The Big Ten will announce its all-conference teams and awards later today, but here are our picks (note: we don’t have a vote) that will be handed out:
All-Big Ten freshman team
· Romeo Langford, Indiana; Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan; Joe Wieskamp, Iowa; Jalen Smith, Maryland; Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois
Comment: This was pretty straight forward. All five of these guys played significant roles on their respective teams and two of them (Langford and Brazdeikis) are likely to land on one of the all-Big Ten teams.
All-Big Ten defensive team
· Zavier Simpson, Michigan; Jon Teske, Michigan; Ethan Happ, Wisconsin; Josh Reaves, Penn State; Matt Haarms, Purdue
Comment: This group has a little bit of everything. Simpson and Reaves are elite on-ball defenders. Teske anchors Michigan’s No. 2 nationally ranked defense in the post. Haarms has the highest block percentage in the league. And Happ led the Big Ten’s best defense in Madison.
All-Big Ten teams
· Third team: Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State; Jon Teske, Michigan; Anthony Cowan, Maryland; Juwan Morgan, Indiana; Amir Coffey, Minnesota
· Second team: Lamar Stevens, Penn State; Romeo Langford, Indiana; Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan; Jordan Murphy, Minnesota; Tyler Cook, Iowa
· First team: Cassius Winston, Michigan State; Ethan Happ, Wisconsin; Carsen Edwards, Purdue; Zavier Simpson, Michigan; Bruno Fernando, Maryland
Comment: The first team was clearcut for us with Fernando beating out Stevens for the final spot. The second and third teams, however, were far more difficult to sort. That difficulty speaks to the overall strength and depth of this year’s Big Ten which is full of impact players.
Big Ten coach of the year: Matt Painter, Purdue
Comment: Another easy choice here given the fact that Purdue won a share of the regular season Big Ten title after graduating four starters last season. Painter deserves a ton of credit for getting the Boilermakers to rebound after a tough 6-5 start this season.
Big Ten freshman of the year: Romeo Langford, Indiana
Comment: One of the most scrutinized players in the league, Langford averaged better than 16 points per game in conference play and had seven Big Ten games with 20 or more points. The award will likely come down to Langford and Brazdeikis, who is also deserving.
Big Ten defensive player of the year: Zavier Simpson, Michigan
Comment: The most disruptive perimeter defender in the conference, you can’t overstate how much Simpson means to the Wolverines. Michigan currently owns the nation’s second best adjusted defensive efficiency and Simpson is a major reason why.
Big Ten sixth man of the year: Matt Haarms, Purdue
Comment: Haarms did start 19 of Purdue’s 31 games, but he primarily came off the bench when the Boilermakers went 16-4 in the Big Ten. While he’s a lightning road for criticism for opposing fanbases, there’s no denying the impact Haarms has as a shot blocker.
Big Ten player of the year: Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Comment: Happ and Edwards were the preseason favorites to win this award, but Winston is the easy choice here. Despite losing Joshua Langford for the season and Nick Ward for a good portion of the Big Ten schedule, Winston led the Spartans to a share of the Big Ten regular season title. His assist rate was tops in the conference and he also ranks in the top ten in several other important statistical categories.