2018 College Basketball – Big Ten Preview
Looking for 2018 Big Ten NCAA Basketball Futures Odds and some great betting lines to get down on? The regular season begins this week and we’re breaking down the major power conferences to get you ready.
Handicapping 2018 Big Ten College Basketball Futures Odds
The Chalk: Michigan State
Michigan State was young last season. They were also small after Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling, two senior big men suffered year-long knee injuries in the preseason.
Things got off to a rough start but the kids rallied, got a tournament berth and even advanced to the Round of 32.
Some of the freshman who were thrown into bigger roles developed so much that Sparty fans were looking forward to this one as the clear Big Ten favorite.
That was before Miles Bridges announced that he was staying at State for his sophomore season and before Gavin Schilling and Ben Carter, the two bigs who each wrecked a knee in last year’s preseason, got another year of eligibility. Now Michigan State is the second-biggest favorite to win the National Championship and I would argue it should be better than that.
Bridges is the a National Player of the Year Candidate. He would have been a lottery pick had he gone pro but he didn’t want to leave school after the season his team had last year.
He played a lot of four last season with the Spartans short on bigs but he’ll slide back into his natural spot at the three with Schilling, Carter and Nick Ward up front. Throw five-star recruit and projected lottery pick Jaren Jackson into the mix too and MSU is loaded down low.
Josh Langford and Cassius Winston return to build on promising freshman campaigns and Matt McQuaid is a savvy junior who strikes me as a winner.
I can’t pick out a weakness with this team. They have a coach as good as any in the country, tremendous balance and a whole lot of motivation to get back to the level that Michigan State has been accustomed to playing at over the last two decades. I would be shocked if anyone else other than Michigan State wins the Big Ten this season.
The Second Tier: Northwestern, Minnesota, Purdue
Northwestern’s first ever NCAA Tournament bid last season was well-documented. The Wildcats got their first Tournament win too and Chris Collins is bringing the core of that team back this season.
Bryant McIntosh is a Preseason All-Big Ten First Team selection and fellow senior and backcourt mate Scottie Lindsey was picked for the Second Team. Two proficient senior guards is always a good place to start. But then junior forward Vic Law is also on that Second Team.
Minnesota also brings back just about everybody from a team that got a five seed in last year’s NCAAs. Some would say that the Gophers overachieved to get there, though.
Like Northwestern and Michigan State, Purdue also has a player on the All-Big Ten First Team and Second Team. Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas are there and will try to make the departure of Brandon Swanigan a little easier to deal with.
Don’t Forget About: Wisconsin, Michigan
Wisconsin has been in the top-four of the Big Ten every season of the 2010s. Ethan Happ is still just a junior. It’s going to feel like he has been around forever next season. For now, he just keeps getting better and better. Rumor has it he has expanded his range a little bit in the offseason and I have no problem believing that.
Michigan lost Derrick Walton Jr. but adds a transfer from Ohio, Jaaron Simmons. He should be a double-figure scorer alongside Moritz Wagner, who is on the Preseason Second Team. This isn’t the best Michigan team in recent memory but it’s full of upperclassmen.
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