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The hater’s guide to 2019-20 Big Ten basketball

Your favorite basketball conference is back to disappoint you once again!

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State

That one title won by Tom Izzo? Well that’s now 20 seasons ago. No team has gotten more juice out of one championship since the ‘85 Bears. This team went to the Final Four last year and still lost to Indiana twice.


John Beilein decided to leave a school where he’s become a legend to coach Cedi Osman, Jordan Clarkson, and Tristan Thompson for 82 games a year. You may think, well at least Beilein went to coach somewhere nice and warm, right? Nope, he’s coaching in noted tropical paradise Cleveland, Ohio.

Juwan Howard seems like a good replacement choice. I wouldn’t know how his teams fared when he played at Michigan though, since the school and the NCAA have erased all memories of it.


Tim Miles was finally let go, but don’t worry about him, I hear he’s the opener at the Comedy Attic this weekend. Instead, Nebrasketball now employs Fred Hoiberg, whose grandfather also coached there, continuing the proud Husker tradition of Remembering How Things Used To Be. And with games against Southern Utah, UC Riverside, and Southern U, Nebrasketball is also continuing the school tradition of Demanding An Easier Schedule.


All Greg Gard needs is one of those long skinny microphones and he’ll look like a 1980s game show host. Ethan Happ has finally graduated and the roster has several holes to fill, which means the Badgers will go 14-6 in conference and reach the Sweet 16. IU will never win in the Kohl Center.



Every Iowa basketball season goes something like this:

  • Huge upset over a Power 5 team in some November tourney
  • Strong start to B1G play pushes them to top-25 ranking
  • By early February they’re declared one of the teams to beat in the conference
  • Falter down the stretch, losing five of their last seven games and knocked out early in the conference tourney
  • Make a valiant effort in the NCAA Tourney but lose in the first weekend
  • Fran McCaffery remains very furious and very red throughout


It’s very cool to base your team on getting and drawing as many fouls as possible and dragging every 20-point blowout into a 2 hour and 40 minute marathon of a game. It definitely wants to make me watch more of this team, that’s for sure.


They actually came close to earning the S in hoops last year, and Steve Pikiell has done a good job turning the ship around in Piscataway. But the team’s greatest accomplishment remains when they made the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals in their “home” venue of Madison Square Garden.


According to Wikipedia, “The Gophers had great success in the early years of basketball, but have been largely overshadowed by other programs since the end of World War I.” Man, this makes IU’s glory days seem recent.


Carsen Edwards was genuinely a joy to watch last year. Welp, now he’s gone and this team is no longer fun. They’ll beat IU twice this season.


The last time a Maryland team lived up to its potential, they won a national title in 2002 (don’t look at who the runner-up was). Most of their fans would rather they still be playing Duke and UNC on a regular basis. College Park is fewer than 10 miles from DC but takes 90 minutes to get to by any form of transit.

Ohio State

The Buckeyes could win the national title in hoops and as soon as One Shining Moment is finished, fans would celebrate by debating who was a better coach, Woody Hayes or Urban Meyer.

Penn State

Honestly, a quarter-filled Bryce Jordan Center with a 6:30pm weeknight start time on BTN can make for a more dangerous game than a packed house at another B1G school.

LATE UPDATE: Curtis Jones is totally going for 20/7/5 in his return to Assembly Hall this year.


The most damning thing about the Hoosiers, I think, is that I can’t get myself too excited for a new basketball season. Not only are the Hoosiers are coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory, but they’ve also lost their two best scoring options in Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford on a team that already had trouble getting points on the board. Every four-year undergrad currently at IU has not seen this team make an NCAA Tournament. Every single loss or even close win to a bad team becomes a giant referendum on Where This Program Is Today. The desperation on Twitter gets more and more intense with every single recruit who does an on-campus visit. Romeo Langford played through injury all season yet fans still criticized him for his toughness and columnists aired dirty laundry about his family. Y’all really don’t like Devonte Green for some reason. The narrative about the team suddenly changed to “serious rebuild” once the losing streak started last year. All in all, it’s an exhausting time to be an IU basketball fan.

Also, the football team is 7-2, soccer just won another conference title, and women’s hoops has a preseason ranking. And that November schedule is Crean-esque. Much like my feelings on Christmas music, I might not be ready for devote my attention to the men’s team until Thanksgiving is over this year.