Michigan Basketball: Predicting the 2020-21 Big Ten standings

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(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

14th place: Nebraska

2019-20 record: 7-25 (2-18)

Nebraska basketball is a wildcard. On paper, the Huskers shouldn’t be very good. They lose their top three scorers from a season ago where they were the worst team in the league. But the Cornhuskers do have one thing going for them, they have a great coach.

Year two of the Fred Hoiberg era can’t be much worse than year one right? You wouldn’t think so but Nebraska is a long ways away from being relevant again in the Big Ten.

I’m a big believer in Hoiberg. I think he’s a phenomenal basketball coach. But it’s going to take him a few years to get out of the bottom of the Big Ten. Nebraska fans should prepare for another ugly season.

13th place: Northwestern

2019-20 record: 8-23 (3-17)

I actually think Northwestern will be a better basketball team this season. I just don’t know how much better and that’s why I still have them in the 13th spot. The Wildcats were terrible last season. But they do return two double digit scorers from a season ago in Miller Kopp and Boo Buie.

This is one of those instances where Northwestern returns most of their team from a season ago, but we don’t know what that means because they were so bad. I think if Northwestern continues to develop and if their returning players take a step forward, they can surprise some people this season.

12th place: Penn State

2019-20 record: 21-10 (11-9)

Penn State basketball is coming off their best season in a decade. They were going to be an NCAA Tournament team a season ago. But please, let’s not forget how bad of a basketball school Penn State has been in the last 20 years.

In my opinion, the incredible play of Lamar Stevens over the last four years has single-handedly kept Penn State coach Pat Chambers employed. Since the year 2000, Penn State has made two NCAA Tournaments and has finished with a winning record in the Big Ten twice.

Losing Lamar Stevens is a huge deal. He’s one of the best players in the history of the program. Going into next season, Penn State will be the only Big Ten team without a 247Sports composite top-150 recruit on their team.

It was a solid last three seasons for the Nittany Lions. But I fully expect them to return to the basement of the conference and back to national irrelevance.

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