Big Ten Basketball: High-Low Preview

    
September 30th, 2009

Everybody loves a prediction. It's a fact. People that claim to hate sports predictions are just jealous that no one cares what they have to say (or their predictions are never right). But sometimes when making predictions, certain teams or groups of teams are truly to close to call. On CHN or in preview mags, we do our best to slot teams into specific spots, but sometimes you just want to say honestly, teams A, B, and C are virtually the same and luck will determine how they finish. You can't say that in a Top 144 ranking, but I'm saying it here in a series of High-Low predictions, which includes a range for each team's finish and a few reasons why.

 

(How about the high production values with that picture?..)

 

 

BIG TEN HIGH-LOW

Arguably the top conference in the country, the Big Ten features 9 teams that could conceivably make the NCAA Tournament, and 7 that could finish as high as 2nd in the league.

* my projected finish in yellow

 

 

 

ILLINOIS

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9 10 11

Last year, Bruce Weber proved that you can't count out one of his teams. So long as they continue to play stellar D (57 ppg against last year), the Illini have a chance to finish as high as 2nd in the league.

 

 

INDIANA

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9 10 11

The Hoosiers are making progress, but simply don't have the talent to compete with the conference elite. Unlike last year, they'll at least be highly competitive.

 

IOWA

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9 10 11

Iowa's backcourt has promise, while the frontcourt is mostly a mess. Iowa will certainly win a few games here and there, but it's hard to imagine them finishing much higher then 10th.

 

MICHIGAN

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9 10 11

Harris and Sims form the league's best inside-outside combo, and there's loads of young depth. Still, the Wolverines haven't finished higher than .500 in league play in over 5 years, so expectations may be a bit high.

 

MICHIGAN STATE

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9 10 11

The hole in the middle left by Goran Suton will be hard to fill, but there's more then enough pieces remaining for Michigan State to advance deep into the NCAA Tournament.

 

MINNESOTA

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9 10 11

Tubby Smith has loads of depth at his disposal, but perhaps lacks that one player willing to push the program to new heights. Everyone expects a giant leap forward this year, but that might be another year away.

 

NORTHWESTERN

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9 10 11

Yes, Northwestern is more talented then usual and last year's NIT trip was nice.. but they still finished 8-10 in league play, a record which they probably won't match in 2010. Will battle Indiana and Penn State in the 8-10 race.

 

OHIO STATE

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9 10 11

Evan Turner is a stud, William Buford is ready to breakout, David Lighty is healthy, and Jon Diebler finally found his range. OSU is right there with Purdue in the battle for 2nd place.

 

PENN STATE

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9 10 11

Talor Battle is the big name, but look out for junior forward Andrew Jones. Ed DeChellis' Lions have never made the Big Dance, a streak which will likely continue in 2010 (but which may very well end in 2011).

 

PURDUE

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9 10 11

Purdue is the team with the best shot of knocking MSU out of the top spot. With everyone but Calasan back, another 11-7 finish in conference play would be highly disappointing.

 

WISCONSIN

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9 10 11

It pains me to put Wisconsin 7th, because you know Bo Ryan has more tricks up his sleeve then any other coach in the league. While other teams look better on paper, you know the Badgers will push for a +.500 record in conference play.

 

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