Def Pen’s 2019-20 NCAA Preview series continues on with an overall preview of the Big Ten. The Big Ten was fairly top-heavy last year and while some teams may change the trend will likely continue again. It’s been 19 seasons since the Big Ten has had a National Champion in basketball and to make matters worse it only put two first-round picks into the 2019 NBA Draft. That mark is worse than the ACC and the SEC by a wide margin.
The favorite to win the Big Ten and the best bet to end the Championship drought for the Big Ten is Tom Izzo’s squad at Michigan State. Maryland and Ohio State are healthy competition for the Spartans and could squeeze into the Big Ten title picture if things go right. Names like Bruno Fernando and Carsen Edwards are gone, but there’s plenty of talent left despite weaker Big Ten recruiting classes. Purdue, Illinois, Michigan, and Iowa are in the third tier but should make the NCAA Tournament in 2020.
Let’s take a look at how the Big Ten may play out this year.
Projected All-Big Ten First Team
- Cassius Winston (Michigan State)
- Anthony Cowan (Maryland)
- Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois)
- Kaleb Wesson (Ohio State)
- Lamar Stevens (Penn State)
The Def Pen 2019-20 NCAA Preview looks at the Big Ten First Team.
This list is full of experienced upperclassmen with the exception of Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu. Three seniors in Winston, Cowan, and Stevens along with the junior Kaleb Wesson make up a deep and experienced First Team for the Big Ten. No team has more than one player, but Maryland’s Jalen Smith could find a way onto the team. Competing with Stevens and Wesson will not be easy for the sophomore, so the second team may be more reasonable. Winston, Cowan, and Stevens are almost guaranteed locks to make the first team. Wesson and Dosunmu aren’t for sure locks, but they have the best odds to be on the list at the end of the season.
Projected Player of the Year
It’s hard to top the presumptive player of the year. Winston decided to return for his fourth season to win a National Championship. The guard 18.8 points and 7.5 assists per game last season along with three rebounds as well. There doesn’t seem to be anything that can stop Winston from claiming his Big Ten crown this season. The only other option that could present itself would bt Maryland guard Anthony Cowan, but its a stretch. Cowan is talented and experienced, but Winston just hits another level.
Winston shot 46 percent fro the field last year and 39.8 percent from three. The guard carried the Spartans to an impressive season that just fell short. Winston could find himself breaking Big Ten and maybe even NCAA assist records this year. It’s hard to imagine anyone stopping Cassius Winston from claiming Big Ten Player of the Year. His play is one argument, but another is he will be the best player on the best team in the Big Ten. He has the arguments on his side this year.
— Big Ten Men’s Hoops (@B1GMBBall) October 3, 2019
The 2019-20 NCAA Preview looks at the Big Ten standings at how the teams could finish this year.
Projected Big Ten Standings
- Michigan State
- Ohio State
- Penn State
Michigan State is the team to beat in the Big Ten and the NCAA this year. The Spartans bring back Big Ten player of the Year Cassius Winston and that’s more than enough to make them a contender. Xavier Tillman is an amazing defensive big with an evolving offense to boot. The return of injured guard Joshua Langford and freshmen Rocket Watts just adds fuel to the fire. Mark Turgeon is hoping to cool his hot seat at Maryland and defeating the Spartans could be the ticket.
Ohio State, Illinois, and Purdue all have talented rosters and could contend, but aren’t quite top two material. Each team has a player that can handle the load offensively and are ready to make the NCAA Tournament. Purdue has a talented roster, but replacing Carsen Edwards could prove difficult. The next tier of teams are Michigan, Wisconsin, and Penn State who are all hoping to exceed expectations. They all had major losses this offseason, but remain on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. The biggest story of the three is how Michigan will recover with their new head coach Juwan Howard.
Indiana has an exciting young freshman in Trayce Jackson-Davis, but that’s about the only thing to look forward to. Minnesota was ready to contend before guard Amir Coffey turned pro early, and now they will likely miss the Tournament. Nebraska has an interesting future with Fred Hoiberg, but the roster is a mash-up at best this year. The team could exceed or disappoint expectations this year.
Rutgers lost their rim protector Eugene Omoruyi to a transfer to Oregon and without him, the Scarlet Knights have little to look forward to this season. The Scarlet Knights are in a tough spot this year. Northwestern does not resemble any of the 2017 team that made the NCAA Tournament. Head Coach Chris Collins needs an infusion of talent to fix the problems that the Wildcats face.