2008 Big Ten Basketball Preview
The Big Ten is a formidable conference that is capable of providing a few prominent NCAA Tournament teams. Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan State and possibly Ohio State are all contenders for a NCAA post-season berth.
The Boilermakers of Purdue, who finished in second-place last season, will be a top-three Big Ten team again this year. Two sophomores will provide stellar play—forward Robbie Hummel and guard E’Twaun Moore. Hummel is the best player in the league and Moore is an excellent backcourt presence.
Forward Marcus Landry, now a senior, is the top player on a fine Wisconsin Badger frontline. There’s fine “D” upfront too with forward Joe Krabbenhoft stopping opponents at will. Krabbenhoft is the best defensive player in the Big Ten.
Junior forward Raymar Morgan anchors the inside game for the Michigan State Spartans, while sophomore guard Kalin Lucas is the glue and power in the backcourt. State moves up a notch after finishing fourth in the league last season.
The Ohio State Buckeyes recruiting class including two impact players—William Buford and B.J. Mullens. Junior guard David Lighty will stabilize the backcourt providing both offense and defense.
The next tier of the Big Ten includes the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Illinois Fighting Illini, Michigan Wolverines and Penn State Nittany Lions. These clubs look to be NIT bound, although there’s a spot chance that one might make it to the Big Dance.
Minnesota lost its top three scorers but sees coach Tubby Smith’s first recruiting class. This is a “wait until next year” club. After finishing a disappointing ninth in the conference, Illinois starts to rebuild and work its way up the Big Ten ladder. Michigan sports some fine players. Give them another year to be contenders. The Nittany Lions of Penn State will play tough but don’t have the depth or manpower to do much better than a seventh- or eighth-place finish.
The back of the pack includes the Iowa Hawkeyes, Northwestern Wildcats and Indiana Hoosiers. Iowa needs an infusion of talent to contend, while Northwestern will struggle unless some of its frosh can step-up immediately. Indiana has a long road to go before they will be back in the mix.
2008 Big Ten Basketball Predictions
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2) Wisconsin Badgers
3) Michigan State Spartans
4) Ohio State Buckeyes
5) Minnesota Golden Gophers
6) Illinois Fighting Illini
7) Michigan Wolverines
8) Penn State Nittany Lions
9) Iowa Hawkeyes
10) Northwestern Wildcats
11) Indiana Hoosiers