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November 05, 2019 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019 // TIPOFF 2019

edition, The Daily’s basketball beat
puts out a preview of the entire
conference. Plenty of other outlets
do similar pieces around the start
of the season. They’re big, they’re
unwieldy, and, honestly, they can
get a little boring.
Not this one.
If I’m going to write this Big Ten
preview, then I’m going to have
some fun with it. And I’m not going
to waste your time.
Let’s just talk basketball.
No. 1 Michigan State
Tom Izzo. Cassius Winston. So,
yeah. They’re gonna be good.
Izzo isn’t just one of the best
coaches in college hoops right now.
He’s an all-time great. Izzo has
brought the Spartans a national
championship, eight Final Four
appearances, including last year’s,
and nine Big Ten championships.
This team looks as formidable as
any he’s coached, especially with
a top-ranked offense and a senior
point guard in Winston who’s a
favorite for National Player of the
Year. The Spartans have been at or
near the top in pretty much every
projection this year and with good
Honestly, it’s hard to see anyone
else winning the conference this
year. This is a team that should

repeat as Big Ten champs, a team
that could cut down the nets in
April – and a team that just might.
No. 18 Ohio State
Chris Holtmann is doing some
things in Columbus. When the
now-third-year head coach took the
helm in 2017, the Buckeyes were a
middling program that spent most
of the year near the .500 mark.
Holtmann has since led that once-
middling program to the NCAA
Tournament in both of his seasons
as head coach, and this season
doesn’t look to be an exception.
Holtmann returns 10 players
from last season’s roster, including
two of his top three scorers,
Kaleb and Andre Wesson. It’s a
young Ohio State squad – Andre
Wesson is the team’s only senior –
and Holtmann admitted to some
defense. But Holtmann has proven
himself more than capable at
turning teams with depth questions
into contenders in March, both at
Ohio State and before that at Butler.
There’s no reason for this season to
be any different.
I’d like to dedicate this section
to my summer internship in the
Grothman, R-Wis., after which I
am proud to call myself an honorary
Wisconsinite, despite what my
beatmate Jacob Kopnick might say.
This year marks something of an
inflection point for the Wisconsin

program. The Badgers lose an all-
timer in Ethan Happ, a three-time
all-Big Ten first-teamer who carried
the team for much of his time in
If Wisconsin wants to stay near
the top of the conference, it’ll have
to bring out a much-different look
than what’s worked in the past. But
the pieces are there: The Badgers
are bringing back three players
who started every game last year,
and with the likes of senior guard
Brevin Printzil ready to take on a
bigger role in Happ’s absence, their
roster is plenty talented.
So honestly, dear reader, I don’t
have a solid feel for this Wisconsin
team. It’s going to depend a lot on
that new look. At this point, it’s just
wait and see.
No. 7 Maryland
My home and native land! The
Terps are coming off a second-
round exit in last year’s NCAA
Tournament, and with most of their
roster returning, they’re a projected
top-five team in the Big Ten, and
easily a top-25 team nationwide;
KenPom has Maryland ranked at
No. 16 going into the season, and the
AP Poll puts them at No. 7.
There’s a chance I’ve been
brainwashed growing up half an
hour from College Park, but Mark
Turgeon’s a hell of a coach and
experienced, too. He’s been able to
mold this young team, and it’s got a
chip on its shoulder. After a .500 Big
Ten finish in 2018, and what they

see as a too-early 2019 tournament
departure, these Terrapins are still
hungry. If that weren’t enough,
they return two of their top three
scorers, including one of their
most exciting – and intimidating –
players in sophomore forward Jalen
Fear the Turtle, indeed.
I drove through the entirety of
Iowa twice this summer on my
way to and from the College World
Series in Omaha. I have nothing to
say about Iowa as a state. So let’s
talk about its basketball team.
The Hawkeyes could go either
way this year. Iowa was a tough
opponent last year, but some of the
key pieces of that team are missing.
Forward Tyler Cook, keystone of
last year’s Hawkeye front court, is
gone, having declared for the NBA
draft, redshirt senior guard Isaiah
Moss transferred to Kansas and
senior guard Jordan Bohannon
ending hip surgery.
But there’s plenty of talent
elsewhere in this Iowa roster.
Sophomore guard Joe Wieskamp is
a dangerous shooter, and at 6-foot-
11, junior center Luka Garza will
be a force to be reckoned with on
This Iowa team probably won’t
be as much of a challenge as last
year’s. But I wouldn’t overlook
them, either.

Luckily for me (and you), my
fellow Hebrew school sufferer and
good friend Matt Cohen covers
the team for Indiana’s student
Here’s what he has to say about the
Hoosiers this year:
“Well first off, don’t appreciate
that you’re insinuating we haven’t
always been good friends. It’s fine.
I’m not hurt at all.
“IU is in a bit of a transition
period. Gone are the days of Juwan
Morgan leading IU inside and
Romeo Langford providing the star
power, even if that lasted for just
one season. But while IU may not
have the primary scoring options it
had a year ago, it has significantly
more depth. IU potentially goes 11
deep this season. The front-court
depth has been bolstered by the
addition of graduate transfer Joey
Brunk from Butler and the return of
redshirt freshman Jerome Hunter, a
top-100 ranked recruit, from injury.
“Archie Miller has a roster that
may not boast the star power of a
year ago, but it might be a better
overall team. These Hoosiers seem
like a team that should hang around
the sixth-to-eighth place region
of the Big Ten standings which, at
least in prior years, has been enough
to make it to March.”
Having known Matt for as
long as I have, I can tell you he’s
optimistic almost to a fault (this
is a kid who thinks Joe Flacco is a
Hall of Famer). Then again, I did
pick Indiana as my Big Ten surprise
team this year. So for the sake of my
dignity, let’s just hope he’s right.
I tried to think of a fun and
interesting way to start this section.
I really did. But I’m tired. So let’s just
get into it.
Sophomore guard Trent Frazier,
Bezhanishvili headline a roster as
talented as any in the Big Ten. Their
offense looks dangerous, and they’re
a team that’s young and tired of being
overlooked like so much of the state
they represent. Their non-conference
schedule is smooth enough that they
could be in a good spot heading into
Big Ten play, and from there, this is a
team that has the potential to take off.
With a roster this talented,
this could be a breakout year for
the Fighting Illini. Let’s just hope
the announcers figure out how to
pronounce those names.

What you need to know about the Big Ten basketball season

Daily Sports Writer

Michigan State senior point guard Cassius Winston was voted a unanimous first-team All-American and is considered a favorite for National Player of the Year.

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