Looking forward to Big Ten basketball? Scribe’s preview is here

Terrence+Shannon+Jr.+and+the+Fighting+Illini+are+ready+to+bring+home+some+hardware+to+Champaign

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Terrence Shannon Jr. and the Fighting Illini are ready to bring home some hardware to Champaign

Jason Williams and Patrick Schmitz

UPDATED: 11/2/2022 (3:27p ET) — The countdown to the 2022-23 college basketball season has officially begun! As we draw closer to tip-off on Monday, Nov. 7, Saxon Scribe’s experts Jason Williams and Patrick Schmitz are ready with predictions. We begin with a look at the Big Ten. 

The Big Ten is entering the season after losing 15 of its top 20 leading scorers. You could consider this a “reconstruction” year for the conference but underestimating this conference could leave you vulnerable to upsets.

No doubt, the Big Ten is motivated to make fans forget about their horrendous performance in the NCAA Tournament a season ago. After sending nine teams to the big dance, none of them were able to advance past the Sweet 16. In fact, only two teams survived the first weekend. 

With Opening Night quickly approaching, let’s take a closer look at the Big Ten’s top players and teams.

 

Find more preseason analysis here.

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Big Ten Player of the Year prediction:

Trayce Jackson-Davis – C – Indiana

    – Jackson-Davis helped Indiana snap its five-year NCAA Tournament drought last season and he opted to return for his senior season. The 6-foot-9 center has turned into an elite shot blocker over his three seasons in Bloomington. Even if Jackson-Davis doesn’t get the job done on the perimeter, he’ll still be a threat on the inside.

Additional players to watch this season:

– Hunter Dickinson – C – Michigan

    – Remember the damage Dickinson did last season? Just imagine what he’ll be bringing to the table this season for Juwan Howard and Michigan.

Terrance Shannon Jr. – G – Illinois

    – Shannon Jr. hit 38% of his three-pointers a season ago at Texas Tech and will be a key contributor to Illinois’ aggressive offensive approach. 

– Matthew Mayer – G – Illinois

    – Wait a second. Back-to-back from the same school?! You betcha! Mayer hit nearly 40% of his shots from downtown at Baylor and like Shannon Jr., will be a key contributor to Illinois’ success.

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Saxon Scribe predicted order of finish in the Big Ten 

1 – Illinois

The Kofi Cockburn era has ended in Champaign. After leading the Illini in rebounds and blocks while finishing either first or second on the team in scoring, star big man Kofi Cockburn has moved on from college basketball. Replacing him will be two transfers from the Big 12. Former Texas Tech guard Terrence Shannon Jr. and former Baylor wing Matthew Mayer will be key components to Illinois’ offense, especially from behind the arc.  – Jason Williams

2- Indiana

Indiana — yes, Indiana — leads the Big Ten in Jason Williams’ Bracketology field. The last time Indiana led the pack in the Big Ten feels like a quarter of a century ago — because that’s exactly how long since Indiana was selected as a No. 1 seed back in 2013 — until now. The Hoosiers currently sit as a 3-seed before opening night on November 7th. The real question many will be asking as November looms is whether Indiana is overrated or not? –  Jason Williams

3 – Purdue

After Purdue reached No. 1 AP poll a year ago, the Boilermakers look to do so again this season. Purdue lost their top two players from last season, Jayden Ivey and Trevion Williams, but five veterans of their rotation are back, including 7-4 center Zack Edey. Others will have to step up and embrace their role this season, but Purdue will have their eyes set on a Final Four run this year. – Jason Williams

4 – Michigan

Michigan is losing a lot of key players from last year’s surprise run in the NCAA Tournament, however, the new blood that they are getting can help this team wildly. Princeton transfer Jaelin Llewellyn, freshman Dug McDaniel, and Jett Howard should contribute along with Dickinson to try and make magic once more. – Patrick Schmitz

5 – Michigan State

For the second straight season, Tom Izzo won’t have the deepest or most-talented team in the Big Ten. But that won’t stop Tom Izzo. Senior Malik Hall looks to lead the Spartans after a solid junior season in which he scored 8.9 points per game and hit 42.6% of his shots from behind the arc. – Jason Williams

6- Rutgers

Rutgers is going to be a sleeper team this season. I’m calling it. Even though the Scarlet Knights will be without Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker, Steve Pikiell still has a roster that will feature plenty of vets. Senior guards Caleb McConnell and Paul Mulcahy and junior center Clifford Omoruyi will be the guys to keep an eye on this year. – Jason Williams

7 – Ohio State

Ohio State may have had the nation’s No. 8 recruiting class, however, the mainstays that are leaving Ohio State, like E.J Liddell, will hurt this team. The freshman and transfers they are getting including All-Horizon wing Tanner Holden will keep this team competing in the Big Ten, but with the talent they lost it will be hard to see them winning it. – Patrick Schmitz

8 – Iowa (no consensus)

Iowa has lost two of their top players in Keegan Murray and Luka Garza. With incoming freshmen and returning player Kris Murray, Iowa is looking to get back to the Big Ten title game. This team won’t be at the complete bottom of the Big Ten, however, losing their top two players Iowa will not be where they were last year. – Patrick Schmitz

9 – Wisconsin (no consensus)

Wisconsin might struggle with a lot of their top players leaving, however, guard Chucky Hepburn and Forward Tyler Wahl will look to get this team back to Big Ten glory. – Patrick Schmitz

10- Maryland (no consensus)

First Year Coach Kevin Willard adopts a team that isn’t regarded highly in the big 10. Maryland has many returning players along with a transfer class led by all-conference USA guard Jamir Young. Maryland has a veteran core that they hope will exceed expectations. – Patrick Schmitz

11 – Penn State (no consensus)

Under first-year coach Micah Shrewsberry had a feisty squad a year ago. Now, Shrewsberry is customed to what it’s like to coach in the Big Ten. Penn State will have two of their top three scorers returning, Jalen Pickett and Seth Lundy, as well as two transfers, Camren Wynter (Drexel) and Andrew Funk (Bucknell). The Nittany Lions’ frontcourt may be an issue early on, but with quality vets on the roster, Penn State will be able to fill those empty spots. – Jason Williams

12 – Northwestern (no consensus)

Northwestern is one of few teams who possess a key ingredient on their roster. Veteran guard play. The Wildcats will have three key guards returning for the 2022-2023 campaign, Boo Buie, Chase Audige, and Ty Berry. The only issue that will hurt the Wildcats’ chances to build off of their 15-16 (7-13 Big Ten) record from a year ago is the departure of Pete Nance (North Carolina) and Ryan Young (Duke). Northwestern will struggle against some of the more dynamic forwards in the Big Ten. – Jason Williams

13 – Minnesota

Remember when the Gophers started the season off 10-1 but didn’t have enough firepower to withstand the powerhouses of the Big Ten? Last year’s leading scorer, Jamison Battle, returns and will need to put the team on his back. Minnesota’s roster is still “under construction,” and you’ll be seeing that sign up for at least the 2022-2023 campaign. – Jason Williams

14 – Nebraska

Fred Hoiberg is on the hot seat this year after going 10-22, so he is looking for a bounce-back season that they probably won’t get. Nebraska gets some senior transfers from SMU and North Dakota state to pair nicely with sophomore guard CJ Wilcher. However, their team is still lacking the firepower needed to compete in the Big Ten. This could be the last time we see Fred Hoiberg at Nebraska. – Patrick Schmitz

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Most overrated team: Indiana Hoosiers 

My colleague, Patrick Schmitz, listed Indiana as his most overrated team in the Big Ten, yet still has them finishing second behind Illinois. Now, I will confess and say I’d be lying to y’all if I said Indiana isn’t just a tad overrated, even though they are my pick to win the Big Ten. Last season they choked themselves out of a higher seed by finishing their last 12 games 4-8, which were all against conference foes. Now looking ahead to this season, Indiana has a good core of starters returning. All-American candidate Trayce Jackson-Davis is back, as well as veteran guards Xavier Johnson and forward Race Thompson. Oh, and before I forget to mention, they’ll be welcoming the nation’s No. 11 recruiting class headlined by five-star guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, who could the missing piece for the Hoosier’s puzzle. – Jason Williams 

Most underrated team: Rutgers Scarlet Knights 

Both my colleague and I completely agreed on something, at long last. Our most underrated team in the conference, Rutgers. We also both believe they’ll finish 6th at year’s end. The Scarlet Knights still have a roster full of veterans even with the recent departure of Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker. Senior guards Caleb McConnell and Paul Mulcahy, including junior center Clifford Omoruyi, will be the guys Steve Pikiell will be relying on this season. – Jason Williams

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Saxon Scribe Big Ten expert picks

ORDER WILLIAMS SCHMITZ
1 Indiana Illinois
2 Illinois Indiana
3 Purdue Purdue
4 Michigan Michigan State
5 Michigan State Michigan
6 Rutgers Rutgers
7 Ohio State Ohio State
8 Iowa Wisconsin
9 Wisconsin Iowa
10 Maryland Penn State
11 Penn State Maryland
12 Northwestern Nebraska
13 Minnesota Minnesota
14 Nebraska Northwestern
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