This article is part of our Conference Preview series.
For a second consecutive season, the Big Ten performed well during the regular season and had nine teams in the NCAA Tournament, a mark that led all of college basketball over that two-year span. However, the conference underwhelmed during postseason play once again, and only two programs made it past the second round.
Illinois remained productive following the departure of Ayo Dosunmu, and Kofi Cockburn helped lead the Illini to a share of the regular-season conference title. While Illinois' success was somewhat expected, Johnny Davis and Wisconsin defied preseason expectations to also claim a share of the regular-season title. However, each of the top two teams lost their first Big Ten Tournament game and ultimately had early departures in the NCAA Tournament. The teams will also look different during the 2022-23 campaign, as both Cockburn and Davis elected to go pro following the season.
Purdue and Iowa rounded out the top four teams in the conference during the regular season and faced off in the Big Ten Tournament championship, which the Hawkeyes ultimately won behind a strong performance from tournament MVP Keegan Murray. Both the Hawkeyes and Boilermakers will also need to rely on different contributors this season since Murray and Trevion Williams headed to the NBA during the offseason.
The marquee departures should allow some other programs to find success in the deep conference during the 2022-23 campaign. Ohio State and Rutgers finished in a tie with Iowa for fourth place in the conference last year, while Michigan, Michigan State and Indiana were close behind. A legitimate case could be made for any of these five teams to compete for the conference title this year, especially since there will be plenty of talent returning to several of the programs, including Hunter Dickinson at Michigan and Trayce Jackson-Davis at Indiana.
Overall: Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan
In a conference loaded with talent under the basket, Dickinson should have a chance to take on an even larger role for the Wolverines during the 2022-23 season, particularly since Franz Wagner, Isaiah Livers and Brandon Johns are no longer with the program. Dickinson showed plenty of promise as a freshman and had a standout season as a sophomore last year, averaging 18.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 32.2 minutes per game while playing all but two matchups. Michigan will be a new-look program in several areas this year, but Dickinson has a legitimate shot to emerge as the top player in the conference.
Scoring: Trayce Jackson-Davis, C, Indiana
Jackson-Davis shot a career-high 58.9 percent from the floor last season but actually took a step back in the scoring column, averaging 18.3 points per game after tallying 19.1 points per game the year before. He tested the draft waters during the offseason but will ultimately rejoin the Hoosiers for a fourth year. The center displayed increased scoring potential during tournament play, topping 20 points in four of Indiana's five postseason matchups while averaging 23.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in 35.4 minutes per game across that span. If he can maintain his efficiency from the floor during the 2022-23 season, Jackson-Davis should once again finish as one of the Big Ten's top scorers.
Rebounding: Zach Edey, C, Purdue
There should be plenty of competition for the title of the Big Ten's top rebounder in the conference filled with frontcourt talent, but Edey should have a chance to step up for the Boilermakers now that he no longer has to compete with Trevion Williams for playing time. Edey drew most of the starts at center for Purdue last season and averaged 14.4 points and 7.7 rebounds in just 18.9 minutes per game. His playing time ranked ninth among starting centers in the conference, but he should have a formidable chance to shoulder a much larger workload for the Boilermakers as long as he can fend off Caleb Furst in the frontcourt.
Assists: Paul Mulcahy, G, Rutgers
Mulcahy took steps forward in multiple areas last season, but one of his most impressive areas of improvement was in the assists column, where he averaged 5.3 assists per game. The point guard was more involved with the Scarlet Knights while serving exclusively as a starter, and he nearly doubled his field-goal attempts, averaging 8.0 field-goal attempts per game compared to 4.3 per game the year before. His 43.8-percent conversion rate from the floor limited his scoring upside, and he's unlikely to provide elite scoring during his senior season. However, he should have a chance to thrive as a distributor once again on a Rutgers squad that has several starters returning for the 2022-23 season.
Freshman: Skyy Clark, G, Illinois
Clark faced limitations for most of the offseason after he sustained a partially torn ACL in July of 2021, but he was cleared for "full-go" basketball activities around the beginning of August and should immediately take on a prominent role for the Illini. He initially signed a letter of intent to play at Kentucky but ultimately committed to Illinois in April and arrived on campus in May. Clark was a five-star recruit out of Montverde Academy and should be featured in the Illinois backcourt that lost Trent Frazier and Alfonso Plummer during the offseason. One of the biggest question marks for Clark's outlook is whether he can return to his pre-injury form, but he'll have a chance to make an immediate impact at the collegiate level if he can play without limitations.
Justice Sueing, F, Ohio State
Sueing has missed most of the last two seasons, as he sat out the 2019-2020 campaign after transferring from California and missed all but two games last year due to an abdominal injury. While he came off the bench during his first two appearances in the 2021-22 season, he had a prominent role during his first season with the Buckeyes, starting every game while averaging 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game. As long as he reclaims a starting role following his lengthy absence, Sueing should have a chance to generate solid production for Ohio State this year.
Derrick Walker, C, Nebraska
Nebraska's outlook for the 2022-23 season is relatively bleak, but Walker is a player who could provide fantasy value. He shot a stellar 68.3 percent from the floor last year and averaged 9.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game while serving exclusively as a starter for a second consecutive season. While he had inconsistent shot volume that limited his fantasy production last season, he was a more reliable contributor down the stretch and should be prominently featured for the Cornhuskers during his extra year of eligibility.
Race Thompson, F, Indiana
Trayce Jackson-Davis will justifiably generate plenty of buzz in the Hoosiers' frontcourt during the 2022-23 campaign, but Thompson should also have an opportunity to take another step during his fifth collegiate season. Thompson has shown steady improvement throughout his time at Indiana, and he averaged a career-high 11.1 points and 7.5 rebounds in 28.5 minutes per game while starting every game last year. The Hoosiers will likely be strong contenders in the Big Ten this year given their experience, and Thompson should be tasked with taking on a significant workload once again. Although he posted just five double-doubles during his senior season, he's a consistent threat in the scoring column and on the boards.
Terrence Shannon, F, Illinois
Shannon has experience against Power Five competition, as he spent his first three collegiate seasons at Texas Tech. He served mainly as a starter during his final season with the Red Raiders, but the year was marred by inconsistency. He averaged a double-digit scoring total for a second consecutive year, but he scored 10-plus points in just seven of his last 20 appearances of the season. However, the 22-year-old is heading home to Illinois and finds himself in a favorable situation with a program that has big shoes to fill after Kofi Cockburn elected to go pro. Shannon was a somewhat unreliable fantasy contributor at Texas Tech but will have a chance to turn things around with the Illini.
Ohio State will be relying heavily on transfer players since the team had several departures during the offseason. Likekele has Power Five experience since he played a fairly prominent role over four seasons at Oklahoma State. He served mainly as a starter for the Cowboys and averaged 30-plus minutes per game over the last three seasons. However, the point guard saw a decrease in production over the last three seasons and ultimately averaged a career-low 7.1 points and 3.4 assists in 30.9 minutes per game despite starting all 30 games. Likekele should have plenty of chances to turn things around since the Buckeyes lost Jamari Wheeler and Meechie Johnson during the offseason. Holden's first three years of collegiate experience came at Wright State, but he's heading to the Big Ten after a standout junior season in which he averaged 20.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in 35.4 minutes per game. He should compete for a starting role ahead of the 2022-23 season and has the potential to be a well-rounded contributor if his game can translate to Big Ten competition.
Dawson Garcia, C, Minnesota
Garcia has moved around to begin his collegiate career, spending the 2020-21 season at Marquette before transferring to North Carolina for the 2021-22 campaign. The power forward served mainly as a starter to begin his time with the Tar Heels, but he ultimately missed most of the season while tending to a family matter in Minnesota. He'll remain close to home this season after committing to the Golden Gophers, and he was granted a waiver for immediate eligibility at Minnesota. Garcia averaged 11.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game over the last few seasons and seems like a particularly strong candidate to benefit from a change of scenery after transferring.
- Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan
- Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana
- Zach Edey, C, Purdue
- Jamison Battle, F, Minnesota
- Boo Buie, G, Northwestern
- Jalen Pickett, G, Penn State
- Skyy Clark, G, Illinois
- Cliff Omoruyi, C, Rutgers
- Donta Scott, F, Maryland
- Chucky Hepburn, G, Wisconsin
*Note: These rankings are at the discretion of the article author, and may not necessarily correspond with RotoWire's official 2022-23 player rankings.
Projected Team Standings
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Penn State
Team Notes: The top of the projected standings are defined by returning talent. Although both Michigan and Indiana finished around the middle of the pack last season, they should have a chance to make a push for the conference title given the experience of players like Hunter Dickinson and Trayce Jackson-Davis. Purdue finished among the top four teams in the conference last season and will have a strong contributor in Zach Edey returning to the fold. Although Illinois lost Kofi Cockburn to the NBA ranks, the program made several solid additions during the offseason that should allow them to remain competitive during the 2022-23 season. Iowa, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Maryland all have legitimate cases to compete with the top teams in the conference, but most of those programs are in transition following some significant offseason departures.
Projected Team Rotations
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