Big Ten basketball opens conference play on Monday, and there isn’t a league in the country with more talent at the top. As No. 2 Michigan, No. 5 Indiana and No. 10 Ohio State get set to slug it out, there are plenty of other high-powered teams waiting in the wings for one of the leaders to falter.
One of the most intriguing of that group is 11th-ranked Minnesota, which has lost only to unbeaten Duke in the year. With a preseason Wooden Award contender in PF Trevor Mbakwe surrounded by Rodney Williams Jr. and an improved perimeter corps, the Golden Gophers will be a serious factor in the conference race.
Herein, a closer look at Tubby Smith’s squad and the rest of the dozen teams in the Big Ten, presented in order of their predicted finish.
Of course, the regular season title isn’t the only prize up for grabs, so predictions will also be provided for the conference’s Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and tournament champions.