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Pitino, Collins face Big Ten challenges

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Richard Pitino - 2013-2014 Big Ten Basketball Media Day

Minnesota’s Richard Pitino and Northwestern’s Chris Collins are the new kids on the Big Ten block. And, each has a big hill to climb to keep pace with the likes of Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin, among other programs.

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Izzo has high praise for Harris

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Tom Izzo - 2013-2014 Big Ten Basketball Media Day

Michigan State is the pick to win the Big Ten. Why not? The Spartans teem with talent for a program that went 27-9 last season while advancing to the Sweet 16. There’s Keith Appling, Branden Dawson, Adreian Payne, Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine for a team ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation in some polls. But the hub of all this talent is Gary Harris. How good is the sophomore, who spurned the NBA to return to East Lansing? Listen to Tom Izzo.

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How does Michigan fill those slots?

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John Beilein - 2013-2014 Big Ten Basketball Media Day

Michigan lost key players in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr., from a team that reached the national title game. But this edition of the Wolverines looks formidable even though it has a combined 33 points to replace with Burke and Hardaway gone. A key guy: Glenn Robinson III.

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Iowa eyes breakout season

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Fran McCaffery - 2013-2014 Big Ten Basketball Media Day

Iowa is an exciting team that looks primed for a breakout as Fran McCaffery enters his fourth season in Iowa City. “Obviously, we’re very optimistic about this year’s team,” said McCaffery. “Recognize the position we’re in and welcome the challenge. I’ve not had a team in my entire career that is this deep.

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