College Basketball Predictions: Picking All-Big Ten First and Second Teams

Doug BrodessCorrespondent INovember 18, 2011

College Basketball Predictions: Picking All-Big Ten First and Second Teams

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    The Big Ten will again be one of the best conferences in college basketball.

    Top to bottom, the 12 teams will battle it out with a healthy share of close-calls and upsets taking place throughout the league schedule.

    Here's a list of 10 players who could make up the First and Second All-Big Ten Teams.

Second Team: Aaron Craft (Ohio State)

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    Aaron Craft is an excellent floor leader for Ohio State.

    Craft, a 6'2", 190-pound PG, is off to a nice start to 2011-12, averaging 11.5 points, three rebounds, five assists and three steals in the Buckeyes' first two games.

    As much as Craft's contribution can be seen in the box score, he may also be one of the best on-ball, backcourt defenders in the country

Second Team: Cody Zeller (Indiana)

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    Cody Zeller is a key player in helping re-establish the Hoosiers to Big Ten relevance.

    The 6'11", 220-pound center is off to a more-than-solid start to his collegiate career, averaging 12.3 points, eight rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 3.3 steals.

    Zeller's presence in the paint helps Indiana combat their opponents' attack on the lane—a big problem in 2010-11.

Second Team: Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Michigan)

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    Tim Hardaway, Jr is looking to follow up a fantastic freshman year with a super sophomore season.

    Hardaway was a unanimous 2011 All-Big Ten Freshmen Team selection.

    After two games this season, he is the Wolverines' leading scorer, putting in 13.5 points per game.

Second Team: Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota)

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    Trevor Mbakwe is a beast on the boards.

    Not wanting to exaggerate, but Mbakwe is following in the footsteps of former Gopher great rebounders such as Jim Brewer, Mychal Thompson and Kevin McHale.

    He led the Big Ten in rebounding (10.5 PPG in 2010-11).

    Mbakwe averaged a double-double (13.9 PPG & 10.5 RPG) last year and is on his way to doing the same this season.

    So far, in Minnesota's first three games, the 6'8", 240-pound senior forward is averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Second Team: Robbie Hummel (Purdue)

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    Robbie Hummel's collegiate career could be a great movie script.

    All American blows out his knee...Works his way back...Blows out his other knee.

    This season is the rest of that story.

    So far, the two-time All-Big Ten selection is averaging 21 points and five rebounds per game.

    Looks like Hummel's back...Again!

First Team: Draymond Green (Michigan State)

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    Draymond Green may be the most versatile player in the Big Ten.

    Last year, Green averaged 12.6 PTS, 8.6 REB, and 4.1 AST.

    His 141 assists were the most ever by a MSU frontcourt player.

    This year, the 6'7", 230-pound senior forward is scoring 11.5 points, grabbing 12.5 boards and handing out two assists per game.

    If the Spartans regain some of their characteristic consistency, they will do so on Green's broad shoulders.

First Team: William Buford (Ohio State)

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    William Buford's outside game is an excellent complement to Jared Sullinger's inside dominance.

    Buford, a 6'6" SG, can shoot it from deep or pull up from mid-range.

    He has picked up this year where he left off in 2010-11, averaging 17 points, four rebounds and 3.5 assists in OSU's first two games.

    Buford is an important part to the Buckeyes' chances at getting to New Orleans and playing for the NCAA Championship. 

First Team: John Shurna (Nothwestern)

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    John Shurna may be the best shooting "big" in the country.

    Shurna enters his senior season 524 points shy of Billy McKinney's Northwestern scoring record.

    Last year, the 6'9", 215-pound forward scored 16.6 PPG, hitting on 48.1 percent of his shots from the field and 43.4 percent from beyond the arc.

    This year, Shurna is tearin' it up again.

    Shurna opened the season up by putting in 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 1-for-1 from three-point range against Texas Pan-American.

    In Game 2, Shurna dropped 37 on LSU, connecting on 10-of-21 shooting, with 4-of-9 from downtown and 13-for-14 from the line.

First Team: Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin)

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    Jordan Taylor is the best guard in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country.

    As a junior, Taylor assembled an impressive array of hoops accomplishments. He was selected as a First-Team All-Big Ten selection and Big Ten All-Defensive Team.

    On top of that, he was named to the AP All-American Second Team and was one of five finalists for last year's Bob Cousy Award (best point guard in the country).

    Taylor averaged 18.1 PPG and led the nation with a 3.83 assist-to-turnover in 2010-11.

    So far, in the Badgers' first two games, Taylor is averaging 10 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists.

    While handing out 11 assists, Taylor has only committed one turnover.

First Team: Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)

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    Jared Sullinger is not only the top player in the Big Ten, he may be the best player in the nation.

    Last year, Sullinger was named the 2011 National Freshman Player of the Year, and most people expected him to enter the 2011 NBA Draft.

    Because he did return to Columbus, the Buckeyes are a strong candidate to make it to this year's Final Four in New Orleans.

    After two games, Sullinger is averaging 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 blocks.