Guess what fuckers? I may be back. I may also not be back. I am unsure. However since I can't quite get in the mood to care about college basketball this year, maybe writing up some basic stuff will get me motivated again. Who knows. And what better way than to write a Big Ten Preview, using a magazine as my sole source of information? This should be terrible.
1. INDIANA HOOSIERS. Don't worry, there's no doubt Tom Crean will screw everything else and the Hoosiers will underachieve because that's just what he does, but I like the team in general. They have a super nice little big man/guard combo in James Blackmon and Thomas Bryant, and any time you have two players on the same team that make me think how sweet that team would be on NBA Jam you know I'm going to overrate them. Plus I think I read somewhere that this Anunoby guy is suppose to like, make a leap or something. If Crean didn't screw him all up already.
2. WISCONSIN BADGERS. Ugh. Gross. The entire team is back from last year to be boring and white, but they weren't terrible so I suppose they're probably the favorite to win the conference. At least Greg Gard doesn't seem nearly as loathsome as Bo Ryan was. Still pretty loathsome though. Just like that traitor Illlikainenen. I confess that I do like watching Nigel Hayes though. I actually kind of hope he finally has a three point shot figured out, because that would be fun to watch. I feel icky. 80% of this team is voting for Trump.
3. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES. I actually already put down a long shot future wager on them to win the NCAA title at like 66-1, so I gotta stick with it. Yeah, it's probably a dumb bet but that's why it's a longshot. But here's the thing I like. Remember year after year after year, Thad Matta somehow manages to pull in one of the best classes in the country. Like every year. And the really good guys like D'Angelo Russell and DeShaun Thomas eventually leave early for the draft. But all those other guys stick around, and now they're sophomores and juniors and seniors. There's a whole group of pretty good players here. If one (or more!) can step up a bit and become an actually like, super good player this could end up a really good team. Or I'm a big fat idiot.
4. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS. Last year they had three big fat tall guys and things went alright. This year they have two big fat tall guys and that might even work out better since Caleb Swanigen and Isaac Haas (too many As!!) can ball. But they still don't have a backcourt and I don't think they have since Lewis Jackson, who couldn't shoot. But they have Spike Albrecht you say? I still don't get why this is/was a big deal because, spoiler alert, Albrecht sucks. He had one good half against Louisville on national tv and suddenly he's good? He's terrible. A benchwarmer who got hot, went back to warming benches, and then transferred since his coach knew he sucked. Now he's going to suck for a new team. What a huge story!
5. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS. This is a weird team for Izzo. He has a killer recruiting class and he's going to need it since there's nothing else here. He has Tum Tum Nairn, who wouldn't shoot the ball if you paid him, and Eron Harris, who wouldn't stop shooting if you cut his arms off, and then like, a bunch of supposedly good freshman. I know putting them fifth is just me falling for the hype of POTENTIAL and UPSIDE, but every other team in this league freaking sucks. I'm serious. Every team after this one is just terrible.
6. MARYLAND TERRAPINS. You know who doesn't suck though? Melo Trimble. He's going to be on a bad team, but he's good enough to pull them up this high. I expect him to shoot approximately one zillion times this year. That is all I can write about Maryland because nobody knows anything else about any of these guys and if they say they do they're lying.
7. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI. Malcolm Hill also doesn't suck, and also will be in the player of the year hunt. The difference between he and Trimble is that Hill has a few players back that I'm familiar with. So why are they below Maryland? Because I'm tremendously inconsistent. Looking at this roster Tracy Abrams is probably already hurt again, I liked this Mike Thorne guy before he got hurt, and Maverick Morgan has always been a player who existed. They have Leron Black too, who I remember was supposed to be a stud but obviously that hasn't worked out too well at this point, but like Nickelback says "It's never too late."
8. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES. They could be higher if they managed to not get anybody hurt, which seems unlikely. Caris LeVert basically missed his last two seasons here, and Gary Walton was hurt for what seemed like the entire year two seasons ago and I know this because I had him on my fantasy team. Zak Irvin hasn't missed as much time as those guys, but he's been absolutely atrocious and I remember reading it had to do with some injury. Look, I'm not saying Jon Beilein is intentionally hurting his players, but I'm not NOT saying it either.
9. MINNESOTA GOPHERS. This is far more optimistic than most predictions out there, but it's my blog so I can do whatever I want. Once you get down here most of these teams are terrible. Like really terrible, so it wouldn't be hard for one of them to jump up and get as high as 8 or 9 and why not the Gopehrs? They have more experience coming back then the majority of the teams below them, a better recruiting class, and a couple supposedly impact transfers. So there's upside. I think a lot of this season depends on Pitino's coaching. The first year he came here he did a lot of interesting things, particularly on offense, that were refreshing after watching Tubby's teams run nothing but flex over and over again. Then, for some reason, that died and I couldn't ascertain if they were running any set play at all on most of the possessions. That works when you have a loaded, athletic, smart team. Even though I like most of this team, they certainly aren't that. So let's run some plays! Have some fun! Finish ninth!
10. NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS. I have no doubt one year soon Northwestern will finally break through and make the NCAA Tournament, but I'll believe when I see it. Every time they get close they blow it. And since they wear purple might as well make the ole Vikings comparison here. But there's no doubt they've risen above perennial bottom feeder status. The big recruiting splash guy Vic Law looked good his freshman year before missing last year with an injury and I assume he's back. They probably have a big doofy foreign big guy I can make fun of/fall in love with, and Bryant McIntosh is somehow a really, really good player. He's so punchable he probably should have gone to Duke, but he's really good.
11. IOWA HAWKEYES. If you were a reader of this blog, you may remember at once point I was going to do a thing where I kept track of the best chuckers in the country. That, and everything really, fell by the wayside, but I've always remember Peter Jok because he popped up on my list because he had a pretty insane usage rate for a bench player while not being a very good shooter. Well guess what? Everyone is gone from Iowa except for him. Now, last year he kept a pretty high shot rate but was actually an excellent shooter, but with nobody else out there to draw defensive attention I'm predicting he goes back to crappy. Crappy, but high volume. Buckle up.
12. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS. The only thing I know about Penn State this year is that their best player is Shep Garner, and that makes me smile because his name is Shep. You know who else's name was Shep? The weirdo creepy security guard from Above the Rim who played basketball against air with no ball because he once accidentally killed his best friend. But how can you go against someone who can do this?
You can't! And he's in work clothes! Man, Penn State should really go get this guy.
13. RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS. Rutgers was bad last year. Like really, really bad. Except of course when they spanked the Gophers, which was a really fun game to watch. They have a large chunk of the team back, which is one hand is good because in theory players get better from year to year, but on the other hand is bad because they were really, really bad last season. At least they're interesting. Interesting in that they are wildly inefficient and technically horrible and making baskets, but at the same time play at a really fast pace and put up a whole bunch of shots, while also playing zero defense and if they do manage to make the opponent miss they very rarely get the rebound! In other words, it's fun to watch other teams light them up. Not the Gophers, of course, but other teams.
14. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS. Thank god Petteway and Shields are gone and the Huskers can go back to sucking like they're supposed to. We didn't invite Nebraska to the Big Ten to be mildly competitive at basketball, we invited them to be good at football and fight to not be in last place in basketball every year. I was getting pretty sick of them not being completely dreadful and going after many of the same recruits the Gophers were. Now the natural order of things can be restored. Also pretty sick of Tim Miles at this point.
Well there you have it. My completely accurate and well researched predictions for the big ten this season. As far as this blog, I have no idea how often I'll be posting. Maybe after most games. Maybe never again. NOBODY KNOWS!