POD: Some Preseason Basketball Mags are Out

The Preseason Basketball Magazine magazines are out, and in the Big 10, the Northwestern Wildcats are picked to finish no better than 10th in a very balanced Big 10. One of our posters took the opportunity to give us his look at the Cats and the Big 10...

The Big Ten seems far more balanced and competitive than in recent years.
A case can be made for the NCAA Tournament prospects of every team except Penn State (and many would have said the same of Minnesota last year).

Since a pretty strong case can be made for every team but PSU, the predictions about NU are less based on a true appraisal of the Cats' prospects than on a reflexive cellar dwelling expectation (with a sound historical basis until recently) that downplays the Cats' prospects relative to other potentially improving teams.

Except for MSU and PSU, it is almost impossible to predict how the Big Ten will shake out this year. It will depend on which teams and players best realize their potential and best maintain their motivation and conditioning throughout the season. And it will also depend on injuries as Michigan experienced last year.

In recent years, one could pencil in Illinois, MSU and Wisconsin at the top of the conference. Things will be much more fluid this year, although MSU definitely seems to be the team to beat despite an erosion of substantial depth at the wing (lost Anderson, Hill, Torbert) and a increased vulnerability to losses to injury (need Brown and Ager to stay healthy).

In general, I think the prospects of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota are overrated, while those of Michigan, Northwestern and, to a lesser extent, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue and Ohio State are underrated.
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