Can Hunter Dickinson drive Michigan through Indiana, Illinois?

The Big Ten Player of the Year favorite will have a difficult task for Michigan to win the second conference title in three years.
Hunter Dickinson, a Big Ten Player of the Year favorite, will have a difficult task for Michigan to win the second conference title in three years. (Photos by Jamie Sabau / NCAA via Getty Images)

Basketball season 2022-23 in six days. Come back every day this week as we share the biggest conferences, teams and more pre-season.

The Big Ten only had three teams in the Associated Press preseason this fall, but the league still has a lot of potential to be one of, if not the strongest, conferences in the sport this season.

It may take a while for the league to grow together.

From the Indiana team that can really get back to the right standards in Bloomington, to Hunter Dickinson returning to Michigan in search of the Top Ten Player of the Year accolade, there’s plenty to see in the Midwest this season.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Big Ten:

Ranked Big Ten teams

For full Associated Press Top 25 preseason survey, click here.

No. 13. Indiana

No. 22 Michigan

No. 23. Illinois

Votes Received: Purdue (56), Michigan State (35), Ohio State (23), Iowa (13), Rutgers (4)

Pre-season media survey

This survey was conducted by Athletic and Columbus Dispatch.

1. Indiana

2. Illinois

3. Michigan

4. The state of Michigan

5. Purdue

6. Ohio

7. Iowa

8. Rutgers

9. Wisconsin

10. Maryland

11. The State of Penn

12. Minnesota

13. Northwestern

14. Nebraska

Significant national championship odds via BetMGM

Gonzaga is the pre-season favorite at +900.

Michigan + 3500

Indiana +3500

Michigan +5,000

Illinois +5,000

Yeah. 13 Indiana has an incredibly busy non-conference schedule this fall. But if anyone can handle it, it’s Mike Woodson.

Woodson, who starts his second season as Hoosiers head coach, will face Xavier, number 1 in North Carolina, number 17 in Arizona and number 5 in Kansas – all but one of which are either on the road or on the neutral side. Woodson also brings back much of his roster from last season, which broke the five-year period of dry play from the NCAA tournament despite being eliminated in the first round.

Perhaps the best of these is Trayce Jackson-Davis, who could easily have pushed you to win the Big Ten Player of the Year. Jackson-Davis, the 6ft 9m forward, averaged 18.3 points and 8.1 rebounds last season as a junior.

“The fact that he’s committed to returning is huge for our program,” Woodson said last month on the Indiana Daily Student. “He is like piece to the program. “

Jackson-Davis isn’t their only weapon. Senior defender Xavier Johnson is back, scoring an average of 12.1 points per game last season, similar to fifth-year senior forward Race Thompson – who has already proved to be a key part of the Hoosiers attack. Indiana will also benefit from Rivals.com’s five-star recruits, Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau.

If Woodson manages to keep his team relatively unscathed for the first two months of the season and keep it running smoothly around Jackson-Davis, there’s no reason Indiana can’t be the best team in the Big Ten this fall.

Trayce Jackson-Davis of Indiana Hoosiers

Trayce Jackson-Davis returns this fall to lead Indiana again. (Photos by Saiah Vazquez / NCAA via Getty Images)

Illinois overloaded with talent

Brad Underwood lost a lot of talent last season, most notably Kofi Cockburn. The team is almost entirely new, which can be both worrying and lead to a slow start to the year.

23 Illinois, however, has a lot of talented players at its disposal – many believe they are able to win the Big Ten and come out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament for the first time in more than a decade.

Underwood is bringing in four new four-star recruits this fall, led in particular by Skyy Clark. While Clark is recovering from his ACL injury last spring, he is able to make a huge impact on Illini almost immediately. Underwood also won the Texas Tech Terrence Shannon transfer and the Baylor Matthew Mayer transfer, which won the national title with the Bears in 2021.

While he won’t have much time to get them into shape – Illinois will face UCLA’s eighth number in Las Vegas in their fourth game of the season ahead of the non-competitive games against Syracuse and 12 in Texas – Underwood has a group that undoubtedly is capable of take a big step in the Big Ten. However, it remains to be seen whether he will take them there.

This is Hunter Dickinson’s team from Michigan

Coach Juwan Howard will only bring one starter from last year’s Michigan team after scoring a ride on the Sweet 16 during a tumultuous season.

This player, however, is a favorite of Big Ten Player of the Year Hunter Dickinson.

The 7-foot-1 center that led Wolverines with 18.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last season and is without doubt one of the best players at the conference, if not nationwide.

And, Howard said last month, he’s feeling much better.

“He wants to add more to his game, to prove that he is better every year and to add more to his game every year,” Howard told 247Sports in August. “This year, [Dickinson is] stronger, slimmer, faster. [He’s] added lateral speed, explosive jumps, higher engine.

“That’s all you have to admire and respect. As a teammate, when you see a guy who feels more comfortable but does it to help his team be the winning team, everyone else can follow in his footsteps.

Dickinson, however, is only one of four fellows returning to 22nd place in Michigan.

Howard landed transfers of Jaelin Llewellyn from Princeton and Joey Baker from Duke to help soften the blow. Llewellyn had a career record of 15.7 points and 4.1 rebounds last season in the Ivy League and will be tasked with leading his attack.

Like Illinois, Howard has a ton of talent at his disposal to complement Dickinson – who will have to be a superstar if they’re going to make a meaningful run. However, if he failed to get the group up and running, maybe it was all for nothing.

Other bands to watch

Both Michigan and Purdue are doing well this fall. It’s hard to bet on Tom Izzo, who is working with a smaller group than usual this season, led by senior forward Malik Hall and junior playmaker AJ Hoggard.

Purdue is bringing in Zach Edy and Mason Gillis, and the Boilermakers have added David Jenkins from Utah who could help make up for the loss of Jaden Ivey and the others this summer. They also signed another 7-foot – of course – in the 2-meter first student Will Berg.

Iowa lost Keegan Murray, who finished 4th on the draft this summer, but still has his twin brother Kris – who is just as good as his brother and should follow him to the league soon. With more room to work in the Hawkeyes offensive without Keegan, and Patrick McCaffery and Tony Perkins helping him, Kris and Iowa are in a great position to enter the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row.

Outstanding early games

Michigan at number 2 Gonzaga * | Friday, November 11

Michigan at number 4 Kentucky * | Tuesday, November 15

Marquette on Purdue | Tuesday, November 15

No. 13 Indiana in Xavier * | Friday, November 18

No. 16 Villanova, Michigan | Friday, November 18

No. 23 Illinois at No. 8 UCLA * | Friday, November 18

23 Illinois at number 5 Baylor / no. 18 Virginia * | Sunday, November 20

No. 20 Alabama, Michigan * | Thursday, November 24

Purdue, West Virginia * | Thursday, November 24

Yeah. 1 North Carolina at No. 13 Indiana | Wednesday, November 30

* Neutral court

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