IU, Big Ten centric notes from Athlon Sports college basketball preview

  • 09/02/2016 10:34 am in

Last weekend, we shared that Indiana is ranked No. 12 in the preseason by Athlon Sports.

Now that the magazine is officially on newsstands, here are some additional notes on Indiana and the Big Ten at-large from the annual publication. (You can purchase the regional cover featuring Thomas Bryant here.)

· Athlon predicts the order of finish in the Big Ten as follows: Wisconsin, Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Rutgers.

· In its preseason top 25, the Big Ten teams are Wisconsin (10), Michigan State (11), Indiana (12) and Purdue (14).

· Bryant is a preseason third team All-American. The only other Big Ten player on the three preseason All-America teams is Maryland’s Melo Trimble (second team).

· There are also All-Senior, All-Junior, All-Sophomore and All-Freshman teams with strong Big Ten presence. Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig is on the second team All-Senior. Maryland’s Melo Trimble is on the first team All-Junior. Bryant and Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ are on the first team All-Sophomore while Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan is on the second team. And Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is on the second All-Freshman team.

· Athlon predicts Indiana to earn a No. 3 seed in its NCAA tournament projections. Other Big Ten teams projected to dance include Maryland (No. 11 seed), Purdue (No. 4 seed), Michigan State (No. 3 seed), Michigan (No. 12 seed) and Wisconsin (No. 3 seed).

· In terms of national “superlatives,” Athlon lists Bryant as No. 3 on its list of best “post men.” Ahead of Bryant are Cal’s Ivan Rabb and Duke’s Harry Giles.

· Josh Newkirk and Maryland’s L.G. Gill are both listed among the nation’s impact transfers, which is a list of 14 players.

· Three Big Ten coaches are on the hot seat: Pat Chambers, John Groce and Richard Pitino.

· Bryant is on the Athlon All-Big Ten first team while junior James Blackmon Jr. is on the third team. Other first team members include Hayes, Koenig, Trimble and Malcolm Hill of Illinois.

· Hayes is Athlon’s pick for Big Ten player of the year, Happ is the pick for best defensive player, Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate is the pick for “most underrated” and Bridges is regarded as the league’s best newcomer.

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  • BL4IU

    Finally, no OG predictions/accolades. Now he’s under the radar again.

  • bleeding crimson

    I agree, wasn’t he project in the mock draft to be ahead of TB?

  • FKIM01

    I was just going to ask where OG was. I hope the Original Gangsta has a huge year and I think the only thing stopping him is his own unselfishness.

  • TomJameson

    I’m actually surprised that OG isn’t mentioned anywhere, not even 3rd team sophomore. I think TB will end up better than 3rd team all American.

    I know that there are a lot of really good players out there, but I’m so focused on IU I can’t see past their talent sometimes.

    I’m glad that OG isn’t mentioned, maybe that will help to ground him (if it’s even needed, he seems pretty level headed anyway). I’m also glad that JBJ only got a little love. Maybe a pre-season ranking of 3rd in the B1G will keep this team grounded for their mission, their goal of a B1G title, then a national title. It’s possible, but they will have to work hard, play hard, stay focused, and get a little luck along the way.

    Go IU!

  • E Foy McNaughton

    This year’s team as all the ingredients to surprise some and hang another banner. The inside presence and infectious personality of Thomas Bryant, the length and defensive stopper in OG, the experience and shooting of RJ/JBJ, and a strong bench, could, if they gel as a team, make for a special year.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    I would add a dash of Colin Hartman to that recipe for success!
    He’s experienced and tenacious!

  • VegasHoosier

    Surprising to see them pick us finishing 3rd in the Big Ten yet getting a 3 seed considering we won the Big Ten last year and got a 5 seed since our schedule this year once again is soft.

  • RDD#76

    Sometimes what translates to pro game does not to college but with OG I don’t get it he’s long can defend at All American level and can shoot don’t understand why he is not on it or if they think we are that deep minutes might be lower than teams/players with no depth.

  • IUBizmark

    How is Bridges on the second team All-Freshman, but listed as the league’s best newcomer?

  • Ian Karanovic

    2nd team all-freshman for the whole NCAA, not the conference only

  • Philip Perdue

    Why is Pat Chambers on the hot seat when Penn State is on the rise?

  • John D Murphy

    People. NCAA NBA. What makes OG attractive at the NBA level is length and athletism. Someone who can guard multiple positions and has a good enough stroke that eventually teams have to honor them standing in the corner. Good enough to hit the elbow jumper don’t switch on the pick/pop. He’s not going to score enough this year to make any all conference or all american lists. The guys who do score in college are a dime a dozen in the association. So somebody who brings a more unique set of attributes is more valuable because they aren’t a commodity.

  • marcusgresham

    That’s what I was thinking. The only logical explanation is that now he has some players that should be expected to do something as opposed to his previous teams. Besides, most of the seats at Penn State basketball games are empty–if yours gets hot you can probably just move to the one next to it and no one will notice.

  • straight no chaser

    If we are to take Athlon’s divinations seriously, then the most significant for me is Josh Newkirk as an “impact transfer.” As a point guard Josh is as important as any other player, and might be what we need to bring a banner. I’m not counting on JBJ to be much more than a Nick Zeisloft, which is already a great contribution if Josh and Rob will give us something of Yogi at PG.

  • TomJameson

    I would even go so far as saying that CH is necessary for that success. They all are necessary, and need to play as a cohesive unit to reach their goals. But the leadership and maturity of CH is a huge “intangible” .. IMO.

  • straight no chaser

    Maybe it’s an inflatable adjustable mobile swivling hot seat!

  • TomJameson

    Don’t see our schedule as being close being as soft as it was last year … pre-season or B1G. But still, a valid point. Does finishing 3rd in the B1G translate to being ranked in the top 12?? 🙂

  • VegasHoosier

    IIRC, we have 7 teams rated 270 or worse, with 5 of them being in the 300’s. That’s awful.

  • IUBizmark

    Ah, thank you for clarifying.

  • IUBizmark

    He’s definitely not. This class he’s got is going to catch a few teams this year. Next year, watch out.

  • SilentBob

    Well coaching reputations, or somewhat lack there of with Gard, are clearly a deciding factor in this. I fully believe if we swapped rosters with Izzo, we’d barely crack the top 25 and they would be rated top 5, maybe even three.

    As far as Michigan State vs Wisconsin they just seemed to take the experience over the freshmen. Safe picks. I think there all wrong.

  • marcusgresham

    If Blackmon improves his defense as much as Zeisloft did last year he’ll have a hell of a season.

  • straight no chaser

    Yep that’s part of the reason I keep comparing him to Nick, whom I consider a great player.

  • I keep saying this in every thread, but that just goes to show how sure I am about it: I think this team will have some of the best cohesion we’ve seen in awhile, even better than last year’s team. If nothing else, this will be a team that plays hard and plays together, with great leadership from the likes of TB and CH. I think this is going to be a really, really fun team to watch.

  • b_side

    One of the reasons for the soft schedule was the Maui debacle. We have a stronger set of guarantee games with Kansas and UL as opposed to last year playing St. Johns and UNLV. We also lost to Wake and UNLV. Win those two and we likely have a better seed.

  • VegasHoosier

    The games I just mentioned are for this year. It’s disgraceful we have so many cupcakes.

  • HardRockHoosier

    I do not agree with that at all.

  • SilentBob

    That’s okay. I disagree with a crap a load of posts just on this board. I wasn’t asking for people to agree with me. I’m stating what I feel. And I feel were vastly more talented than both those teams.

    Now if ya wanna talk about why I feel that way, then cool. Otherwise, not to be a jerk, but I really don’t care if ya agree with me.

  • HardRockHoosier

    I know it doesn’t matter whether I agree with you or not.. But I just don’t think whether Izzo had this group or not, would make that much difference in the polls.. I do think he is given the benefit of the doubt, far more than our Tommy.. But it would not make THAT much difference. I do believe Izzo tarnished his street cred somewhat last year, gong out first round, to a 15 seed though.

  • IUJeff

    Izzo vs Crean coaching the team preseason, is about a final four to a sweet sixteen difference in ranking. So I’m saying as much as a 12 spot diff.

  • SilentBob

    It’s really not that big of a jump. Just a few spots each way. It’s not even a shot at Crean. This Michigan state team really isn’t to great. They have no proven ball distributor, question marks about their shooting, and a front court that ours should devour. We’re more talented, much more versatile, much more experienced, and way deeper at every position. Being ranked below them, even if it’s one spot, is a slap in the face to me.

  • Bled4IU

    Good post Marcus, that is funny!

  • Jeremy Jackson

    My daughter attends Purdue and this last weekend she showed me around the campus. Several of the dorm windows were plastered with “IU Sucks” She told me at the football games that when Purdue scores the last thing they say for the chant is “IU Sucks”

    Never been to an IU football game but attended several IU bbal games at Assembly Hall – dont ever remember hearing “Purdue Sucks” unless the game was against Purdue.

    My guess the reason for this disdain at Purdue is due to an extended inferiority complex,

  • Michael McColly

    I agree. Our week non conference schedule is a real factor not in just determining a potential seed in the tournament but in preparation for the Big Ten season. But this is about making money for the athletic department. There seems to be a pool of teams that gladly will take the cash to come play the big boys. Two, maybe three okay, but why 7. It seems counter productive in the long run but nothing is done year after year. These schedules are put together in advance so that both teams can assure the money and therefore project budgets. But someone (Glass) seems immune to any criticism of his scheduling or his budgeting. But the up and down of the non conference schedule seems to produce our penchant to slide on defense and let the offense do its thing. Poor opponents affects team play most of all. We’ll do okay as we have big games between. But I worry about players like JBJr who can do well against inferior teams and then suffer or even perhaps hurt himself when it comes time to get down to business. I trust Crean will know how to play them .