In recent seasons, the Big Ten has been an intriguing case study, with highly touted teams but underwhelming NCAA Tournament results.
The conference hasn’t had a representative in the Final Four since 2019 and may be lacking in talent compared to recent years. After being dominated in the preseason by the likes of Illinois, Purdue, and Michigan in recent years, a new team has emerged as the conference’s preseason darling: Indiana.
Continue reading for our preview of the 2022-2023 Big Ten season to see if the Hoosiers are a legitimate favorite heading into the season.
Big Ten Preseason Poll 2022-2023
- 377 Indiana (19)
- 339 Illinois (6)
- 328 Michigan (1)
- Michigan State (281 points)
- 279 Purdue (1)
- 253 points for Ohio State
- Iowa, 235 (1) (1)
- Rutgers University, 202
- 191 in Wisconsin
- 153 Maryland
- 118 Penn State
- Minnesota (86)
- Northwestern (56 points)
- 42. Nebraska
Preseason polls aren’t everything, but they do show market sentiment heading into the season, and it’s coming up all over Indiana this year. Under second-year head coach Mike Woodson, the Hoosiers made a late-season push into the NCAA Tournament and are now the conference favorite.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson, and guard Xavier Johnson, to name a few, return to the team. While the team’s defense should keep them in the hunt for the Big Ten title, they may not reach their Final Four potential unless they become more of a perimeter threat.
KenPom Big Ten College Basketball Ranking
- 33 Illinois
- 12 Indiana
- Iowa: 23
- Maryland has 56.
- Michigan ranks 26th.
- Michigan State is ranked 31st.
- Minnesota has 109.
- Nebraska has 108.
- Northwestern: 70 points
- Ohio State (32 points)
- Penn State is ranked 46th.
- Purdue University: 25
- Rutgers: 50 points
- Wisconsin has 55 counties.
Illinois (+4000) is the Big Ten favorite
We discussed Indiana earlier, but I believe the new-look Illinois team is the best in the Big Ten.
The Illini did lose key contributors such as Kofi Cockburn, Trent Frazier, and Alfonso Plummer, but Brad Underwood dominated the transfer portal, bringing in Texas Tech guard Terrance Shannon Jr. and Baylor wing Matthew Mayer to join Coleman Hawkins and R.J. Melendez.
The two Big 12 imports will help to compensate for some of the team’s defensive losses, while the offense should have good spacing around five-star freshman Skyy Clark, who will run the point this season.
While KenPom has the team dropping from 20 to 33 in its early projections, other metrics such as Bart Torvik have the Illini ranked 14th in the country. I believe they have a higher ceiling than Indiana and could be the clear favorite by the time conference play begins.
Ohio State (+11000) is the Big Ten’s dark horse
The Buckeyes’ defense has been a major issue in their quest to become a Final Four contender, but can they find some help from Oklahoma State transfer Isaac Likekele? He is one of three key transfers, along with West Virginia’s Sean McNeil and Wright State’s Tanner Holden, who averaged 20 points per game last season.
With returning forwards Justice Sueing and Zed Key, those three are likely starters.
However, the team will lose its two leading scorers from last season in E.J. Liddell and Malakhi Branham, so while the defense will improve, the offense will regress. The team is counting on a top-ten recruiting class to provide some scoring punch, including four-star forward Brice Sensabaugh.
The Big Ten may be underperforming in comparison to expectations, but Ohio State has a high ceiling if the freshmen can make an immediate impact.
Michigan (+3500) is the Big Ten team to fade
Hunter Dickinson is fantastic and should have the Wolverines in the NCAA Tournament, but this number is absurd given the roster’s inexperience. Juwan Howard appears to have regressed as a coach, unable to assemble the star-studded Wolverines of 2021 for a National Championship run, and now he has his most green roster in Ann Arbor.
At 35-1, I’d rather have more proven commodities than a relative unknown in Michigan. Kobe Bufkin will hope to crack the rotation this season, and the team will hope Jett Howard can make an immediate impact as a wing threat for Dickinson to kick the ball out to.
The Wolverines have a fairly stable KenPom rating, finishing 27th last year and entering 26th this year, but there are some serious question marks off the bench.
Game odds are updated on a regular basis and are subject to change.
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