Thursday, October 25, 2012

Preseason All-Big Ten Teams and Predictions

Today, the Preseason All-Big Ten teams and preseason rankings for the Big Ten were released.  None of the selections were too surprising, but I wanted to take this chance to make my own selections and predictions.  Typically, the preseason polls are relatively accurate, but they often have major errors and for this reason, I want to create my own Preseason All-Big Ten teams.  Of course, mine may be just as inaccurate as the teams the media's came up with this year, but I still selected my own teams just in case.

Before I can create my own lists, we should probably take a look at the lists that were selected by the media.  Overall, I think fans will have to generally agree with their assumptions, but I think there are some major problems with their list.  For instance, I have predicted that Ohio State will have a significant dropoff this season, but the media decided to select two players from the Buckeyes, which seems absolutely insane to me.  They have some quality players, but I really think that's going out on a limb.  Regardless, let's take a look at their list and predictions:

Media Preseason All-Big Ten:
  • PF - Cody Zeller (Indiana)
  • PG - Trey Burke (Michigan)
  • PG - Aaron Craft (OSU)
  • PF - Deshaun Thomas (OSU)
  • PG - Tim Frazier (PSU)

Of course, I agree with some of the selections, but I have some problems with the rankings.  Zeller, Burke, and Thomas probably all deserve spots, but if a team gets two selections to the All-Big Ten team, they have to be extremely good.  I don't believe OSU will be that type of team and I don't think there will be enough production to warrant two players on the list while also completely avoiding teams like MSU and Wisconsin that are shaping up to have great squads.

On a similar note, the media selected Indiana to finish first in the Big Ten and they selected Cody Zeller to be Player of the Year in the Big Ten.  Neither of these selections are very surprising and frankly, they are pretty well warranted.  I think Burke has a shot at Player of the Year, but of course, preseason rankings are all about hype and predictions, and Indiana has a whole lot of both right now.

This brings us to my preseason All-Big Ten predictions.  Overall, mine will look pretty similar to the media's list, but I do have some key differences.  Of course, I'm not as high on OSU as the media and I do think that teams like MSU will be able to get a player on the list.  I made my most realistic prediction, but if MSU finishes where I have predicted, 3rd in the Big Ten, they should be able to place at least a player on the list. So with no further wait, here are my predictions for the All-Big Ten team, the All-Big Ten Freshman team, and the Big Ten Player of the Year.

All-Big Ten First Team Predictions
  • PG - Trey Burke (Michigan)
  • SG - Branden Dawson (MSU)
  • PF - Cody Zeller (Indiana)
  • PF - Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota)
  • PF - Deshaun Thomas (OSU)

All-Big Ten Freshmen Team Predictions
  • PG - Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell (Indiana)
  • SG - Gary Harris (MSU)
  • SF - Sam Dekker (Wisconsin)
  • SF - Glenn Robinson III (Michigan)
  • C - Adam Woodbury (Iowa)

Big Ten Player of the Year Prediction
  • PF - Cody Zeller (Indiana)

To me, I believe that Indiana and Michigan will be the top two teams in the Big Ten just like the media has selected, but I think there will be several other good teams that can make a run as well.  First, MSU deserves a player on the list and the brightest riser last year was Branden Dawson.  Of course, if all goes right, Gary Harris could make a campaign for this list, but I think Dawson has the best chance out of any of the players.  The rest of the roster is solid, but no single player is that great in my opinion.  I also think Trevor Mbakwe is going to have a stellar year as part of a solid team.  Plus, he has the fact that not a ton of other guys on the roster will be massive contributors, which means that they will lean on him for significant segments of time and his production will likely go up.

I also took the liberty of predicting the All-Big Ten Freshmen team.  With the way college basketball is developing, I wouldn't be surprised if one of these five players finds a way to land pretty high on the All-Big Ten teams, but for now, I don't have any of them slotted as 1st team All-Big Ten.  Breaking down the list, I think Yogi Ferrell, Gary Harris, and GR3 will all make the team largely because of the great situations they enter.  Each of those players will be on a very good team and I think they will be put into some very good situations.  Of course, I think they're all tremendously gifted and will display it this year, but I think the advantage of entering into such a good situation will be a massive benefit towards making this list.

The final two on the list will surprise some people.  I decided to overlook Mitch McGary (yes, I know it's sad) and put Adam Woodbury on the team.  Not only should he receive mega minutes this year for Iowa, but he is a great athlete and is definitely college ready.  Expect his impact to be bigger than McGary's for reasons I talked about in my Bigs preview post.  They're going to have to rely on him a lot more to compete with other teams than Michigan will have to rely on McGary.  As far as Dekker goes, he hasn't received as much attention as some other incoming freshmen, but he was rated as a 5* recruit and is going to be one of very few true freshmen that get to play under Bo Ryan.  If that isn't a sign, I'm not sure what constitutes one.

Finally, I decided to give into the hype and put Zeller as the Player of the Year.  I do think Burke can give him a run for his money, just like he did last year for Freshman of the Year, but I think the endless hype surrounding Zeller and Indiana will be too much to overcome.  What's amazing is the absolute depth of the Big Ten this year.  I had trouble narrowing down some of these lists, which is a very good sign for the coming season.

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