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.
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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.”
THREE MAN WEAVE
- 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.