Big Ten Basketball Preview 2020-2021
Freshman Kofi Cockburn celebrates during Illinois’ game against Indiana on March 1. The Illini beat the Hoosiers 67-66.

The Big Ten Basketball preview will go over the best and worst things about every team. The Big Ten has two contending teams and many others that will be in the tournament. With Covid, this will be a very interesting season but the top tier talent should still shine through.

14. Northwestern

The good news is this Wildcats squad returns 5/6 of their leading scorers returning there is potential but this roster was 8-23 last year. Ty Berry is there top recruit a 6’2 combo guard from Kansas will look to get some meaningful minutes off of the bench. Losing AJ Turner will hurt but not as much as having to go up against some of the best competition in the country.

13. Nebraska

Fred Hoiberg’s first year as the head coach went poorly going 7-25 and losing their last 17 games. The only bright spot I can say for this team is Pittsburgh transfer Terry McGowens is immediately eligible. With enough new talent maybe they’ll scrape together a couple of wins to entice recruits to start something next year.

12. Penn St.

After a phenomenal season at 21-10 Penn St. lost their second-leading scorer ever in Lamar Stevens along with the third-leading scorer from last year Mike Watkins. Yet they have six returning players from last year they can get a couple of wins in Big Ten play.

11. Minnesota

Richard Pitino just had a third losing season in a row and it’s looking like a fourth is coming. After losing Daniel Oturu who put up amazing numbers last season and is heading to the NBA. Marcus Carr is still there and will look to lead this team to some victories. Sophomore Isaiah Ihnen will need to take on a bigger role and step into Oturu’s spot. This will be the fourth losing season in a row for Pitino and it’s not looking good.

10. Maryland

After winning a share of the Big Ten title last season Maryland will drop off a lot. They will need to replace Anthony Cowan and Jalen Smith who in the past two seasons had a combined 31.8 points a game last season. Wiggins will get a much bigger role this year but won’t be able to match Smith’s production.

9. Purdue

Finally, we get to the bubble teams. Last year they were a 16-15 team. This year for the next 8 weeks they will be without stud Eric Hunter who had 10.6 points a game last year and that will affect them a lot. One positive is Trevion Williams who is the anchor of defense from last year that ranked top 10 in efficiency.

8. Michigan

Michigan has second-year head coach Juwan Howard had a successful first year at 19-12. After losing Zavier Simpson this year the four returning players they have will need to step it up. This includes last year’s top scorer Isaiah Livers who was injured for apart of the year and looks to have a good healthy season.

7. Ohio St

After a 20 win season Ohio St. is bringing back as much as they lost with transfers Seth Townes from Harvard and California’s Justice Sueing and Utah St’s Abel Porter. These three will go along with returning core E.J. Liddell and Duane Washington. This team will be a fighter and will probably get a spot in March.

6. Indiana

Look at this roster and tell me it doesn’t have at least the top 30 talent. With Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson, and Al Durham returning along with Khristian Lander as a top 15 recruit. The only problem is Justin Smith transferring out. Archie Miller has a great team that he could take on a sweet 16 run.

5. Rutgers

After a 20 win season, Steve Pikiell’s team is ready to run it back with Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. They should be able to reproduce the same top 10 efficiency that they had last season to finish as a top 25 team.

4. Michigan St.

Tom Izzo replaces one of the best NCAA basketball players ever in Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman as well. Aaron Henry and Rocket Watts will need to step up which they should be able to do and lead sparty to the sweet 16.

3. Wisconsin

After Sharing the Big Ten title with Maryland last season Wisconsin returns its top five scorers. Their momentum should continue as they will lean on Micah Potter in a balanced offensive attack. This team has a lot of chemistry and they will try to repeat what they did last year.

2. Iowa

Luka Garza is coming back for his senior year and is the favorite for the player of the year. They also return 7/8 leading scorers from last year’s team. Iowa has top 10 potentials and could easily make the final four with all of their talents along with great coaching from Fran Mccaffery.

1. Illinois

The Fighting Illini return a top 5 player in college basketball in Ayo Dosumu along with top-five center Kofi Cockburn. They also brought in two top fifty players in Adam Miller and Andre Cuberlo. They have so many glue guys that even the loss of Andres Feliz won’t affect this team. This team has Championship potential and with Underwood’s leadership don’t be surprised when they make a deep run in March Madness.

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