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The B1G Roast: Basketball Preview Edition

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Let’s get some quick hatred going for hoops season! SCREW YOU, TOM CREAN! Wait.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four Championship Game-Michigan vs Villanova
So close, Michigan, and yet... so far.
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

College basketball, much like me yelling about the weather and FBI investigations, is a year-round sport now. Even over the summer, there are #crootin updates and Zion Williamson dunks to whet your appetite for actual games, so I’m assuming that you haven’t lost your disdain for Tom Izzo and Fran McCaffery since last March. If you have, fear not, for I am here to stoke the flames of hatred for the rest of the sad-sack teams in the B1G.

The national landscape of college basketball hasn’t changed much at the top. Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Gonzaga, and Nevada are your presumptive top five in... hold on. Nevada??????? Oh yes, my guys, Nevada. They are STACKED this year, returning three all-conference players including the conference player of the year and they bring in six (!!!!!!) transfers who averaged double-digit points at their previous college. They also recruited a McDonald’s All-American, their first in school history. As Kevin Nash says, don’t turn your back on the Wolf Pack.

Anyways, this isn’t a column professing my love for Nevada this year (although I could write that column). This is a column to roast the Big Ten, easily the stupidest conference in the country every year. I mean, have you seen what Richard Pitino looks like, let alone looked at his record at Minnesota? This conference is ripe for parody! Let’s get to some preseason roasting.

Illinois Fighting Illini

KenPom rank: 85th AdjEM

Biggest strength: The Illini lost a bunch of players over the offseason but gained a bunch of new players that should fit Brad Underwood’s scheme far better. Trent Frazier is a dynamic, young point guard that should only get better and Kipper Nichols, who missed a career as a lacrosse bro turned finance bro, is a prime candidate to break out this year. This guy gets it.

Biggest weakness: If it weren’t for Rutgers, this would be the worst team in the conference by far. They haven’t made the NCAA tournament since Dee Brown played, I’m pretty sure, and Illinois, outside of Chicago. is the most desolate place in the galaxy outside of the dark side of the moon. Illini Twitter was REALLY excited about how the team played against something called Illinois Wesleyan last week, and I don’t think that bodes well for the super-tough schedule they are facing this year.

Indiana Hoosiers

KenPom rank: 28th AdjEM

Biggest strength: Since the season hasn’t started yet, I’m going to keep the Roast quick and incisive. Indiana’s biggest strength this year is Romeo Langford. The stud, five-star freshman from Indiana (“OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!” — every dumpy blob in Indiana who thinks Bob Knight should be president) is really quite good. He is the crown jewel of a top-10 recruiting class that has Hoosier fans very excited for this season.

Biggest weakness: I wish Tom Crean was still the coach. He was so EASY to make fun of and hate. Archie Miller seems like an alright dude and he coaches his defense like Dick Bennett which appeals to my most shameful urges as a basketball fan. I mean, just look at Crean outchea not teaching his team zone offense!

Iowa Hawkeyes

KenPom rank: 35th AdjEM

Biggest strength: The Hawkeyes beat Guilford College 103–46, which is just a preposterous scoreline. They also turned the ball over 18 times against that same Guilford College team, which is an equally preposterous thing as scoring 103 points! Jordan Bohannon (younger brother of Jason and Zach) had a higher three-point field-goal percentage than regular field-goal percentage. LET THE YOUNG MAN HUCK! But, uh, maybe don’t let the young man get a puppy.

Biggest weakness: If the Hawkeyes implode this season and Fran McCaffrey gets fired, I need the meeting with the athletic director to be live-streamed somewhere so we can see if Fran’s head actually pops off his shoulders in a bloody explosion.

Fed Hoiberg is a terrible name for the undercover coach the FBI is using to try and get indictments.

Maryland Terrapins

KenPom rank: 30th AdjEM

Biggest strength: This Maryland team managed to go an entire offseason without killing one of their players, so they’ve already got a leg up on the football program. The entire ACC hated Maryland for myriad reasons while they were a member of that conference and I’m seeing why they were happy to see the Terps leave. I hope the university falls in the Chesapeake. I hope the photographer did not ask Trace Ramsey for his “intimidating pose” here.

Biggest weakness: Here’s the actual best team in Maryland.

Michigan Wolverines

KenPom rank: 24th AdjEM

Biggest strength: Charles Matthews is a fun player and Die Hard villain Mo Wagner left a year early.

The key to unlocking the Lakers’ full potential this year is getting a coach in there who can relate to Moritz Wagner. Everyone knows this. WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN, MAGIC?!?!

Biggest weakness: These are the players on the 2018–19 basketball team that plays in Ann Arbor.

Michigan State Spartans

KenPom rank: 13th AdjEM

Biggest strength: Tom Izzo is a millennial.

Nick “Big Puddin’” Ward is back for another season of having an awesome nickname.

Biggest weakness: Is it better because it’s an event you actually participate in these days?

I think MSU should raise a banner next year that says “8-Time Champions Classic (It’s Better Than The Final Four, Trust Us) Participant.” MSU is the only team to ever be unranked while participating in the Champions Classic, so maybe they should consider themselves lucky they are even asked to play in it.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

KenPom rank: 60th AdjEM

Biggest strength: Jordan Murphy and Daniel Oturu will cause problems down low for opposing teams, but the Gophers are usually good for one debilitating injury and one off-court suspension a year, so those two probably won’t have much help. This is the only good thing about Minnesota basketball:

Biggest weakness: Brady is out here sifting and winnowing until he finds the answer. Well done, Brady!

Nebraska Cornhuskers

KenPom rank: 38th AdjEM

Biggest strength: Throwing shade with Tim Miles!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: a few years ago, I attended B1G Media Days as a credentialed media member (I know, right?) and Miles was the nicest, most accessible coach there and I hope he has a great career.

Biggest weakness: OK, look. I get that people in Nebraska are excited about their basketball team this year. They should be pretty good! But... I can’t allow this tweet to just exist out there without showing you.

NO ONE IS CALLING WHOEVER THOSE PEOPLE ARE IN THE PICTURE THE “FAB FOUR!” I challenge one person outside the state of Nebraska to even name half of the people in that picture. I can still name the entire Fab Five off the top of my head and I bet you can name at least two of them. ::desperately tries to call timeout I don’t have::

Northwestern Wildcats

KenPom rank: 58th AdjEM

Biggest strength: The Wildcats may finish higher in the B1G than they would in their own state, according to CBS.

I need Vic Law to have a big senior season for NU. I’ve been saying he’s good since he was a freshman and, quite frankly, he hasn’t always been. DO IT FOR ME, VIC!

Biggest weakness: It’s nice to see that away fans have a shiny, new arena to watch their team beat Northwestern.

Ohio State Buckeyes

KenPom rank: 41st AdjEM

Biggest strength: Getting players into and then out of the program quickly.

Backup center Micah Potter just decided on Monday that he was leaving the team. He even played in their exhibition game and then was like, “Nah, I’m not feeling it.”

Biggest weakness: The Buckeyes better hope that Duane Norman isn’t some sort of seer.

His—what’s the opposite of judicious?—ill-advised use of question marks begs multiple questions from me. Will aOsu actually question their place in the world? Are you going to poison their Gatorade cooler so that they all die? Can I subscribe to any newsletter that you publish? Because this tweet is bonkersville and I’m here for it.

My dude, Duane... let’s maybe bring it down a notch or two.

Penn State Nittany Lions

KenPom rank: 32nd AdjEM

Biggest strength: Is Penn State a basketball school now? They certainly aren’t a football school. Maybe they’re a volleyball school?

It was just an exhibition game... but still.

Biggest weakness: I wonder if this guy knows that Villanova is in the state of Pennsylvania?

I wish Mike Watkins and his old-man mustache the best of luck in dealing with his mental health.

Purdue Boilermakers

KenPom rank: 18th AdjEM

Biggest strength: Carsen Edwards could be a national player of the year contender. The, uh, rest of the team? Not so much.

Biggest weakness: Lol at the team running out of the tunnel on a train track. I guess you have to respect a team that knows their branding.

I wonder how many times a Purdue player has looked up at the “TIME TO PLAY HARD” sign and thought, “Oh shit! I better do that now.” Sports platitudes are stupid.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

KenPom rank: 149th AdjEM

Biggest strength: You should vote today! It is important!

Biggest weakness: I will NOT talk about Rutgers basketball.

Wisconsin Badgers

KenPom rank: 20th AdjEM

Biggest strength: Oh. My. GOD!

SEE Y’ALL IN MINNEAPOLIS FOR THE FINAL FOUR!

Biggest weakness: Well isn’t this a nice thing to s... HEY WAIT A MINUTE!