Big Ten basketball, from top to bottom

  • Northwestern head coach Chris Collins listens to a question at a press conference during Big Ten NCAA college basketball media day Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Rosemont, Ill.

    Northwestern head coach Chris Collins listens to a question at a press conference during Big Ten NCAA college basketball media day Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Rosemont, Ill.


Footballs are still flying around the Big Ten, but Thursday's chill in air was a good reminder that it's almost time for basketball season.

Right on cue, head coaches and players from all 14 schools descended on the Hyatt Regency O'Hare for Big Ten media day.

Here is a quick look at every team in the conference, listed in projected order of finish:

1. Michigan State

Last year's record: 30-5 (16-2 in Big Ten)

Top players: Nick Ward (12.4 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game), Cassius Winston (12.6 ppg).

Fast fact: The Spartans still look like the team to beat despite losing Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., who both were NBA first-round draft picks.

Coach Tom Izzo: "We did something last year that I'm not sure has ever been done in the league, leading the nation in defense, rebounding, blocked shots. Yet it wasn't quite good enough. We're out to make amends on that."

2. Michigan

Last year's record: 33-8, 13-5

Top players: Charles Matthews (13 ppg), Zavier Simpson (7.3 ppg).

Fast fact: The Wolverines will try to replace three of their top four scorers after losing to Villanova in last year's NCAA title game.

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Coach John Beilein: "I love embracing change. I think we have a chance to be a good defensive team again, but I think offensively we're a work in progress."

3. Indiana

Last year's record: 16-15, 9-9

Top players: Juwan Morgan (16.5 ppg), Romeo Langford (freshman)

Fast fact: Watch out for center De'Ron Davis, who is back with the Hoosiers after missing the second half of last season with a torn Achilles.

Coach Archie Miller: "There's a lot of hype around (Langford). He's always had a lot of eyes on him. He's always been a calm type of guy under pressure."

4. Nebraska

Last year's record: 22-11, 13-5

Top players: James Palmer Jr. (17.2 ppg), Isaac Copeland Jr. (12.9 ppg)

Fast fact: The Cornhuskers should have plenty of motivation after tying for fourth place in the Big Ten last year and failing to get an NCAA Tournament bid.


Coach Tim Miles: "We have four guys I think anybody in the league would take. That's not always been the case."

5. Wisconsin

Last year's record: 15-18, 7-11

Top players: Ethan Happ (17.9 ppg, 8 rpg), Brad Davison (12.1 ppg)

Fast fact: The Badgers missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years last season. They return all five starters.

Coach Greg Gard: "This group has done a terrific job of kind of harnessing what we went through last year, learning from it."

6. Maryland

Last year's record: 19-13, 8-10

Top players: Bruno Fernando (10.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Anthony Cowan (15.8 ppg)

Fast fact: Freshman big man Jalen Smith is one of the top incoming recruits in the country.


Coach Mark Turgeon: "I like my team. We're young, but my young guys are good."

7. Purdue

Last year's record: 30-7, 15-3

Top players: Carsen Edwards (18.5 ppg); Evan Boudreaux (17.5 ppg, Dartmouth transfer)

Fast fact: Edwards is one of the top players in the Big Ten, but the Boilermakers lost four starters off last year's team.

Coach Matt Painter: "(Edwards) is a very dynamic player. He's unique from a physical standpoint. He's kind of got the body and the explosiveness like a Saquon Barkley."

8. Ohio State

Last year's record: 25-9, 15-3

Top players: C.J. Jackson (12.6 ppg), Kaleb Wesson (10.2 ppg)

Fast fact: The Buckeyes should be good again, but they'll miss Keita Bates-Diop.

Coach Chris Holtmann: "I think we've got some questions that need to be answered. We have a relatively new team with six new players."

9. Minnesota

Last year's record: 15-17, 4-14

Top players: Jordan Murphy (16.8 ppg, 11.3 rpg), Amir Coffey (14 ppg)

Fast fact: The Gophers can go far if Isaiah Washington shows growth at point guard.

Coach Richard Pitino: "I think at the end of the day when you're building a program, to get stability, it takes some time."

10. Penn State

Last year's record: 26-13, 9-9

Top players: Lamar Stevens (15.5 ppg), Mike Watkins (12.1 ppg)

Fast fact: The Nittany Lions are looking to build off last season, when they won the NIT championship.

Coach Patrick Chambers: "The next step in our climb is to get to that next (NCAA) tournament."

11. Iowa

Last year's record: 14-19, 4-14

Top players: Tyler Cook (15.3 ppg), Jordan Bohannon (13.5 ppg)

Fast fact: The Hawkeyes can score, but they were one of the worst defensive teams in the nation last season.

Coach Fran McCaffery: "My staff did a great job this summer. I think you'll see a marked improvement."

12. Northwestern

Last year's record: 15-17, 6-12

Top players: Vic Law (12 ppg), Derek Pardon (11.3 ppg)

Fast fact: The Wildcats made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history in 2016-17 before falling off last season.

Coach Chris Collins: "We're still in the process of figuring out how our pieces fit, who we're going to be as a team."

13. Illinois

Last year's record: 14-18, 4-14

Top players: Trent Frazier (12.5 ppg), Aaron Jordan (7.9 ppg)

Fast fact: The Illini should get a needed boost from freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu, a decorated recruit from Morgan Park High School.

Coach Brad Underwood: "I think we're developing an identity. I think that's something that we strived very, very hard for. I'm really excited."

14. Rutgers

Last year's record: 15-19, 3-15

Top player: Geo Baker (10.8 ppg)

Fast fact: The Scarlet Knights haven't had a winning record since 2005-06, and they haven't been to the NCAA tourney since 1991.

Coach Steve Pikiell: "I'm excited about tackling the obstacles this season brings."

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