College basketball season is just around the corner. Team media days have come and gone and practices are now in full swing. The first games of the season come on November 8. BangtheBook is going to give you a look at the breakdowns in many different conferences. The Big Ten has struggled in football of late, but the conference is very good in basketball. Included by each team name are odds to win the Big Ten title from BetOnline.
Michigan State (+175) Tom Izzo is the best coach in the conference, and he’s one of the very best in the nation. The Spartans are very well-balanced on offense. Gary Harris is healthier than he has been in his time with the team, and Adreian Payne will be a force on the inside. The Spartans always get after it on the defensive end. Expect big things from this team.
Ohio State (+250) Ohio State lost leading scorer Deshaun Thomas, and that will definitely hurt. Still, Thad Matta’s team has a lot of depth. Aaron Craft is one of the best leaders in all of college basketball, and there is no better on the ball defender in the game. If the Buckeyes can get some consistent offense, they’ll be tough to beat.
Michigan (+350) The Wolverines may be the biggest wild card in the conference. They still have Mitch McGary, Nick Stauskas, and Glenn Robinson III. All of those guys are capable of having a big game at any time. Still, losing Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. was a big hit to this team’s potential.
Indiana (+500) Tom Crean is a great recruiter, so the Hoosiers have a couple more stars coming in. Still, the Hoosiers aren’t nearly as stacked as they were last season. When you lose guys like Oladipo, Zeller, Watford, and Hulls all in the same season you are going to take a step backward.
Wisconsin (+650) Wisconsin hasn’t finished outside the top four in the conference in any of Bo Ryan’s 12 seasons with the team. The Badgers are so frustrating to play against (and they can be frustrating to watch), but this team has their system down to a science. Never count them out.
The Rest of the Pack:
Iowa (+1000) The Hawkeyes return four of their five starters. Marble will be the key to this team. If he can continue to develop as a play maker, the Hawkeyes have a good chance of getting back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in quite a while.
Illinois (+1200) Brandon Paul was an elite scorer who made the Fighting Illini tick, so replacing him isn’t going to be any fun. John Groce is a quality coach who should do well at this school, but he doesn’t have enough of his own guys here yet.
Purdue (+1500) The Boilermakers were a disappointing team last year. Matt Painter is one of those coaches who always gets his team to fight hard on the defensive end. If you can get them as big underdogs, they could have some nice value in conference action.
Minnesota (+2500) Richard Pitino takes over here for Tubby Smith. The Golden Gophers have one of the best point guards in the Big Ten in Andre Hollins. The problem is they had a very good frontcourt, but they all graduated. It will be a struggle.
Penn State (+5000) Coach Chambers has his work cut out for him at Penn State. He’ll need to get some better recruiting classes to make a real difference here.
Northwestern (+5000) The Wildcats have the potential to be a bit of a surprise team here. I like the hire of Coach Collins in the offseason. Look for Northwestern to be a tougher team to beat than most expect.
Nebraska (+7500) Nebraska is at the bottom of the pack because they are just short on talent. The Cornhuskers are in for another long year.
Free Pick to win Big Ten: Michigan State- I have to back the best coach in the conference, especially when he has the best player in the conference on his team (Gary Harris). The Spartans should make a deep run in the postseason.
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