The Big Ten was a great defensive conference in 2017-2018, where a total of ten (10) teams held their opponents below 70 points per game. What separated each team from the other was offense. We can expect the same in 2018-2019.

The question is, what team in the Big Ten is going to have a good combination of defense and fire power? It looks as if it’s going to be Maryland. This team is loaded and shouldn’t have no problem getting to the NCAA Tournament in 2019.

Michigan State will always be Michigan State. We can always expect Coach Izzo’s team to make a run deep into the NCAA Tournament.

If Coach John Beilein decides to return as head coach, Michigan will contend for the top of the Big Ten Conference and will make a push deep into the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Archie Miller has added some fire power to his roster with the addition of freshman recruit Romeo Langford. Expect this team to make a run for the conference regular season and conference tournament championships.

Coach Brad Underwood has made dramatic improvements to his Illinois team. Look for The Fighting Illini to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.

The Big Ten had four (4) teams to go to the NCAA Tournament, with one team, Michigan, making it all the way to the National Championship game. There were two (2) teams to make to the NIT, with one team, Penn State, winning the NIT Championship.

Will we see more Big 10 teams in the NCAA Tournament in 2019?

Here is our prediction of what the Big Ten could look like in 2018-2019

1. Maryland Basketball

Coach: Mark Turgeon

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson
Graduated: Michal Cekovsky, Jared Nickens, Sean Obi, and Dion Wiley

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Anthony Cowan (PG), Darryl Morsell (SG), Ivan Bender (PF), Joshua Tomaic (PF), and Schnider Herard (C )
Key Freshmen added: Jalen Smith (PF), Aaron Wiggins (SF), Eric Ayala (SG), and Serrel Smith (PG)

Maryland will have three (3) starters returning in Bruno Fernando, Anthony Cowan, and Darryl Morsell.

Fernando and Cowan and will be joined by four (4) top 100 freshmen, Jalen Smith, Aaron Wiggins, Eric Ayala, and Serrel Smith. Maryland’s already great defense should get even better with its additions. This team should also improve dramatically in scoring offense.

2017-2018 Record: 19-13 (8-10) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 16+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Exit or greater

2. Michigan State Basketball

Coach: Tom Izzo

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Graduated: Ben Carter, Lourawls Nairn Jr., and Gavin Schilling

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Cassius Winston (PG), Nick Ward (C ) Nick Ward (C ), Joshua Langford (SG), Matt McQuaid (SG), Xavier Tillman (PF), Kyle Ahrens (SF), and Kenny Goins (PF)
Key Freshmen added: Marcus Bingham (PF), Foster Loyer (PG), Thomas Kithier (PF), Gabe Brown (SF), and Aaron Henry ((SF)

Michigan State has three (3) starters returning from the 2017-2018 season. Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford and Nick Ward were very instrumental in making this team a success in 2017-2018. Winston, the 8th best point guard in the nation, averaged 12.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and a whopping 6.9 assists per game. Ward, the team’s best rebounder, was instrumental in making this team the best rebounding team in the Big Ten. Ward averaged 12.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season. Starter Langford added 11.7 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game.

Michigan State’s 2nd round exit in the NCAA Tournament doesn’t reflect the type of the team they had last season. This team was very good in every category.

Expect Michigan State to remain a very strong team and hopefully they’ll push deeper into the tournament next time.

2017-2018 Record: 30-5 (16-2) NCAA Tournament 2nd round exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 14+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Exit or greater

3. Michigan Basketball

Coach: John Beilein

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Moritz Wagner
Transferred: Ibi Watson
Graduated: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Duncan Robinson, and Jaaron Simmons

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Zavier Simpson (PG), Isaiah Livers (SF), Jon Teske (C ), Jordan Poole (SG), Charles Matthews (SG), Eli Brooks (PG), and Austin Davis (PF),
Key Freshmen added: Ignas Brazdeikis (SF), Colin Castleton (PF), Brandon Johns (PF), David Dejulius (PG), and Adrien Nunez (SG)

Coach John Beilein seems to have the formula for winning tournament games. It’s just a matter of time before Michigan brings home another NCAA Tournament Championship.

With the 11th best recruiting class in the nation, according to 247sports.com, Michigan should pick up from where they’d left off last season. As a matter of fact, this team may be even better than the 2017-2018 team.

Canadian big man Ignas Brazdeikis is a beast. He is quick, can move his feet well, and he can pass and shoot. He has the whole package.

Michigan should have three (3) starters returning, which includes their 2nd best point producer from 2017-2018, Zavier Simpson.

Look for Michigan to push deep into the NCAA Tournament in 2019.

2017-2018 Record: 33-8 (13-5) NCAA Championship Game
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 14+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Exit or greater

4. Indiana Basketball

Coach: Archie Miller

Off Roster:
Graduated: Collin Hartman, Robert Johnson, Freddie McSwain Jr., and Josh Newkirk

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Juwan Morgan (PF), De'Ron Davis (PF), Justin Smith (SF), Zach McRoberts (SG), Devonte Green (SG), Aljami Durham (SG), and Race Thompson (PF, RS)
Key Freshmen added: Robert Phinisee (PG), Romeo Langford (PG), Jake Forrester (PF), Damezi Anderson (SF), and Jerome Hunter (SF)

Romeo Langford is a freak of nature. He’s fast, strong, and athletic. He has the ability to create his own shot off the dribble. He’s definitely going to go pro at the end of the 2018-2019 season. He will join Indiana’s top two (2) scorers from the 2017-2018 season, Juwan Morgan and De'Ron Davis . Morgan averaged 16.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.5 per game last season. Davis averaged 9.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game last season.

Expect Indiana to grow in all categories next season.

2017-2018 Record: 16-15 (9-9) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 13+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament 2nd round exit or greater

5. Illinois Basketball

Coach: Brad Underwood

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Leron Black
Transferred: Michael Finke (Grand Canyon ), Te'Jon Lucas (Milwaukee), and Mark Smith (Missouri)
Graduated: Mark Alstork

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Trent Frazier (PG), Kipper Nichols (SG), Greg Eboigbodin (PF), Da'Monte Williams (PG), Greg Eboigbodin (PF), and Aaron Jordan (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Andres Feliz (PG, Northwest Florida State)
Key Freshmen added: Ayo Dosunmu (PG), Tevian Jones (SF), Giorgi Bezhanishvili (C ) Alan Griffin (SG), and Samba Kane (PF)

Illinois should improve dramatically in all categories in 2018-2019 with the help of their new additions.

Illinois has added, All American JUCO point guard, Andres Feliz, who is very good defensively and can handle the ball better than any other point guard in college basketball. Feliz was ranked 10th nationally in assist per game and 72th in steals per game in his final season at Northwest Florida State community college. He and Illinois top 50 recruit, Ayo Dosunmu, should make one of the best back courts in the nation.

Illinois should be in the hunt for the NCAA tournament in 2019.

2017-2018 Record: 14-18 (4-14) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 12+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament 2nd round exit or greater

6. Ohio State Basketball

Coach: Chris Holtmann

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Keita Bates-Diop
Graduated: Andrew Dakich and Jae'Sean Tate

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Kaleb Wesson (PF), C.J. Jackson (PG), Andre Wesson (SF), Micah Potter (C ), Kyle Young (PF), and Connor Fulton (SG)
Key Transfer(s) added: Keyshawn Woods (SG, Wake Forest)
Key Freshmen added: Luther Muhammad (SG), Jaedon LeDee (SF), Justin Ahrens (SF) and Duane Washington Jr. (PG)

Ohio State should get two (2) starters back in Kaleb Wesson and C.J. Jackson . Both were instrumental in helping Ohio State get to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio State loses Keita Bates-Diop and Jae'Sean Tate to the pros and to gradation. However, this team has picked up some quality recruits to keep the success train rolling. Wake Forest transfer guard, Keyshawn Woods, should help replace part of 32.1 points per game being lost due to Keita Bates-Diop and Jae'Sean Tate not being on the roster. Woods averaged 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game in his final season at Wake Forest. Top 100 recruits Luther Muhammad and Jaedon LeDee should help make up the rest.

2017-2018 Record: 25-9 (15-3) NCAA Tournament 2nd round exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 11+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament 2nd round exit or less

7. Purdue Basketball

Coach: Matt Painter

Off Roster:
Graduated: Vincent Edwards, Isaac Haas, Dakota Mathias, and P.J. Thompson

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Carsen Edwards (PG), Ryan Cline (SG), Matt Haarms (C), Nojel Eastern (SG), Grady Eifert (SF), Aaron Wheeler (SF), and Sasha Stefanovic (SG)
Key Transfer(s) added: Evan Boudreaux (PF)
Key Freshmen added: Trevion Williams (PF), Eric Hunter (SG), and Emmanuel Dowuona (C )

Only one (1) starter, Carsen Edwards, will return from the 2017-2018 season.

Bench players from the previous season, Ryan Cline and Matt Haarms both played in 37 games each. The two of them may be asked to play bigger roles next season to keep Purdue competitive in the Big Ten.

Purdue has also added a very good graduate transfer in Evan Boudreaux. In his final season at Darthmouth, Boudreaux was the top scorer and rebounder on the team. He averaged 17.5 points and 9.55 rebounds per game that season.

Coach Matt Painter should have this team competitive in the Big Ten as always.

2017-2018 Record: 30-7 (15-3) NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 9+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament 2nd round exit or less

8. Nebraska Basketball

Coach: Tim Miles

Off Roster:
Graduated: Anton Gill, Malcolm Laws Evan Taylor and Evan Taylor

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Glynn Watson Jr. (PG), James Palmer Jr. (SG), Isaac Copeland Jr. (PF), Jordy Tshimanga (C ), Isaiah Roby (SF), Tanner Borchardt (PF), Thomas Allen (SG), and Nana Akenten (SF)
Key Freshmen added: Amir Harris (PG), Karrington Davis (SF), and Brady Heiman (C )

Nebraska should get back four (4) starters from the 2017-2018 season, which includes their top three (3) point producers, Glynn Watson Jr., James Palmer Jr., and Isaac Copeland Jr. This team should continue to be great defensively next season. Nebraska held their opponents to an average 68.6 points per game in 2017-2018. Isaiah Roby was the 3rd best shot blocker in the Big Ten, averaging 1.97 blocks per game.

This team is going to need more points from their bench in order for them to make it to the tournament in 2019.

2017-2018 Record: 22-11 (13-5) NIT 1st Round exit
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 9-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NCAA Tournament 1st round exit or less

9. Minnesota Basketball

Coach: Richard Pitino

Off Roster:
Transferred: Jamir Harris (American)
Graduated: Gaston Diedhiou, Davonte Fitzgerald, Bakary Konate, Reggie Lynch, and Nate Mason

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jordan Murphy (SF), Dupree McBrayer (SG), Amir Coffey (SF), Isaiah Washington (PG), Michael Hurt (PF), and Eric Curry (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Brock Stull (SG, Milwaukee)
Key Freshmen added: Daniel Oturu (PF, Ranked 57), Jarvis Thomas-Omersa (PF), and Gabe Kalscheur (SG)

This team would have gone deep into the NCAA tournament last season if it wasn’t for injuries and other outside interferences. Amir Coffey and Eric Curry, who were very important parts to this team, were out all or either the majority of the 2017-2018 season. The suspension of big man Reggie Lynch made things even worse.

This 2018-2019 season should be a better one for Minnesota to the fact that they will have Amir Coffey and Eric Curry back. Coach Pitino looks to strengthen his front court with the addition of freshman recruit Daniel Oturu.

Hopefully, Minnesota improves on defense next season. They were ranked 249th nationally and 13th in the Big Ten in points allowed by the opponent.

2017-2018 Record: 15-17 (4-14) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 9+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NIT Appearance or greater

10. Iowa Basketball

Coach: Fran McCaffery

Off Roster:
Transferred: Brady Ellingson (Drake)
Graduated: Charlie Rose and Dom Uhl

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jordan Bohannon (PG), Tyler Cook (PF), Luka Garza (C ), Isaiah Moss (SG), Nicholas Baer (SF), Jack Nunge (PF), Maishe Dailey (SG), Ryan Kriener (C ), and Cordell Pemsl (SF)
Key Freshmen added: Joe Wieskamp (SG) and C.J. Fredrick

Iowa has one of the best point guards in the country in Jordan Bohannon. This team has the ability to put a lot of points on the boards.

Scoring will only improve with the addition of their top 100 freshman recruit, Joe Wieskamp. He’s a shooting guard who is able to create his own shot.

However, to compete for the top of the Big Ten, Iowa is going to have to improve greatly on defense. Iowa had the worst defense in the Big Ten last season. It’s bad when you have one of the best offenses in the country but yet your opponent scores just as many points as you do. Iowa allowed their opponents to score, on average, 78.7 points per game last season. That’s bad!

2017-2018 Record: 14-19 (4-14) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 8-
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NIT Appearance or greater

11. Wisconsin Basketball

Coach: Greg Gard

Off Roster:
Transferred: Andy Van Vliet (William & Mary)
Graduated: Aaron Moesch

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Brad Davison (PG), Ethan Happ (PF), Brevin Pritzl (SG), Khalil Iverson (SF), Aleem Ford (SF), Charlie Thomas IV (PF), D'Mitrik Trice (PG), Nate Reuvers (PF), Alex Illikainen (PF), Kobe King (SG), and T.J. Schlundt (SG)
Key Freshmen added: Tai Strickland (PG) and Taylor Currie (PF)

Wisconsin has a lot of players returning, but they are going to need to have a healthy D'Mitrik Trice and Kobe King to have a chance at the Conference regular season and conference tournament championships. Trice and King only played in ten (10) games each. Trice averaged 9.4 points, 2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game prior to suffering from a foot injury. King averaged 5.2 points and 1.4 rebounds before injuring his knee.

Wisconsin was ranked the 56th best defensive team in the nation last season, holding their opponents to only 66 points per game. However, this team only put up, on average, 66.8 points per game. Wisconsin was ranked 316th in offensive scoring, 341st in rebounds per game and 263rd in assists per game last season. That’s bad!

2017-2018 Record: 15-18 (7-11) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 7+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NIT Appearance or Less

12. Northwestern Basketball

Coach: Chris Collins

Off Roster:
Transferred: Isiah Brown (Grand Canyon)
Graduated: Scottie Lindsey, Bryant McIntosh, and Gavin Skelly

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Vic Law (SF), Dererk Pardon (C ), Anthony Gaines (SG), Aaron Falzon (PF) Barret Benson (C ), and Jordan Ash (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Ryan Taylor (SG, Evansville) and A.J. Turner (SF, Boston College)
Key Freshmen added: Miller Kopp (SG), Pete Nance (PF) and Ryan Young (PF)

Northwestern’s great defense was neutralized by bad offense last season. The teams 68.8 scoring average wasn’t enough to pull away from good teams. However, Northwestern has added a high scoring gradate transfer, Ryan Taylor, to solve that problem. Taylor averaged 21.3 points per game in his final season at Evansville. Taylor will probably join Vic Law and Dererk Pardon in the starting lineup.

Northwestern will also start the season with two (2) top 100 freshmen, Miller Kopp and Pete Nance, who have the ability to put up a lot of points.

The lack of a true point guard may be able to be a problem for Northwestern next season. It will be interesting to see how Coach Collins addresses this problem.

2017-2018 Record: 15-17 (6-12) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 5+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NIT Appearance or Less

13. Penn State Basketball

Coach: Pat Chambers

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Tony Carr
Transferred: Nazeer Bostick ( St. Peter's)
Graduated: Shep Garner and Julian Moore

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Lamar Stevens (SF), Mike Watkins (C ), Josh Reaves (SG), Jamari Wheeler (PG), John Harrar (PF), Satchel Pierce (C ), Deivis Zemgulis (SF), and Trent Buttrick (PF)
Key Freshmen added: Daniil Kasatkin, Rasir Bolton (PG) and Myreon Jones

Penn State just recently won the 2018 NIT Championship. The great new s is that several key players from that successful team are returning, which includes two (2) out of three (3) of top scorers, Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins.

The bad news is that Tony Carr and Shep Garner will be missing from the roster. Carr turned pro at the end of the season and Garner has graduated. That’s a total of 31 points per game that has to be replaced.

Who does Penn State have on the roster to replace what Car and Garner had provided the team?

2017-2018 Record: 26-13 (9-9) NIT Champions
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 4+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: NIT Appearance or greater

14. Rutgers Basketball

Coach: Steve Pikiell

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned Pro: Corey Sanders and Souf Mensah
Graduated: Deshawn Freeman, Mike Williams, Shaquille Doorson, Jake Dadika, and Candido Sa

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Geo Baker (PG), Issa Thiam (SF), Mamadou Doucoure (C ), Shaquille Doorson (C ), and Eugene Omoruyi (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Peter Kiss (SG, Quinnipiac) and Shazville Carter (C, Eastern Florida State College)
Key Freshmen added: Ron Harper Jr. (SG), Montez Mathis (SG), and Caleb McConnell (PG)

Like many teams in the Big Ten, Rutgers was a very good defensive team. But what separated each team in the Big Ten was offense. Rutgers had the worst offense in the Big Ten last season.

With the additions of graduate transfer Peter Kiss, and freshmen recruits, Ron Harper Jr., and Montez Mathis, scoring should improve at Rutgers.

The Question is, will it enough to compete for the top of the Big Ten.

2017-2018 Record: 15-19 (3-15) No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019: 4+
Projected Post Season Finish 2018-2019: No Appearance

*This prediction is the sole view of d1coachcorner.com and should be seen as for entertainment purposes only. As for stats, all stats were taken from NCAA statistics via ncaa.com and from the National Junior College Athletic Association statistic via NJCAA.com.


 

Jack Williams
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Big Ten 2018-2019 Very Early College Basketball Predictions

(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Jack Williams is the Owner and Operator of D1Coachcorner.com, a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and a member of the USBWA. Twitter: @d1coachcorner

Updated July 27, 2018 (Kevin Huerter is no longer on Maryland's Roster)
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