About D1CoachCorner FacebookTwitterForumAdvertisement
©2014 Rock House Publishing and Web Designs- All Rights Reserved.

The D1CoachCorner.com website is property of Rock House Publishing and Web Designs Inc. D1CoachCorner.com is for news and educational purposes only. D1CoachCorner.com is not affiliated in any way with any NCAA sanctioned sports programs. All University and College logos are properties of their perspective institutions and are used for identification purposes only. The Coach Rankings are the sole views of D1Coach Corner.com and is used strictly for research, educational and entertainment purposes only.

Big Ten Basketball Very Early 2019-20 Predictions – Episode 29

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

By: Jack Williams

The Big Ten was an eight (8) bid conference in 2019, the most of all conferences. Three went deep into the tournament. Michigan State went to the Final Four. Purdue went to the Elite Eight and Michigan went to the Sweet Sixteen.
For some reason, it doesn’t seem as if we are going to get 8 bids out of the Big Ten in 2020. The conference doesn’t seem as strong as it did last year. Strangely enough, there was no movement in recruiting for the 2019-2020 season for Wisconsin. Is it because Coach Greg Gard wants to gamble big on the 2020-21 season?
Michigan has a new coach and a so-so roster. If we were to compare the Big Ten to a spades card game we could say that there are four strong cards and four possibilities. In which two (2) of them being weak possibilities.
With that said, here is how we rank the Big Ten for 2019-20:

1. Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State will pick back up where they left off. This Final Four team will get back two (2) of their star players in Joshua Langford and Cassius Winston. Langford went down with an ankle sprang in the final pre-conference game of the season against Northern Illinois. Before going down, Lanford averaged 15 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.  Both Nick Ward and Kenny Goins have departed. Therefore, Michigan State will look for Kyle Ahrens and Xavier Tillman to play bigger roles on the team. Michigan State should also look for All-American freshmen Rocket Watts and Mali Hall to help make another run to the Final Four.

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Cassius Winston PG

SG

Joshua Langford SG

SF

Aaron Henry SF

SF

Kyle Ahrens SF

PF

Xavier Tillman PF

2. Maryland Terrapins

D1coachcorner.com picked Maryland to win the Big Ten last season but they came in 5th place and only finished in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. But we must go with Maryland once again because, on paper, this is one of the strongest rosters in the Big Ten. The only key person who will be missing from this roster is Bruno Fernando - and his replacement Makhi Mitchell has a very similar game and physic as he did. Maryland will bring back four (4) out of five (5) starters from the 2018-2019 season. This team is going to need to prove that they can put up some points, however.  Maryland was ranked 7th in the Big Ten and 204th in the nation in scoring offense. If this team could find a way to put more points on the boards, they could win the Big Ten.

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Anthony Cowan Jr. PG

SG

Eric Ayala SG

PF

Jalen Smith PF

SG

Darryl Morsell SG

PF

Makhi Mitchell PF #56

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State is bringing in the best recruiting class in the Big Ten for the 2019-20 season. On top of that, Ohio State is returning three (3) out of five (5) starters from the 2018-19 season, which includes their top scorer Kaleb Wesson. The top 50 freshman in the nation, D.J. Carton, is not a tall point guard but he's quick and could score at will. He is also a very good passer. He'll be joined by two (2) other top 50 freshmen Alonzo Gaffney and E.J. Liddell. Big man Gaffney is skinny but plays likes a big man. He'll post you up and will explode to the rim. E.J. Liddell is also a big man who could body his way to the rim. Expect Ohio State to improve in all categories. This Ohio State team is going to be very competitive in 2019-20.

Projected Starting 5:

PG

D.J. Carton PG #32

SG

Luther Muhammad SG

SF

Andre Wesson SF

PF

Kaleb Wesson PF

PF

Kyle Young PF

4. Purdue Boilermakers

With the losses of Ryan Cline and Carsen Edwards, Aaron Wheeler and Trevion Williams will have to step up to play bigger roles for this Purdue team. Neither of them started last season but were instrumental in pushing Purdue to the top of the Big ten. Purdue also had the luxury of adding graduate transfer Jahaad Proctor from High Point. In his final season at High Point Proctor averaged 19.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Expect Purdue to remain very competitive in the Big Ten.

Projected Starting 5:

SG

Jahaad Proctor SG (High Point)

SG

Nojel Eastern SG

SF

Aaron Wheeler SF

PF

Trevion Williams PF

C

Matt Haarms C

5. Illinois Fighting Illini

Whenever a point guard is the 2nd best rebounder on the team there is a major problem in the front court. Illinois was one of the worst rebounding teams in the nation and the absolute worst in the Big Ten.  This team had four (4) guards in the starting lineup last season, which includes three (3) point guards. For this reason, defense also suffered. Thankfully, Illinois will be adding a top 50 big man Kofi Cockburn to roster. He's big, strong and is a rim protector.

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Ayo Dosunmu PG

PG

Trent Frazier PG

PG

Da'Monte Williams PG

PF

Giorgi Bezhanishvili PF

PF

Kofi Cockburn PF #35

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota will be heavily dependent on transfers to get to the top of the Big Ten this coming season. Pitts transfer Marcu Carr is a pretty good floor general who can score. But it gets better with Drexel’s transfer, Alihan Demir, who has an all-around game. He can score, rebound, and handle the ball. He averaged 14.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in his final season at Drexel. Vanderbilt’s transfer Payton Willis will be looking to prove himself at Minnesota. They'll be joining Minnesota's top scorers Gabe Kalscheur and Daniel Oturu. This Minnesota team should improve from the 2017-18 season and should return to the NCAA Tournament. 

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Marcus Carr PG (Pitts)

SG

Gabe Kalscheur SG

SG

Payton Willis SG (Vanderbilt)

PF

Alihan Demir PF (Drexel)

PF

Daniel Oturu PF

7. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska is clearly a team where Coach Fred Hoiberg has built from scratch. This team has all new faces, which includes freshmen, undergrad, graduate, and JUCO transfers. However, Coach Hoiberg has the right type of transfers to fit his system. Added is grad transfer from FGCU, Haanif Cheatham and Seattle grad transfer Matej Kavas. Both of players can put up double digits in scoring and are pretty good at crashing the boards. Also added is Robert Morris’ transfer Dachon Burke Jr., who was the star of the team prior to leaving. He averaged 17.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game in his final season there. Nebraska will also have two (2) of the top JUCO recruit in the nation in Cameron Mack and Jervay Green. Both are all around players who could defend. Expect this team to surprise a lot of people.

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Cameron Mack PG (Salt Lake)

SG

Haanif Cheatham SG (FGCU)

SG

Dachon Burke Jr. SG (Robert Morris)

SF

Matej Kavas SF (Seattle)

PF

Kevin Cross PF

8. Penn State Nittany Lions

This is an excellent rebounding team with a lot of size. Expect rebounding and 2nd chance points to increase greatly in 2019-20. On top of that, Penn State has four (4) frequent starters returning from the 2018-19 season. However, this was not a team that could put up a lot of points and there hasn't been enough improvement recruiting wise to address this problem. There seems to be only one (1) player on this team who can put up double-digits points on a consistent basis.

Projected Starting 5:


PG

Jamari Wheeler PG

SG

Curtis Jones SG

SF

Myles Dread SF

SF

Lamar Stevens SF

PF

John Harrar PF

9. Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa may have to prepare for a season without Jordan Bohannon, who will more than likely take a redshirt for the season, according to Hawkeycentral.com. If so, race to the top of the Big ten for this team may not be as promising. Iowa will also look forward to the return of redshirt Power Forward Jack Nunge, who took a redshirt to better his game. We will get to see if it paid off this coming season. Forward Cordell Pemsl should also return after taking a medical redshirt in 2017-2018. The thing that still concerns me is depth at the point guard position. Without Bohannon there is not a player on this team who has averaged more than 2 assists per game on average. Expect ball movement to suffer a little. Without Tyler Cook and Jordan Bohannon can this team score enough points to make up for its lack of defense?  To keep scoring as high as it was in 2017-2018 coach Fran McCaffery is going to have to give his son Patrick McCaffery, a top 100 shooting guard, the green light, along with Valop's grad transfer Bakari Evelyn.


Projected Starting 5:

PG

Bakari Evelyn PG (Valpo)

SG

Joe Wieskamp SG

SG

Patrick McCaffery SG #73

PF

Jack Nunge PF

C

Luka Garza C

10. Wisconsin Badgers

Don't understand what's going on with this team this year. Months have passed without this team securing a single commitment from the 2019 class. Wisconsin still has five scholarships to fill as of June 16, 2019. However, when I look at this roster every year around this time, I manage to rank the team somewhere towards the center of the conference and they always seem to exceed expectations. And when I take a careful look at what coach Gard is doing it seems as if he's preparing to make a big impact on the 2020-21 season. It seems to me that he's sacrificing the 2019-20 season to win big the following season. Just my opinion. Coach Gard is a very good coach and he has proven it time and time. But his recruiting is kind of strange and questionable. Wisconsin will be missing several key pieces from the 2018-2019 season to start the 2019-20 season. Starters Ethan Happ and Khalil Iverson are gone. However, 3 out the five starters are returning from the 2018-19 season, which includes Brad Davison, D'Mitrik Trice, and Nate Reuvers PF. Wisconsin should look for Brevin Pritzl, and Aleem Ford to play bigger roles next season.

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Brad Davison PG

PG

D'Mitrik Trice PG

SG

Brevin Pritzl SG

SF

Aleem Ford SF

PF

Nate Reuvers PF

 

11. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Expect Rebounding and defense to remain solid with this team. Rutgers has brought in Stony Brook’s transfer Akwasi Yeboah to replace the point left by Eugene Omoruyi who transferred to Oregon. Other than that. Nothing much changes with this team. If this team could find a way to put more points on the boards, they could sit somewhere in the middle of the Conference.

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Geo Baker PG

SG

Montez Mathis SG

SF

Akwasi Yeboah SF (Stony Brook)

PF

Shaq Carter PF

PF

Issa Thiam PF

12. Indiana Hoosiers

This team looked confusing at times last season. No identity. The only reason this team stayed competitive is because of the play of Romeo Lanford. But now he's gone and there is not another Romeo Lanford coming in. However, they do have Trayce Jackson-Davis coming in. He is a top 50 freshman who can shoot and play under the rim. The question is will he be enough to improve scoring for this team?

Project Starting 5:

PG

Rob Phinisee PG

SG

Aljami Durham SG

SF

Justin Smith SF

PF

Trayce Jackson-Davis  PF #35

C

Joey Brunk C (Bultler)

13. Michigan Wolverines

Michigan made a living for many years off defense under Coach John Beilein. Michigan was the 2nd best defensive team in the nation last season and the 8th best in the nation the year before that. Defense was Michigan's identity under coach Beilein. But now he's gone, and he's being replaced by a good to great NBA basketball player who has never coached on the division 1 college basketball level. What people don't know is that without defense these Michigan teams in the past would have just been average because they were not good offensively. Michigan ranked 1oth in the Big ten and 259th in the nation in scoring offense last season. What will this Michigan team look like under Coach Howard?

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Zavier Simpson PG

PG

Eli Brooks PG

SG

Cole Bajema SG #94

SF

Isaiah Livers SF

C

Jon Teske C

14. Northwestern Wildcats

This team seems to be in rebuild mode. They've lost a lot. The problem with Northwestern last season was scoring. Northwestern ranked 316th in the nation and dead last in the Big Ten in scoring last season. Scoring should improve slightly with the additions of top 100 freshman Robbie Beran and graduate transfer Patrick Spencer. However, Patrick Spencer might be a little of a gamble because he didn't play basketball in college. He was a lacrosse star who was once a high school basketball star. It may be a challenge getting to the top for this team.

Projected Starting 5:

PG

Ryan Greer PG

SG

Patrick Spencer SG (Loyola MD)

SF

A.J. Turner SF

SF

Miller Kopp SF

PF

Robbie Beran PF #108

College Basketball 2019-2020 Predictions

American Athletic Conference (AAC) | Athletic Coast Conference (ACC) | Big East Conference | Big Ten Conference

Big 12 Conference | Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) | Pac 12 | South Eastern Conference (SEC) | Sun Belt

Mountain West Conference (MWC) | West Coast Conference (WCC) | More...