SBNation: 99 days until college basketball season

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: the college basketball season officially tips off in 99 days. Credit the guys at SBNation.com for alerting us. As a way to celebrate, the site published a fun post Tuesday that offers 99 college hoops thoughts, facts and predictions for the 2012-13 season. And, of course, the Big Ten is represented. See a sampling of some of the best ones in this post.

[SBNation.com: 99 College Hoops Thoughts, Facts And Predictions for 2012-13 Season]

4. The number of games being played on aircraft carriers or at military bases to kick off the season on Nov. 9. Michigan State and UConn will square off at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Florida will face Georgetown in Jacksonville, Syracuse and San Diego State will duke it out in San Diego, and Ohio State and Marquette will play in Charleston, S.C.

Yes. Please. Put a middle school game on an aircraft carrier or a military base, and I’ll watch it. No matter the venue, though, all of these games figure to be great.

19. In its five NCAA Tournament games, Ohio State big man Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes in scoring at 19.2 points per contest. Expect him to make a Thomas Robinson-esque leap in his junior season now that Jared Sullinger is getting paid to play the game.

If this happens, expect Ohio State to make a second consecutive trip to the Final Four.

37. The combined average minutes played per game of Michigan State’s Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne last season. Expect that number to increase with Draymond Green gone, and for the Spartan duo to make up one of the most formidable frontcourts in the country.

Totally agree. Few teams will boast as much length and bulk inside as the Spartans. Add a potentially healthy Branden Dawson to the mix, too, and it might not even be fair on some nights.

48. The number of Division I teams (not including new D-I member Northern Kentucky) who have never made the NCAA Tournament. It was a group that included Norfolk State and South Dakota State this time last year. Of those 48 teams, Northwestern is easily the most recognizable and the only one which plays in a power conference.

Here we go again. Could this be the year? Everybody on Drew Crawford’s shoulders.

53. The average number of points Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin team allowed per game last season. The total put it a full point ahead of second-place Virginia. You hate watching the Badgers, but they’re going to continue to play this way and win games this season just like they do every other one.

Interestingly, these two teams are paired in this season’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Could we be talking about 2009 Penn State-Illinois territory?

64. Indiana finished last season ranked 64th in Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency rankings. The lowest ranking in that category for any of the past ten national champions is 19th by the 2003 Syracuse squad. It’s no wonder that Tom Crean has spent the bulk of the offseason focusing on defense.

Yikes! It’s going to have to come down to improvement/dedication, because Indiana’s rotation, for the most part, will be very similar to last year’s.

98. The total number of points preseason All-American Trevor Mbakwe scored for Minnesota before tearing his ACL in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic. Mbakwe spurned a shot at the NBA for one final season with the Gophers.

So happy to see Mbakwe back in maroon and gold. Now, can Rodney Williams continue his improvement playing alongside the veteran forward? If so, Minnesota could be one of the nation’s biggest surprise teams.

Other Big Ten-centric ones: 5, 26, 34, 47, 50, 68, 76, 83, 88, 94

Brent Yarina is a web editor and blogger for BTN.com. Find all of his work here and follow him on twitter at @BTNBrentYarina.

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