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2022-2023 Big Ten College Basketball Preview

Indiana is back, and it’s been a long time coming for the former blue blood. Yes, I said former as it’s been 2 decades since their last Final 4 appearance, and they hadn’t done much the decade before that. Maybe this is the year they can actually get back. We feel like they are the clear favorites heading into this season, pretty much on a tier to themselves. In our National Rankings Indiana is the only team we felt were Top 10 or even top 25 in a strange year for the Big Ten. The Big Ten should still have a good number of NCAA teams, but I don’t see any other high end seeds.

Here are our national rankings so you can see the tiers we place each team on nationally.

1-363 rankings

National Rank
10IndianaBig Ten
29IowaBig Ten
36IllinoisBig Ten
37Ohio StateBig Ten
41WisconsinBig Ten
42PurdueBig Ten
43MichiganBig Ten
48Michigan StateBig Ten
50MarylandBig Ten
66RutgersBig Ten
76MinnesotaBig Ten
83NebraskaBig Ten
116Penn StateBig Ten
117NorthwesternBig Ten

Bracketology

In Lieu of an All Conference teams, I’ve listed the Top Returning Players by Peak Adjusted Efficiency for SOS. Most the conference teams will likely come from this list anyway, but the awards are more team driven. I’m more interested in who is actually doing the most when they are on the court. The players can’t control the team that was put around them. If they are putting up tangible numbers at top efficiency per possession on bad teams, that is actually more impressive to me. It’s coming under more pressure and game planning for them, with less viable options around them to take the pressure off. This list encompasses the players that have been the best on a D1 court going into the season. As you can see this is the conference for productive big men. I just question what some of them have around them. Someone has to get them the ball.

ADJ effRank
1Zach EdeyPurdue
3Trayce Jackson-DavisIndiana
7Hunter DickinsonMichigan
24Clifford OmoruyiRutgers
68Race ThompsonIndiana
73Jahmir YoungMaryland
78Derrick WalkerNebraska
106Matthew MayerIllinois
107Tyler WahlWisconsin
109Terrance ShannonIllinois
121Hakim HartMaryland
122Xavier JohnsonIndiana
129Jamison BattleMinnesota
131Justice SueingOhio State
152Jalen PickettPenn State
155Dawson GarciaMinnesota
156Tanner HoldenOhio State
158Donald CareyMaryland
180Patrick McCafferyIowa
195Steven CrowlWisconsin

(Last year’s NET, Seed, and Tournament Finish are on the top header line for reference. Deep bench players are not listed, only those in the projected rotation. I also included player ADJ eff rankings. ADJ eff Rankings and qualifying explanation here.)

1. Indiana

Indiana44 NET12 seedPER2R
Trayce Jackson-Davis6-9, 24518.3ppg,8.1rpg29.9Sr
Race Thompson6-8, 22811.1ppg, 7.5rpg20.8Gr
Miller Kopp6-7 ,2156.0ppg, 2.5rpg8Gr
Jalen Hood-Schifino6-5, 2004*Fr
Xavier Johnson6-3, 20012.1ppg, 5.1apg18.7Gr
Trey Galloway6-4, 2105.5ppg, 1.8apg10.3Jr
Jordan Geronimo6-6, 2204.4ppg, 3.6rpg17.2Jr
Tamar Bates6-5, 1933.9ppg, 1.3rpg6.6So
Malik Reneau6-8, 2155*Fr
Kaleb Banks6-8, 2154*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
3Trayce Jackson-Davis
68Race Thompson
122Xavier Johnson

Returning some pretty incredible big man play and a solid 5th year PG is a recipe for success. Indiana just needs some 3 point shooting help to open the offense up. If they could add a three point specialist, I’d like them a lot more. Either way, returning Jackson-Davis it feels like Indiana could be getting back to where they should be as a program.

Having a year of adjusting to the college game and dealing with and handling 18-22 year olds Coach Mike Woodson should be in a better leadership position now as well. Jalen Hood-Schifino played for a high level high school program Montverde and seems to be the most hopeful he can make open 3’s of the other projected wings. They need him to be that to help round out this starting lineup. With a player like Jackson-Davis returning and an experience PG like Johnson to get him the ball I expect them to take a big step this year.

2. Iowa

Iowa14 NET5 seed1R
Filip Rebraca6-9, 2225.8ppg, 5.6rpg15Gr
Kris Murray6-8, 2159.7ppg, 4.3rpg26.1Jr
Patrick McCaffery6-9, 20010.5ppg, 3.6rpg18Jr
Tony Perkins6-4, 2107.4ppg, 2.4rpg17.6Jr
Ahron Ulis6-3, 1903.1ppg,2.1apg11.5Jr
Payton Sandfort6-7, 2155.0ppg, 1.9rpg18.8So
Connor McCaffery6-5, 2052.5ppg, 1.9apg10.5Gr
Josh Dix6-4, 1804*Fr
Dasonte Bowen6-3, 1804*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
180Patrick McCaffery

Originally I was going to say this…….” Iowa, sorry, you don’t just lose a player who had one of the greatest statistically efficient seasons ever and just replace him with his twin brother and the coach’s son and call it the same. He may look the same, but he wasn’t statistically anymore the same as Robin Lopez is the same as Brook. ” After digging in I am thinking about it more, I believe this is still a good team, snarkiness aside. Continuity is still there and there are also guys with the talent to explore bigger roles, like Sandfort and the other Murray. Kris Murray is still pretty good even if he’s not his brother, his Peak Adjusted Efficiency if he qualified would have put him 16th, and I do think he will have at least as high a quality efficient season as he did last year in extended minutes even if he doesn’t have a season like his brothers. No one can be expected to have that level of the season. There is enough experience returning, they are still a team to respect, and I give them and their system the benefit of the doubt even with the major loss of Keegan Murray.

3. Illinois

Illinois15 NET4 seed2R
Coleman Hawkins6-10, 2005.9ppg, 4.3rpg16.1Jr
Matthew Mayer6-9, 2259.8ppg, 5.0rpg19Gr
RJ Melendez6-7, 2053.8ppg, 1.7rpg24.2So
Terrance Shannon6-6, 21012.9ppg, 4.0rpg(2021@ Texas Tech)21.1Sr
Skyy Clark6-2, 2004*Fr
Jayden Epps6-1, 1754*Fr
Dain Dainja6-9, 2702.0ppg, 1.rpg(@Baylor)23.4So
Ty Rodgers6-6, 2104*Fr
Luke Goode6-7, 2002.0ppg, 1.8rpg9.8So
Austin Hutcherson6-6, 1802.8ppg, 2.0rpg5Gr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
106Matthew Mayer
109Terrance Shannon

This team seemed to be going nowhere until they landed Mayer, but with him, they now have a good chance to crack the top 40. Underwood is a good coach and Shannon has demonstrated he could play a bigger role in 2021 and still be efficient. Last year was a little down for Shannon dealing with an injury but it wasn’t bad enough to miss significant time so well assume he’s more healthy and the version he was 2 seasons ago. When you have peaked out at a higher level I’ll believe that is at least the ceiling until there are multiple down years or a good reason not to, like a major injury.

There are still some questions, but Mayer answered a lot of the bigger ones. The only question now is how he will hold up in extended minutes and even more usage. Illinois will certainly need him to be one of the two main offensive cogs. There was a respectable baseline still from Mayer last season, but we did see a noticeable drop in the efficiency already as the minutes and role got bigger. He will need to maintain at least the efficiency he had last year in an even higher usage role this year for this team to get into the top 40, but I do think that is achievable.

At this moment they will still have to depend on some freshman point guards to get Shannon and Mayer the ball which remains some concern. After I ran my model it liked them overall more than my eye test did with both Shannon and Mayer barely missing the top 100. I think any further upside lies with Melendez and how good he can be in a bigger role. He’s not a great fit as a non shooter, but having a bigger stretch 4 like Mayer beside him allows for another nonshooter to be playable in the line up. He should be able to play in the dunker role around the basket on offense with Mayer stretching the floor. If Melendez can maintain 3/4’s of his efficiency last year in starter minutes they probably have a chance to be a top 30 team.

4. Ohio State

Ohio State23 NET7 seed2R
Zed Key6-8, 2457.8ppg, 5.6rpg20.4Jr
Justice Sueing6-7, 21510.7ppg 5.5rpg(2021)18.2Gr
Tanner Holden6-6, 18520.1ppg, 7.1rpg(@Wright St)24.8Sr
Sean McNeil6-3, 21012.2ppg, 2.5rpg(@WVU)13.7Sr
Isaac Likekele6-5, 2157.1ppg, 3.5apg(@OK St)12.3Sr
Eugene Brown6-6 1953.5ppg, 2.4rpg9.1Jr
Brice Sensabaugh6-6. 2404*Fr
Seth Towns6-8, 2303.8ppg, 2.2rpg(2021)15.5Jr
Bruce Thornton6-1, 1904*Fr
Felix Okpara6-10, 2104*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
131Justice Sueing
156Tanner Holden

I’m not the biggest fan of Holtmann, but this is a pretty nicely rebuilt roster. It’s a little short in the post but the pieces are solid. I would rather have a 6-8 guy that can play than a 7 footer that can’t and both have played well. Sueing only played 2 games last year, but he’s been very good previously. Towns didn’t play last year as well but he was solid in limited minutes and previously at Harvard. Getting these two players back with experience will be helpful if they can remain healthy.

I really like the transfer haul too. Wright State wasn’t that good this year, but I don’t think you can blame Holden as productive as he was individually. They were however top 75 NET the year prior with him leading the way. He’s a very productive player who can get to the line at an elite level, and I believe that’s still going to translate.

Holden’s three point shooting was average on dare you to shoot low volume. Still, he made enough that the hope is the volume can be expanded and the percentage hold up enough to be passable. There at least seems to be a path to improve and keep up with the step up in competition. McNeil however played against the 7th strongest SOS last year at WVU so he’s very tested. The unfortunate news is there might still be an injury with Sueing so that has to be part of this.

5. Wisconsin

Wisconsin25 NET3 seed2R
Steven Crowl7-0, 2178.8ppg,4.4rpg16.5Jr
Tyler Wahl6-9, 22011.4ppg, 5.9rpg19Sr
Jahcobi Neath6-3, 2001.6ppg, 1.5rpg6Sr
Max Klesmit6-3, 18014.9ppg, 2.9rpg(@Wofford)18.6So
Chucky Hepburn6-2, 2117.2ppg, 2.3apg10.6So
Jordan Davis6-4, 2001.3ppg, 0.9rpg6.7So
Kamari McGhee6-0, 18511.6ppg, 2.8rpg(@Green Bay)11So
Connor Essegian6-4, 1903*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOS
107Tyler Wahl
195Steven Crowl
275Max Klesmit

This isn’t your normal Wisconsin team. They have enough in the post that they aren’t going to get trucked there and can probably inflict some damage, but this guard play is sketchy. When you will have to depend on inefficient mid-major guys like McGhee I’d be concerned. Neath has had a little better caliber of seasons at Wake Forest previously, so I give him the starting nod, but it doesn’t inspire much confidence either. I don’t really like this team and I don’t like the depth at all, but they do have continuity and a style of play that seems to work in their favor. The post is solid and they have an experienced point guard. Klesmit should add enough shooting and additional help to put them here.

6. Purdue

Purdue12 NET3 seedS16
Zach Edey7-4, 28514.4ppg, 7.7rpg40.9Jr
Caleb Furst6-10, 2154.1ppg, 3.2rpg15.8So
Mason Gillis6-6, 2306.4ppg, 4.8rpg15.3Jr
David Jenkins6-2, 19514.8ppg, 2.4rpg(@UNLV 2021)15.9Sr
Fletcher Loyer6-3, 1854*Fr
Brandon Newman6-5, 1954.6ppg11.8Jr
Ethan Morton6-6, 2152.4ppg, 1.4apg11.9Jr
Braden Smith5-10, 1804*Fr
Camden Heide6-5, 1804*Fr
Trey Kaufman6-9, 2254* RedshirtFr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
1Zach Edey

This is the season Zach Edey actually has to finally get unleashed, hallelujah. They have little else. It was so frustrating Painter couldn’t figure out a way to get Edey and Williams on the court together at all last year instead of wasting both away on the bench for half the game. Sure, it wouldn’t have been an ideal fit but when you have two of the best players in the nation they got to be on the court, fit or not. Especially the way Williams moved and passed and could handle the ball, and how they already worked in completely different areas of the court. That was a big miss, not constructing a way to play both together.

I think Edey could be the best statistical player in the nation if any of these guards can actually get him the ball. Unfortunately, I think he will need to be to drag this team anywhere near the NCAA’s. 23ppg 12rpg? I believe a line like that is possible with 30 minutes of run but would that even be enough?

They are going to be dependent on a freshman PG at this point. Right now, Loyer seems to be the most likely. He averaged 27ppg, 3.6apg in high school as a senior and shot 37% from three. If he can’t do it the task will likely fall to 5-10 Braden Smith averaged 18ppg 6apg and shot 42% from distance. If they had a more proven PG option at least, I would feel much better about this team. With hundreds of them out there how did they not land one.

Late in June, they tried, landing David Jenkins from Utah who is an accomplished undersized SG but not a player that has ever shown any ability to facilitate. I guess they offered him a chance to try to be the PG. I do not think it will work but he will still be a valuable addition having his proven 3-point shooting will help a lot and gives them an experienced starter and guard that they really needed. They just need a couple more in my opinion. Edey should still be good enough to get them here if he plays anywhere close to what he did per minute last year and adds 10 minutes of court time or more. I believe he will.

7. Michigan

Michigan27 NET11 seedS16
Hunter Dickinson7-1, 25518.6ppg, 8.6rpg28.8Jr
Terrance Williams6-7, 2404.7ppg, 2.4rpg12.9Jr
Jett Howard6-7, 1854*Fr
Kobe Bufkin6-4, 1753.0ppg, 1.1rpg9.4So
Jaelin Llewellyn6-2, 17515.7ppg, 2.5apg (@Princeton)18.3Jr
Joey Baker6-6, 2014.5ppg, 1.2rpg (@Duke)13.6Gr
Tarris Reed6-9, 2304*Fr
Dug McDaniel5-9, 1504*Fr
Gregg Glenn6-6, 2204*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
7Hunter Dickinson

I guess we are in the Big 10 portion of the rankings, it’s another team driven primarily by one post player. When I first started working on this team, I dropped them into the 30s because I wasn’t a believer in Llewellyn as a facilitator. After the draft deadline to stay in this team developed bigger issues when Houstan and Diabate somewhat unexpectedly stayed in the draft. I didn’t like the guard play before that but now there are more question marks.

Whether on purpose or not Howard had set the team up where his son needed to play a large role. Now there is really no other option. Dickinson is a beast but someone has to get him the ball. I still believe Llewellyn is more of an off the ball guy, and he didn’t even facilitate in the Ivy League. The only other option is a 5-9, 150lb freshman. It was a tough draft deadline for sure but this team had to guard issues brewing even before that. Losing Houstan and Diabate didn’t cripple their team entirely with a great player like Dickinson, but it does hurt the defense and depth. It also puts more pressure on younger players immediately. They were able to added Joey Baker from Duke since my initial previews to at least solidify the wings a little if Howard isn’t up for the task. Obviously, he projects more as a role player but he will be valuable experienced depth for sure and may be depended on for more given the question.

8. Michigan State

Michigan State38 NET7 seed2R
Joey Hauser6-9, 2207.3ppg, 5.3rpg15.9Gr
Malik Hall6-7, 2158.9ppg, 4.6rpg17.9Sr
A.J. Hoggard6-3, 2207.0ppg, 4.8apg17Jr
Jaden Akins6-4 1803.4ppg, 2.4rpg10.8So
Tyson Walker6-0, 1628.2ppg, 4.3apg16.2Sr
Mady Sissoko6-9, 2301.1ppg, 1.0rpg10.9So
Jaxon Kohler6-9, 2504*Fr
Tre Holloman6-2, 1754*Fr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
209Tyson Walker
219Joey Hauser

There isn’t much popping on this roster. Izzo is complaining about the NIL and talking about retiring so he must know how bad this team could be. Continuity seems to be about the only selling point here and a great coach that hopefully can work some magic.

This pick is more of a respectful nod to Izzo than the roster at this point because this seems like a team of solid role players. I do not expect anything more than to be on the NCAA bubble. This might be the year they could even miss out after 25 straight years. At the end of the day, there is probably enough to get them on them in but a double-digit seed seems like the ceiling unless they added someone else and they never did.

9. Maryland

Maryland90 NET
Julian Reese6-9, 2305.7ppg, 4.4rpg15.8So
Donta Scott6-7,22012.6ppg, 6.2rpg16.4Sr
Hakim Hart6-6, 2009.9ppg, 3.6rpg18.7Sr
Donald Carey6-5, 18713.5ppg, 4.4rpg(@Georgetown)17.3Gr
Jahmir Young6-2, 18519.6ppg, 5.9rpg(@UNCC)25.1Jr
Ian Martinez6-3, 1855.2ppg, 1.9rpg (@Utah 2021)15.3Jr
Jahari Long6-5, 2101.0ppg(@Seton Hall)Jr
Noah Batchelor6-7, 1904*Fr
Arnaud Revaz6-10, 220did not playSo
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
73Jahmir Young
121Hakim Hart
158Donald Carey
201Donta Scott

This isn’t a bad roster, I really like the additions of Carey and Young. Hart seems like he can expand his role as well. The post is where the question marks seem to be and overall depth, but I think there is enough to be passable. Martinez could be in for a bounce back season. I posted his 2021 stats at Utah as opposed to last year because he’s shown that sort of ceiling, so I will choose to believe he can be more than what he was last year with his pedigree. The coaching change should help, and this team needs him to play a positive role. Willard is more competent than Manning so the late 40s seems around the right spot and his typical level of water he treads at. He just seems like a younger version of Turgeon that will have them around the bubble, but at least it’s a fresh start which they clearly wanted.

10. Rutgers

Rutgers80 NET11 Seed1R
Clifford Omoruyi6-11, 24011.9ppg, 7.8rpg22.6Jr
Aundre Hyatt6-6, 2254.3ppg, 2.8rpg12.3Jr
Caleb McConnell6-7, 1957.1ppg, 5.3rpg13.2Sr
Cam Spencer6-4, 19018.9ppg, 4.8rpg (@Loyola MD)24.9Sr
Paul Mulcahy6-6, 2109.0ppg, 5.3apg14.6Sr
Mawot Mag6-7, 2152.9ppg, 1.9rpg10.3Jr
Dean Reiber6-10, 2252.9ppg, 1.3rpg18Jr
Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
24Clifford Omoruyi

I’ve seen a couple of lists over the summer that had Caleb McConnell in the Top 40 returning players in the nation.

It’s not cool having to point this out because of the expectations others have made for him, but with his .462% true shooting and negative net rating. The team lost with him on the court last year even if you believe the defense is great, it still doesn’t make up for the massive offensive shortcomings in the aggregate. It wasn’t a slump year either on offense, as he had a .384% true shooting 2 years ago. That is about as low as you will ever see from a guy playing 25+ minutes. You better play some great defense if you want to remain in the rotation, shooting like he has the last 2 seasons. Even with the defense, it still equated to a -1.7 Net Rating last year. Rutgers’s defense really wasn’t that good anyway.

The player that is not overrated however and will drive a lot of their success this season is Clifford Omoruyi. As a floor raiser, he alone should have Rutgers in pretty solid shape for at least an NIT bid. The NCAA bid last year was pretty ridiculous with a 80 NET ranking, and they were dispatched in the 11 seed play in game.

Cam Spencer was a nice addition through the portal averaging 18.9ppg, 4.8rpg and 3.2apg with a 24.9 PER at Loyola MD. Spencer’s numbers came against a 345th SOS though so I wouldn’t expect the translations to be that amazing. In my adjusted efficiency model, he was 438th. He is still a good player, the numbers he put up against that SOS a little softer than it would appear. He or Paul Mulcahy will need to step up on the perimeter to help offset the loss of Ron Harper.

11. Minnesota

Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
129Jamison Battle
155Dawson Garcia
Transfers
Dawson Garcia6-11, 2309.0ppg, 5.5rpg17.4UNC
Ta’lon Cooper6-4, 1909.1ppg, 5.9apg15.2Morehead St
Taurus Samuels6-0, 1759.4ppg, 1.7apg11.8Dartmouth

Jamison Battle (17.5ppg, 6.3rpg) and Dawson Garcia (13.0ppg, 6.6rpg @ Marquette in 2021) are proven big time talents. I’m not seeing a lot around them though to help lift them out of the bottom of the league. Cooper was more of a game manager jack of all trades for Morehead State and he might need to be their 3rd banana. That’s a big chasm from their 1-2 punch to the rest of the team. I just don’t see the depth here to have them higher even as good as Battle and Garcia are. If they miss any time it could get rough quick as well.

12. Nebraska

Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
78Derrick Walker
Transfers
Blaise Keita6-11, 23012.8ppg, 9.8rpg (JUCO)JUCO
Juwan Gary6-6, 2186.5ppg, 3.5rpg19.1Alabama
Sam Griesel6-6,21514.3ppg, 6.6rpg22.1N. Dakota St
Emmanuel Bandoumel6-4, 18010.6ppg, 3.8rpg12.1SMU

Fred Hoiberg did very well at Iowa State and is one of the first coaches to embrace the transfer portal. Now everyone does though and Nebraska is proving to be a much tougher nut to crack in the new changing transfer era. The good news is they do return Derrick Walker who is one of the best players in the Big Ten. There are things on the margins like Keisei Tominaga shooting better I would expect to help some this season, but I do not see a legit running mate. It seems more like a lot of guys that project as role players around Walker. I don’t think that is going to be enough to even get them to an NIT. It will be interesting to see if Hoiberg can keep his job as the years of adding up now. I do expect them to be a little better overall but likely a 4th losing season is headed their way.

13. Penn State

Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
152Jalen Pickett
290Camren Wynter
Transfers
Andrew Funk6-5, 18817.6ppg, 3.0apg17.1Bucknell
Camren Wynter6-2, 17515.8ppg, 4.6apg18.2Drexel

Jalen Pickett was pretty good vs one of the toughest SOS’s last season. He Camren Wynter and Andrew Funk will help make up a pretty solid perimeter unit. Seth Lundy is a competent undersized big. He’s not blowing anyone’s doors off but he ok. Where it starts to fall apart for me is the post position. John Harrar was highly underrated last season and I don’t see his replacement. I expect they will go with Kebba Njie but I’m not a big believer in freshman recruited at his level in the age of the super senior. He’s going to have to go against some of the best big men in the nation in this conference. Good luck with that.

14. Northwestern

Peak Efficiency Adjusted by SOSReturning Players in the Top 300
215Boo Buie

Chris Collins is no stranger to the Duke and UNC rivalry and now he will get to watch 2 of his best former players go head to head. It was a really tough loss to lose two highly efficient and productive post players Pete Nance and Ryan Young to the ACC. The good news is they have experience at the position it’s probably most important with Boo Buie and Point Guard. He’s got his work cut out for him keeping them competitive. I don’t see much more hope than to be competitive for Northwestern this season.

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