Oct 31, 2013; Rosemont, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats men

Big Ten Basketball: Team Preview -- The Bottom Ascends

GBMWolverine Basketball TidbitsPosted at 4:00pm — 12/30/2013

Big Ten Basketball: Team Preview — The Bottom Ascends

Annual Big Ten Basketball Team Preview — The Bottom Ascends — Watch Your Step

GBMWolverine presents its fourth annual Big Ten basketball preview. Last year the Wolverines were picked in a tie for third and fourth; that proved to be pretty accurate. Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan State were selected as running for the championship.

Dec 4, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; The Big Ten logo displayed on the court before the game between the Western Carolina Catamounts and the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

As in the past, there will be four categories of teams: teams in trouble, teams that need help, teams that will be in the mixer (for mid-pack rankings), and teams that will challenge for the league championship.

This year the top teams are again very good teams, albeit Michigan and Indiana have had their moments. Some of the previous bottom teams are poised to step up the quality of play; Nebraska and Penn State should be better and Iowa has already demonstrated noticeable improvement. So, as a result, even the top two or three teams cannot afford to sleep walk very much against the “league poor.”

The first category, teams in trouble, only contains one team, an all-time low, Northwestern.

Northwestern has a new coach in Chris Collins, of Duke fame; son of NBA all-star and coach Doug Collins. Coach Collins spent several years prepping at Duke and will bring another solid coach to Northwestern. Coaching quality has not been the problem at Northwestern, a lack of overall talent has been.

Northwestern welcomes back a very good senior big guard/swingman, Drew Crawford. Crawford is averaging over 16 points a game and plays a tough brand of basketball. Whatever success Northwestern hopes for starts with Crawford. It is not a good sign when a swing guy is leading the team in rebounds, but Crawford currently holds that status.

Dec 27, 2013; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats guard Drew Crawford (1) shoots over DePaul Blue Demons forward Jamee Crockett (21) during the first half at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Junior JerShon Cobb, another big guard, is averaging about 14 points a game. The other scorer is sophomore guard Tre Damps. The frontcourt does not dominate either in scoring or rebounding. Seven-foot sophomore Alex Olah has the potential to become a decent Big Ten caliber center.

Northwestern’s other contributing scorers are guards and wings. Two big men are available off of the bench, but neither has produced offensive results.

Coach Collins will have his hands full this season and likely the staff is working overtime recruiting for the future.

Next up, a breakdown of teams in the mix, but in need of some lucky breaks to make the NCAA Tournament.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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Tags: #GoBlue Basketball Big Ten Conference Go Blue Michigan Basketball Michigan Wolverines Northwestern Wildcats

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