Season Preview: The B1G

Taking a look some of the top Division I conference in college basketball. In this installment, the B1G is profiled.

All-Conference Team

-Caris LeVert, Jr., G, Michigan

-Rayvonte Rice, Sr., G, Illinois

-Terran Petteway, Jr., G, Nebraska

-Sam Dekker, Jr., F, Wisconsin

-Frank Kaminsky, Sr., F, Wisconsin

Breakdown – The best five players in the B1g (I’m going to keep calling it that, so get used to it) are pretty clear-cut. Except for Rice, I think you’ll see the remaining four players here at the end of the season. Rice, I believe is the one that will break out for the Illini and surprise a few people. As for the front-court being all Badgers? There’s a reason they’re the heavy favorite to win the league.

Predicting the Finish

1.) Wisconsin – Key players like Traveon Jackson, Dekker and Kaminsky are back. Bo Ryan always has his teams near the top and that won’t change.

2.) Nebraska – I’m a bit higher on the Huskers than some. I really like Petteway’s game and Tim Miles has what #Nebrasketball has sorely needed to be competitive: Relentless enthusiasm.

3.) Michigan State – It’s Tom Izzo. And if history tells us anything, the losses of Gary Harris and Adreian Payne won’t hurt them much.

4.) Ohio State – This team is year away from contending for the B1G title. Trevor Thompson will help in 2015-16. This season, Amir  Williams could have a year that makes him a first round draft pick.

Sleeper Team – 5.) Illinois – Rayvonte Rice will carry this season with Darius Paul suspended for the season. The emergence of Aaron Cosby will be crucial for the Illini to contend within the conference.

6.) Iowa – After stumbling late but still making the NCAA Tournament, it’ll be interesting to see who steps into the leadership role for the graduated Roy Devryn Marble this year. Aaron White is the top candidate.

7.) Minnesota – Andre Hollins will be looked upon to do a lot. But it will be Elliot Eliason who will be the most important player for coach Richard Pitino. Consistency will be key from him.

8.) Michigan – John Beilein always seems to have his teams “there” when necessary. However, losing Mitch McGary unexpectedly will have a much bigger effect than some realize. No player over 6-9 on the roster.

9.) Indiana – Coach Tom Crean over-coached last season. This season, he should hand the keys to Yogi Ferrell and let players like Robert Johnson and James Blackmon Jr. do what they do best.

10.) Penn State – Can one player carry a team? D.J. Newbill is about to find out. Pat Chambers has to find a sidekick to the senior to have any chance at contending this year. Brandon Taylor could be the guy.

11.) Purdue – It felt like Matt Painter lost a lot of important players in the offseason, whether he did or not. But they return A.J. Hammons and Rapheal Davis, who could have  a big year.

12.) Northwestern – Chris Collins did an amazing job of getting and keeping the commitment of Vic Law. But the program is at least a year away.

13.) Maryland – Mark Turgeon needs to win this season. But I can’t see it with the roster he has after all the offseason transfers.

14.) Rutgers – Let’s face it, this move was a dumb one by the B1G. Eddie Jordan might be able to surprise a few teams, but I don’t even see 6 wins in the conference for the Scarlet Knights. It’ll be the Mack And Jack (Myles and Kadeem).

Sleeper Player

Bryn Forbes, GS, G, Michigan State – He quietly took his spot with the Spartans and could be one of the key players for Izzo this season. He averaged 15.6 ppg at Cleveland State and could do almost as well in East Lansing, where he could be the deep threat Izzo needs. He hit 42.4 percent of his threes last season for the Vikings.

Most Likely To…..end a game in the 90s

-Minnesota at Michigan State – 2/26/15 – Because guessing which game will end in the low 40s is like asking if Bo Ryan wants to press fast forward on his DVR. Richard Pitino has proven to be like his old man in that he likes to run and shoot the three (in his own style) and Tom Izzo is going to have a lot of guards this season who like to get out into transition. If both teams are hitting their shots with consistency, it could finish in the 100s in regulation.

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