Big Ten Tournament: Early Predictions for All-Tournament Team

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2013

Feb 13, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA;  Indiana Hoosiers forward Cody Zeller (40) shooting free throws against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Assembly Hall. Indiana won 76-47. Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten tournament is certain to be thrilling from beginning to end as the best players in the country look to put on a show. 

While the top of the conference features teams already securely in the NCAA tournament, the next week will go a long way toward seeding.

These games will also provide a chance for National Player of the Year candidates Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo to show what they can do on the big stage. In the end, though, expect the following stars to be the top players selected to the All-Tournament team.


G Trey Burke, Michigan

Trey Burke is simply playing on a different level at this point of the season. He has scored over 15 points in all but two games, and he is getting assists at an alarming rate.

Turnovers were an issue in the loss to Penn State (his six were a season-high) but this seems to be more of a fluke than anything else.

In addition, he is also improving defensively with eight steals in the last two games. 

He has an ability to take over and he should be able to dominate on the neutral court. 


G Brandon Paul, Illinois

Although Brandon Paul has been on a bit of a slide lately, his 18-point performance against Iowa was a step in the right direction.

He also saves his best days for top teams, including 21 points in a win over Indiana and 35 in the victory over Gonzaga. At this point, he will need to step up because every game is big.

Paul should be able to dominate whoever Illinois plays in the first round, but this desperate team could pull an upset over a complacent Ohio State or Michigan State in the quarterfinals, too. Even if Illinois loses early, the extra game will be enough to impress voters to get a spot on this team.


F Christian Watford, Indiana

At some point, Christian Watford is going to realize that he is a matchup nightmare for almost anyone in the country. He is 6'9" with good athleticism and an incredibly consistent three-point shot.

When facing top teams like Michigan and Michigan State, there are few players that can guard him.

While Victor Oladipo has gotten a lot of buzz lately, Watford is the guy that must have a big tournament for Indiana to win it all.


F Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State

It has been too tough for teams to stop Deshaun Thomas for him to not make the All-Tournament team.

The Big Ten's leading scorer takes a bunch of shots, but it usually leads to good things for the Buckeyes. They certainly will not be able to win without him.

Ohio State proved that it can beat good teams away from home. It will be interesting to see if the squad can carry that over onto a neutral court. If the Buckeyes do win some games, you can be certain that Thomas will have a lot to do with it.


C Cody Zeller, Indiana

There are not too many players in the Big Ten that can defend Cody Zeller. In reality, few people in the country can handle his post moves and ability to run the floor.

In the last two games, the center has 39 points and 14 rebounds. If he can continue his aggressiveness, the numbers should follow.