2020-21 Season

What They’re Saying: Preseason publications weigh in on Michigan’s 2020-21 outlook

College basketball season is one month away and season previews are hitting newsstands, inboxes and Twitter feeds across the country. We rounded up seven different preseason prognostications to gauge the temperature of the Big Ten.

Every human projection picked Michigan either 8th or 9th in the conference leaving Bart Torvik’s computer numbers as an outlier with Michigan pegged 2nd. Four different teams received at least one pick to win the conference — Wisconsin (4x), Illinois, Iowa and Michigan State — and appear to have emerged as a consensus top tier of the league.

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Here’s a look at our aggregate table combining data from Blue RibbonLindy’s, Three Man Weave, CBS, Jon Rothstein, CBB Central and Bart Torvik’s T-Rank.

The aggregate rankings show several tiers after the previously mentioned top group of four. There’s a distinct cellar featuring Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State and Maryland. Minnesota is teetering on the edge between the basement group and the middle tier of NCAA Tournament contenders. That group features Ohio State, Rutgers, Indiana, Michigan and Purdue is tougher to separate. Prognosticators appear to like Ohio State above the rest of that group as a consensus but Purdue and Rutgers both have some favorable opinions.

Michigan is firmly in that group but most previews don’t see much of a ceiling. Other than Torvik, every preview picked Michigan in 8th or 9th and ranked Rutgers and Indiana ahead of the Wolverines.

Luka Garza, Ayo Dosunmu and Trayce Jackson-Davis are cosnenseus All-Big Ten first-teamers. Nate Reuvers, Trevion Williams and Marcus Carr were other common picks for All-Big Ten.

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


  • In the Blue Ribbon preseason top 25, the Big Ten teams ranked are Wisconsin (7), Iowa (8), Illinois (11), Michigan State (19) and Ohio State (21).
  • The Blue Ribbon preseason all-conference team features Garza, Dosunmu, Jackson-Davis, Marcus Carr and Nate Reuvers.
  • Iowa’s Luka Garza is a preseason first team All-America pick by Blue Ribbon and also the publication’s pick for national player of the year. Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois joined Garza on the first team.


  • Lindy’s ranked all 32 conferences in college basketball and has the Big Ten first.
  • Six Big Ten teams are ranked in Lindy’s preseason top 40, which is topped by preseason No. 1 Gonzaga. The Big Ten teams in the top 40 are Wisconsin (No. 6), Iowa (No. 10), Illinois (No. 12), Michigan State (No. 20), Ohio State (No. 22) and Rutgers (No. 33).
  • Lindy’s doesn’t think Michigan will make the NCAA Tournament in 2021. The publication predicts seven Big Ten teams in the field: Wisconsin, Michigan State, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio State, Rutgers and Indiana.
  • Garza is Lindy’s pick for preseason Big Ten player of the year and Michigan State’s Joey Hauser is the pick for newcomer of the year.·
  • The All-Big Ten first team features Garza, Ayo Dosunmu, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Nate Reuvers and Marcus Carr. Lindy’s doesn’t have a player from Michigan on its 1st, 2nd or 3rd teams.


  • The Weave selected Marcus Carr, Ayo Dosunmu, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Trevion Williams and Luka Garza on its First Team All-Big Ten team.
  • Franz Wagner (2nd) and Isaiah Livers (3rd) both made the Three Man Weave’s All-Big Ten teams.
  • The Three Man Weave crew is higher on Purdue than any other outlet, picking the Boilermakers to finish fifth in the league.

Jon Rothstein

  • Rothstein’s Big Ten First Team features Luka Garza, Ayo Dosunmu, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Nate Reuvers and Geo Baker.

CBB Central

  • CBB Central picked Michigan State to win the league and is as high on the Spartans as anyone. The outlet picked Rocket Watts as its breakout player of the year, Joey Hauser as the newcomer of the year, and has Aaron Henry on its All-Big Ten First Team.

Notable Replies

  1. kturnup

    I don’t really have issue with any particular person picking Michigan 8 or 9. It’s in the realm of possibilities especially since there are some teams really jumbled together. But the fact that the nearly unanimous consensus is that Indiana and Rutgers are better than Michigan is wild to me.

    BTW Dylan looks like Torvik has been tweaking his preseason model. I also noticed last week Michigan had jumped to 8th, but we’re back to 14th and behind MSU

  2. umhoops

    Maybe just skip talk radio, ya’ll.

  3. Mattski

    Well, none of us have to feel defensive about the Howard hire anymore, I’ll say that. But–can’t speak for kturnup–but all the subtext about Howard needing training wheels or some guys with real talent to set him on his own two feet. . . pfft. Phil Martelli didn’t bring those NBA sets to Crisler Arena, I can tell you that.

  4. umhoops

    Howard needed help administratively, recruiting-wise, program-wise, all of that stuff. Not because he couldn’t do it but because he never had and never really thought about coaching in college.

    Martelli is the perfect guy to help with all of that because he’s been doing it so long.

    If you think Martelli is shaping the offense or any of that, I encourage you to go back and watch some St. Joes games while he was there (which I, unfortunately, had to do at many bars with Brendan on the road whenever Michigan was playing the next day or whatnot :rofl:)

    Also… college hoops head coaches are basically entirely responsible for hiring their staffs. I don’t think Warde had anything to do with hiring Martelli, Saddi or Howard Eisley.

  5. Jeffrey_E_Schiller

    I was wrong. I admitted it elsewhere, and I admit it here. I thought Hunter Dickinson would be good, but not this good. I thought Mike Smith could be a competent Big Ten point guard, but I didn’t think he’d play at the level he’s currently playing. I thought Franz Wagner would be an excellent defender, but not an other worldly one. I could not be happier that my prediction of 20-30 as ceiling and floor was incorrect. It is much more important to me that the team do well than that I am proven prescient. Go Blue!

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