If you’re having trouble deciding which team will win the Big Ten Conference basketball title, you’re not alone. The Big Ten Basketball Conference odds show seven teams at +850 or less. The Hoosiers get the slightest of nods, followed by Michigan, Illinois, which has attracted some money, has the third-lowest odds.
The Big Ten regular season will be another dogfight. Jeff Sagarin’s college basketball ratings have the Big Ten as the toughest conference in the country. Seven of his top 20 teams are in the Big Ten.
You can make a good case for any of the three favorites and several others. Any team which can avoid the college basketball injuries, which will occur, have a leg up on the other teams.
Indiana (+285): The Indiana Hoosiers are slight favorites to begin the season, which makes sense. All of the early power ratings which give NCAAB predictions have the Hoosiers a little better than the other teams. Indiana was bounced early from the NCAA Tournament last season but return plenty of talent. The team’s top three scorers from last season are back, along with its two leading rebounders.
The Hoosiers had a good recruiting class which is ranked in the top 15. Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau are the prized recruits. The high school teammates were both considered top 30 NCAAB players nationally. If they blend in well with the returning players, Indiana will be tough.
Michigan (+385): The Big Ten Basketball Conference odds have the Wolverines second in the conference. Hunter Dickinson will once again be the key player for Michigan. But he will get some help from freshman Jett Howard, which is a good thing since the Wolverines lost their second through fifth leading scorers.
The Wolverines will be a good team but may lack the depth of some of the other conference contenders. As good as Dickinson is for Michigan, he may not be enough to get the Wolverines the conference title.
Illinois (+425): The Big Ten Basketball Conference odds on Illinois went from +650 to +425 in the week before the season started. The year’s Illini squad will have a different look, with its top five scorers gone from last year, including Kofi Cockburn, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. But Illinois has plenty of talent coming in.
The Illini had a great recruiting class, ranked in the top 10, but also attracted some talented transfers. Getting Terrance Shannon from Texas Tech was a huge coup and the Illini are expecting bigger things from returning junior Coleman Hawkins. Illinois will be a good team but there are plenty of other good teams in the Big Ten.
The Best of the Rest
Iowa (+550): The Hawkeyes lost leading scorer and rebounder Keegan Murray from last year’s squad and didn’t have a great recruiting class. Second-leading scorer Jordan Bohannon has also departed. But Iowa does return its third through seventh scorers from last year. Iowa will need several of those players to improve with the additional minutes they should get.
Purdue (+800): The Big Ten Conference Basketball odds have Purdue at +800, which might be expecting a little much. The Boilermakers lost leading scorer Jaden Ivey but do return Zach Edney, the team’s rebound leader and second-leading scorer. Freshman Fletcher Loyer is the best of an above-average recruiting class. Plenty will have to go right for Purdue to battle for the conference title.
Michigan State (+850): The Spartans lost their top three scorers from last college basketball season. But Michigan State is one of the few teams who can withstand that type of loss. The Spartans return four players who played more than 20 minutes a game and averaged 7.0 or more points. Michigan State added a couple of decent freshmen in Jaxon Kohler and Tre Holloman.
Ohio State (+850): The Big Ten Conference Basketball odds also have Ohio State at +850. The Buckeyes will need some of the newcomers to contribute after losing their top three scorers. That’s a definite possibility, with Ohio State having a top 10 recruiting class and adding transfers Tanner Holden (20.1 ppg, Wright State), Sean McNeil (12.2 ppg, West Virginia) and Isaac Likekele (7.1 ppg, Oklahoma State).Follow us on Twitter