College basketball practice is around the corner and most major preview publications have hit shelves (or inboxes) across the country. We rounded up the remaining preseason magazines and prognostications to gauge the temperature of the Big Ten for a season that feels certain at the top, but almost impossible to predict in the middle.
Of the preseason magazines, The Almanac is the highest on Michigan at 10th in the Big Ten. Blue Ribbon and Lindy’s both picked the Wolverines 12th, but there are some outliers who are higher on the Wolverines. The Three Man Weave crew ranked Michigan 28th in their preseason top 40, which is good for 6th in the conference.
As expected, Purdue is the unanimous favorite in the conference, with Michigan State picked second by every notable publication. Beyond that, there’s a wide range of projections for most remaining teams in the league.
Here’s a look at our aggregate table combining data from Blue Ribbon, The Almanac, Bart Torvik’s T-Rank, Lindy’s, 3 Man Weave, and 247 Sports.
These aggregate rankings make it a bit easier to break the league down into perceived tiers, something like:
- Tier 1: Purdue
- Tier 2: Michigan State
- Tier 3: Maryland, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana
- Tier 4: Ohio State, Northwestern
- Tier 5: Iowa, Rutgers, Michigan, Nebraska
- Tier 6: Penn State, Minnesota
- Michigan is featured in one of the five storylines for the Big Ten: “Juwan Howard didn’t take Michigan to the Dance with Hunter Dickinson and two first-rounders. What will he do now?”
- Olivier Nkamhoua is projected as Big Ten Newcomer of the Year.
- Nkamhoua is ranked 49th on the Top 100 Players List.
- The All-Big Ten First Team features Terrence Shannon Jr., Jahmir Young, Boo Buie, Tyson Walker and Zach Edey. Edey is named Player of te Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
- The All-Big Ten Second Team includes Tony Perkins, Ace Baldwin, Xavier Johnson, Dawson Garcia, and Cliff Omoruyi
- The anonymous poll of league coaches names Xavier Booker the best pro prospect in the league and projects Rutgers’ Derek Simpson as a breakout player. Maryland is named “sleeper team.”
Jeff Goodman wrote Michigan’s preview and didn’t pull many punches:
It’s not pretty. If Howard and the Wolverines couldn’t get to the NCAA Tournament with one of the best big men in the country and a pair of first-round picks, it’s difficult to imagine Michigan doing it this season with a fairly lackluster roster.
It’s not that Michigan doesn’t have some decent players. Reed and Burnett were top-50 recruits out of high school, Nkamhoua was one of the more sought-after transfers in the country, and McDaniel showed promise as a rookie.
But this program has been mediocre the past two years despite bringing in six top-50 recruits, and the Wolverines are 37-31 overall and 22-20 in Big Ten play over that span. Howard isn’t going anywhere, but the shine is fading after the team’s 23-5 record and Elite Eight run in 2021.
- Purdue’s Zach Edey is the Blue Ribbon pick for Big Ten Player of the Year.
- Edey is also tabbed as the National Player of the Year with former Wolverine Hunter Dickinson earning national Newcomer of the Year honors.
- Penn State’s Ace Baldwin, a transfer from VCU, is the Blue Ribbon pick for Big Ten Newcomer of the Year.
- The preseason All-Big Ten team features Edey, Cliff Omoruyi, Terrence Shannon Jr., Boo Buie and Jahmir Young.
- The top three Big Ten backcourts are Michigan State, Maryland and Northwestern.
- The top three Big Ten frontcourts are Purdue, Indiana and Wisconsin.
- Six Big Ten teams are ranked in Lindy’s preseason top 40, which is topped by preseason No. 1 Kansas. The Big Ten teams ranked are Purdue (No. 3), Michigan State (No. 4), Maryland (No. 25), Wisconsin (No. 27), Illinois (No. 33) and Indiana (No. 38).
- Seven Big Ten teams are projected to make the 2024 NCAA tournament: Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Lindy’s projects Purdue and Michigan State to make the Final Four.
- Lindy’s ranks Michigan as the second-best conference in the sport behind the Big 12.
- The following players made Lindy’s national player rankings: Edey (No. 1), Shannon Jr. (No. 8), Young (No. 9), Cliff Omoruyi of Rutgers (No. 23), Northwestern’s Boo Buie (No. 36), Michigan State’s A.J. Hoggard (No. 48), Maryland’s Julian Reese (No. 59), Michigan State’s Tyson Walker (No. 63), Penn State’s Ace Baldwin (No. 82), Nebraska’s Keisei Tominaga (No. 92), Purdue’s Braden Smith (No. 99), Indiana’s Mackenzie Mgbako (No. 100), Iowa’s Tony Perkins (No. 108), Wisconsin’s Steven Crowl (No. 116), Minnesota’s Dawson Garcia (No. 120), Maryland’s Donta Scott (No. 128), Michigan State’s Jaden Akins (No. 137) and Indiana’s Xavier Johnson (No. 143).
- Lindy’s picked Purdue to win the Big Ten followed by Michigan State, Maryland, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Northwestern, Iowa, Rutgers, Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska and Minnesota.
- Edey is Lindy’s pick for preseason Big Ten player of the year and Baldwin is the pick for newcomer of the year.
- Lindy’s All-Big Ten Teams are as follows:
- First-team All-Big Ten: Boo Buie, Terrence Shannon Jr., Jahmir Young, Zach Edey, Cliff Omoruyi
- Second-team All-Big Ten: Ace Baldwin, A.J. Hoggard, Keisei Tominaga, Tyson Walker, Julian Reese
- Third-team All-Big Ten: Tony Perkins, Braden Smith, Dawson Garcia, Mackenzie Mgbako, Steven Crowl
Three Man Weave
- We used The Weave’s Top 40 for their projection and followed up on Twitter to rank the remaining teams, providing another valuable data point.
Defense should be this team's strong point, & there could be regression coming after ranking 15th in Shot Selection allowed but 336th in Shotmaking allowed.
Offense will be TBD… but it will definitely be more balanced than last year. Upside resides in every position group…
— Three Man Weave (@3MW_CBB) August 26, 2023
- Teams in the graphic above are ranked by projected T-Rank rather than conference records. Adjusting for conference record would yield the following projected finish:
- 15-5: Purdue
- 14-6: Michigan State
- 11-9: Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State
- 10-10: Maryland, Iowa, Nebraska
- 9-11: Rutgers
- 8-12: Michigan
- 5-15: Minnesota
- 4-16: Penn State