Robbie Hummel shares 2019-20 Big Ten basketball predictions
AP No. 1 and 2019 national semifinalist Michigan State is the overwhelming pick to win the Big Ten.
BTN analyst Robbie Hummel likes the Spartans in 2019-20, as well, but he likes another team even more.
That team would be Maryland, which dominates his Big Ten preseason predictions. See for yourself below.
B1G champ: Maryland
Sleeper (team): Penn State
POY: Jalen Smith, Maryland
Sleeper (player): Aaron Wiggins, Maryland
COY: Mark Turgeon, Maryland
All-B1G: Cassius Winston, Kaleb Wesson, Lamar Stevens, Ayo Dosunmu, Jalen Smith
Robbie also provided his preseason takes on all 14 teams:
Kofi Cockburn could be a game-changer with Illinois’ defensive style of getting in the passing lanes. A top 50 freshman who can block shots and run the floor is just what the Illini have been missing. Throw him in with Giorgi B, Ayo Dosunmu and Trent Frazier, and you have to think Illinois could be dancing come March.
The backcourt is battling injuries, something no team wants entering the season. That said, the frontcourt is healthy and deep, with De’Ron Davis, Butler transfer Joey Brunk and Trayce Jackson-Davis, a McDonald’s All-America freshman, in the fold.
If Jordan Bohannon (hip) can play at a semi-healthy level, the ceiling for this team changes dramatically. As much as it lost in Nicholas Baer, Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss, it returns Joe Wieskamp, who had a fantastic freshman season, and Luka Garza, who’s capable of being a monster on the block.
Veteran PG Anthony Cowan and sophomore star Jalen Smith are the big names in College Park, but the freshman guards who played so many big minutes last season are a year older and will have a lot to say about the Terrapins’ fate. Look for Aaron Wiggins to have a breakout season.
Isaiah Livers, Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske are the known commodities for Juwan Howard in Year 1. Franz Wagner, the younger brother of Moe, will be a nice piece when he returns from a fractured right wrist. In the meantime, David DeJulius, Colin Castleton, Brandon Johns and Eli Brooks will be asked to pick up the production.
Everyone knows about Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman. Don’t sleep on Aaron Henry, arguably one of the Big Ten’s best two-way players and one of several talented sophomores looking for bigger roles this season.
The Gophers have their point guard, something they’ve been without recently. Pitt transfer Marcus Carr sat out last season, and word was that he was the best player, at times, in practice. Carr averaged 10 points and 4 assists in the ACC, and will be counted on majorly to run the show.
Transfers were a big part of Fred Hoiberg’s DNA at Iowa State, but you have to wonder how he’ll be able to mesh 14 newcomers in such a short time span. Regardless, Hoiberg is a great coach, and Nebraska has one of the best atmosphere’s in the league at PBA.
Keep your eye on a couple of Chris Collins’ sophomores. Miller Kopp did some good things as a freshman, and I’m intrigued to see what Pete Nance looks like after a freshman season that saw some inconsistencies and then a complete derailment with mononucleosis.
Chris Holtmann’s building something nice in Columbus. He has talent, in the form of veteran pieces and fresh faces, including the B1G’s top recruiting class. Only question is, how will this young team handle lofty expectations?
Pat Chambers challenged star Lamar Stevens, the conference’s returning leader in scoring (19.9) and rebounding (7.7), to become more of a playmaker. As good as he was last year, and with shooters around him, the staff feels he can be even better in his senior campaign.
Nojel Eastern is a nightmare for opponents defensively and can really get in the paint to score and facilitate. I expect Matt Haarms to play at an All-Big Ten level, the way he did the second half of the Big Ten season last year. Aaron Wheeler is an intriguing player who has all the tools to be a terrific player.
Ron Harper Jr. and Myles Johnson impressed as freshmen last season. The freshman to watch in 2019-20: Paul Mulcahy, last year’s top prep in New Jersey. A pass-first point guard, he figures to do big things for Geo Baker, who will be allowed to play more off the ball.
Things are going to look a lot different with Ethan Happ out of eligibility. It’ll be fun to see what Greg Gard can do with lineups where all five guys on the floor can spread defenses out and shoot. D’Mitrick Trice and Brad Davison are going to have to consistently make shots, something they struggled to do down the stretch last season.