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.