Could the league’s national title drought finally end?

With 17 days left until the 2022-23 men’s college basketball season, ESPN.com’s panel of experts continues to provide everything you need to know about the nation’s top conference. They’ve excluded Secondary Majors, American, Pac-12 and Great Eastern. Now, the focus turns to the top ten.

It’s a better league than last season — at least from a public relations standpoint.

Its biggest story isn’t the rise of Johnny Davis or the dominance of Kofi Coburn. Unfortunately, Juwan Howard and Greg Gard’s postgame battle in late February was the most memorable moment of the Big Ten’s regular season.

Things didn’t get better in the playoffs. Nine teams from the Big Ten made it to the NCAA Tournament, but only two made it to the second weekend, and no other teams. Earlier this month, Jim Boeheim said the conference was “terrible” at the tournament. Yo.

Still, while the Big Ten didn’t boast last season’s talent, its top teams could compete with the best in America. At least, that’s hope.

Find more preseason analysis here.


Top Ten 2022-23 Superlatives

Player of the Year

Medical Calf: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Bolzero: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Gasway: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Lunardi: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana

Newcomer of the Year

Medical Calf: Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois
Bolzero: Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois
Gasway: Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois
Lunardi: Skye Clark, Illinois


Top Ten 2022-23 Roundtables

The top ten teams are seeking their first national title since 2000. Make a case for a team that can finally pull it off this season.

Gasway: A message from league headquarters: “Please ask the Pac-12 about their winning streak, which is three years longer than ours.” I admit I doubt the Big Ten’s winning streak will continue. In the past two seasons alone, the league has thrown eight top-four seeds on that streak, including two No. 1s and two No. 2s. Yet here we are. Now, For the first time since 1977, the conference had no top 10 teams in the preseason AP poll. We may answer this question again next year.

Lunardi: For years, the top ten companies have been plagued by “volume” issues. Except for the 2021 “bubble” tournament — when both Illinois and Michigan were No. 1 seeds — reorganized from the 2013-14 season (Wisconsin in 2015.

There’s a reason only two of the past 15 national champions are not No. 1 or No. 2 seeds. Not only are they the best team in a given season, but their path to the Final Four is significantly easier. In the last five “normal” tournaments, the top ten teams have bid a whopping 35 times, but with no No. 1 seed and only four No. 2 seeds. Quantity, yes. Elite quality, no.

It looks more like the same in 2022-23. No team is currently predicted to be over the No. 3 or No. 4 seed. In another crowded field, I’d make Indiana a minor favorite, but I’d confidently add that the league’s non-championship streak will remain intact this time next year.

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Medical Calf: In a system that paved the way for St. Peter’s from a 3-6 start to the season’s miraculous Elite Eight and sometimes knockout of the top seed in the first few rounds, the outcome of the NCAA Tournament tends to depend more on luck than good luck. Not the overall talent. That said, in the era of one-off completions, the veteran core won most of the championships. That’s why I think Indiana, led by Jackson Davis and Rhys Thompson, has the best chance of ending the Big Ten’s drought.

Bolzero: I’m a league favorite in Indiana, and it’s the only Big Ten team I’ve made in the top 20 this season — but it’s also a team that sneaks into the NCAA Tournament as a final general pick and then ends with Lost to St. Mary by a thousand points. Jackson Davis is an All-American candidate, Mike Woodson brought back three other starters, and two top-25 recruits are joining — including Jaren Hood Hifino, who was well-received in the preseason. Tamar Bates could also take a step forward. But ending the championship drought? We will discuss it next year.


Many of the league’s top players dropped out after last season, including every member of last season’s Top 10 (Johnny Davis, Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Kofi Cockburn, EJ Liddell). Who can be the face of the Big Ten this season?

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Check out Trayce Jackson-Davis’ top performances from his first two seasons with Indiana.

Medical Calf: I think it will be Jackson Davis. I think he’ll build on what he did last season (18.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.3 rpg, 59% shooting). When Cobain left the league, his life became easier.

Lunardi: Jackson Davis is the best player on the best team in the league. Plus, it’s an inevitable storyline for head coach Mike Woodson to bring his alma mater back to glory in his second season back in Bloomington. Let’s call players and coaches the “common face” of the Big Ten and see if they can live up to the enormous expectations of the automatic component of Indiana basketball.

Bolzero: I think the gap between Jackson-Davis and Hunter Dickinson will be insignificant — and I think Dickinson deserves attention in this category, given my colleague’s choices. Dickinson was named to the All-American Second Team as a freshman in 2021, earned Big Ten First Team honors from the media in 2021, and was named to the Second Team again last season. He’s an excellent interior scorer, and he’ll need to take on more of the offensive load this season as Ann Arbor’s personnel leave. If Michigan can improve its outside shooting, Dickinson should have more interior space.

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Gasway: Zach Edie. Now that Treveen Williams is no longer sharing minutes in Purdue’s low post, Eddie is primed for a statistically terrible season. He averaged 30 points and 15 rebounds per 40 minutes last season. I also believe that Edie can dunk without leaving the floor. When we set the rim to 7 feet, it was like the rest of us. As it has been for the past 15 years or more, the game is fun when you’re the biggest boilermaker on the field.


There’s a sizable gap between the nine Big Ten teams that made it to the NCAA Tournament last season and the five that didn’t. The latter — Maryland, Northwestern, Penn State, Minnesota, Nebraska — who would be best suited to the top half of the league?

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Hakim Hart knocks out rock steal, then lifts 2

Bolzero: I’m not entirely sure any of these teams made it to the top half of the league, but let me oversee Penn State. Jaylen Pickett should be one of the best guards in the Big Ten, while Seth Lundy, Miles Dred and Darion Johnson are solid starters in 2021-22 . The upcoming moves of Camren Wynter and Andrew Funk should add some perimeter players, and there are positive rumors about freshman big man Kebba Njie. Micah Shrewsberry’s team needs to figure out how to win close games; their regular-season games decided by six points or less are 4-9.

Lunardi: For me, the answer is undoubtedly Maryland. The Terps have a wealth of experience, coaches and predictable transfers to fill key holes. They were by no means lock-ups for the NCAA Tournament, but I saw them exceed expectations and put them back on a very enjoyable Sunday tryout (even if current projections say otherwise).

Gasway: I’m with Lunardi – Terrapins may be lurking in the Bubble Watch space in February. Donta Scott and Hakim Hart will return as seniors, and new coach Kevin Willard will also be calling for moves to Jahmir Young (Charlotte) and Don Carey (Georgetown). Maryland didn’t make too many turnovers last season in the Big Ten, and the defensive rebounds were sub-par. The Willard era could get off to a good start at College Park if this group can cut down on opponents’ field goal attempts.

Medical Calf: If Parker Fox hadn’t torn his ACL, I’d probably pick Minnesota here, so I’d pick Maryland too. With Fatts Russell and Eric Ayala both leaving after last season, the Terps suffered heavy losses. But if Young and Kyrie can fuse, they’ll provide Willard with a backcourt to boost offense in a tough league.

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Among the Big 10, who or what topics do we not talk enough about?

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Purdue’s Zach Edey lost his guard to a thunderous alley-oop.

Medical Calf: I always sympathize with the brothers of great players. They are never fully respected. Just ask Harvey Grant. Or Seth Curry. But I think Chris Murray had a better season last year than many thought, when he competed in the shadow of his twin brother Keegan. Their offensive rebounding percentage and shooting from beyond the arc (both around 40 percent) are nearly identical. With a bigger workload this year, Chriss should provide some numbers that will allow him to establish himself as Chris Murray, a talented player with All-Big Ten aspirations, not just a 2022 lottery pick Brother Chris Murray.

Gasway: Wisconsin missed one NCAA tournament of the century (in the year that event took place). one! Still, with Johnny Davis and Brad Davidson already gone, the Laptops don’t think the Badgers have too many chances. Are they underestimating Greg Gard’s team yet again? Should we let these guys get the No. 9 seed at worst? this is possible. Last season, Wisconsin made great strides in handling the ball and limiting opponents to one shot. Even without Davis and Davidson, maybe it can do it again.

Bolzero: I may have underestimated Purdue. On paper, it’s a combination that shouldn’t have made the top 25 after losing lottery rookie Jaden Ivey and two other double-digit scorers. It doesn’t even have a proven point guard on its roster. But the Boilermakers haven’t cracked the top 25 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin since 2015, and they have one of the most dominant players in the sport in Edey. Mason Gillis, Brandon Newman and Caleb Furst all have starter experience, David Jenkins Jr. was a key scorer early in his career at South Dakota and UNLV, and Trey Kaufman-Renn was a top-100 recruit who was a redshirt last season. The point guard position is a big deal, but if Painter can figure that out, it seems ill-advised to pick Purdue for such a lackluster year.

Lunardi: I found Nebraska’s top 10 storylines fascinating. Growing up, the Cornhusk Party defined college football for me to a certain extent. Now, they are almost irrelevant.

In basketball, they remain the only power conference school that has never won an NCAA tournament. Given overwhelming resources and random luck, it shouldn’t be possible, but consider this: Before Isaac Copeland’s injury, the 2018-19 corn husks could get a single-digit NCAA seed . Since then, they’ve gone 30-77 (24-67 under Fred Hoiberg) and were drafted into the Second Division again. Oh, and the football team fired another coach.

Maybe moving to the Big Ten is not a good idea.


Big Ten 2022-23 Conference Championship Predictions



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