2019-20 Season

What They’re Saying: Preseason magazines weigh in on Michigan’s 2019-20 outlook

College basketball season is here and preseason magazines are hitting newsstands (or inboxes) across the country. We rounded up six different preseason prognostications to gauge the temperature of the Big Ten.

Michigan is projected somewhere between 5th and 8th place in the conference by the six sources we compiled. Michigan State is picked as a unanimous favorite in the conference but there are some mixed opinions in the middle of the league. Two of the most polarizing teams in the conference are Illinois and Iowa, both schools were projected as high as 4th and as low as 9th.

Get UM Hoops for 2019-20. For a limited time only, sign up with the promo code UNDERRATED to get an annual membership for less than $3 per month.

Here’s a look at our aggregate table combining data from Blue RibbonLindy’sAthlonStreet & Smith’sThree Man Weave and Bart Torvik’s T-Rank.

The aggregate rankings show several tiers in the league. Michigan State is on its own as a consensus favorite while Maryland, Purdue and Ohio State are widely regarded as the next level of contenders with average rankings between 2 and 4. Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin make up the next group with average rankings between 6 and 7.

Three conference players made the All-Big Ten First Team in all five outlets that published a first-team list: Cassius Winston, Lamar Stevens and Anthony Cowan. Ayo Dosunmu (2), Xavier Tillman (2), Jalen Smith (2), Zavier Simpson (2) and Kaleb Wesson (2) also received at least one first-team mention.

Ohio State freshman EJ Liddell was named preseason Big Ten Freshman of the Year by two publications while Trayce Jackson-Davis (2) and Franz Wagner also received a vote in that category.

Here’s a rundown of other takeaways from each preseason publication.


  • Blue Ribbon doesn’t have Michigan ranked in the top 25 but Michigan State (1), Maryland (7), Purdue (22) and Ohio State (24) all represent the league.
  • The magazine doesn’t rank Michigan’s backcourt or frontcourt among the top three in the conference. Michigan State has the best backcourt and frontcourt, per Blue Ribbon.
  • Cassius Winston (1st), Anthony Cowan (2nd), Xavier Tillman (3rd), Ayo Dosunmu (4th) and Lamar Stevens (4th) are all tabbed as preseason All-Americans.


  • Lindy’s picks six Big Ten teams to make the NCAA Tournament but that list doesn’t include Michigan: Michigan State, Maryland, Ohio State, Purdue, Illinois and Wisconsin.
  • Lindy’s ranked the top 150 players in college basketball and included the following Big Ten players: Cassius Winston (1), Lamar Stevens (20), Jalen Smith (22), E.J. Liddell (28), Anthony Cowan Jr. (30), Xavier Tillman (35), Aaron Henry (53), Zavier Simpson (63), Ayo Dosunmu (66), Kaleb Wesson (77), Trevion Williams (85), Joshua Langford (94), Luka Garza (98), Matt Haarms (106).
  • The Big Ten is rated the nation’s fourth-best conference behind the SEC, ACC and Big East.


  • Athlon ranked the top 100 players in college basketball and the list includes several Big Ten players: Winston (1), Dosunmu (11), Jalen Smith (16), Lamar Stevens (22), Anthony Cowan Jr. (28), Xavier Tillman (38), Aaron Henry (43), Joe Wieskamp (45), Zavier Simpson (55), Kaleb Wesson (58), Joshua Langford (61), Matt Haarms (84), Jon Teske (97), Trevion Williams (98).
  • Athlon picks Michigan to make the NCAA Tournament along with Michigan State, Maryland, Ohio State, Purdue, Illinois and Iowa.
  • Pat Chambers is the only Big Ten coach listed as being on the hot seat.

Street & Smith’s

  • Street & Smith’s added Franz Wagner to its All-BiG ten newcomer team along with Rocket Watts (Michigan State), D.J. Carton (Ohio State), Patrick McCaffery (Iowa) and Jahaad Proctor (Purdue).
  • Only three Big Ten teams are in the magazine’s preseason top 25: Michigan State (1), Maryland (6) and Purdue (19).
  • Ohio State is tabbed as a “top five Final Four sleeper.”


  • The Weave was the only outlet to pick Franz Wagner as Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He’s joined by Cam Mack, Marcus Carr, Akwasi Yeboah and Trayce Jackson-Davis on the Newcomers team.
  • Zavier Simpson (1st) and Jon Teske (2nd) both received All-Big Ten nods from the Three Man Weave.

Notable Replies

  1. Tom48160

    But how is EJ Lidell going to be Freshman of the Year when OSU already told DJ Carton that he’s going to win that award?

  2. bacon141

    I think X is the type of player that you have to watch alot to appreciate. His numbers - other than assists - don’t jump out to the average person. But he doesn’t put up double digit points, doesn’t shoot well and isn’t making crazy plays up and down the court with athleticism. Isn’t on the NBA radar from what I can tell. He’s just incredibly disciplined and intelligent. These types of lists often don’t factor in defense all that much either.

  3. pretzel

    I’m sorry but who is their right mind would say Matt Haarms is better then Teske.

  4. umhoops

    I would take Teske on my team 10 times out of 10.

  5. bacon141

    I think UM is getting very appropriately rated. We have two big time knowns - X and Teske. We have a floor for Livers, but unsure about what his real potential is. Everything else is a pretty big question mark IMO. Can anybody say with much confidence about what they think Johns, DDJ, Brooks, Nunez, Bajema, Franz, Castleton etc are going to do? Of that group I feel fairly confident that Franz is going to contribute and Castleton will be a good backup C. But there’s very little hard facts to confidently expect much more from there. Throw in a first time HC and I think the questions are very warranted.

    Now, Howard could end up being a phenomenal HC, Franz is ready to go from day 1, Livers expands his game and Johns plays to his potential and all of the sudden we’re in second place. The range for this team is very wide.

Discuss the Article

35 more replies

To Top