the experience that can take you far in March.
- Michigan State and Purdue are the expected frontrunners, but they have company this year. Both the Spartans and Boilermakers return most of the minutes from good teams, so there’s no reason why one of them can’t win the conference crown. But watch out for Ohio State and (especially) Minnesota. They returned more minutes than anyone, and they also both have a couple other things going for them. For Ohio State, you might be talking about the most talented starting five in the conference, and one of the best in the country. With the Gophers, you have an incredibly deep roster. So deep that athletic freak and top 50 recruit Rodney Williams will fight for playing time. When these teams are grabbing high seeds on Selection Sunday, don’t forget where you heard it first.