The 2019-20 college basketball season has been a wild one. That is especially true in the Big Ten, which boasts a deep group of teams and players throughout the conference. As it sits right now, 11 teams will be in the Big Dance from the Big Ten, which outdoes any other conference by a large margin.
With that depth throughout the conference comes talented players. Each of the 11 teams battling for March has at least one, if not two or three, worthy candidate on this year’s All-Big Ten teams. However, with only 15 spots on the three teams its likely that a lot of deserving players will be left off. That’s life in basketball’s deepest conference. Here’s what we think the All-Big Ten teams will look like come March.
All-Big Ten Third Team
Marcus Carr (Minnesota), Zavier Simpson (Michigan), Myreon Jones (Penn State), Nate Reuvers (Wisconsin), Kofi Cockburn (Illinois)
The 2nd and 3rd teams for this conference were incredibly tough to decide on, and likely could interchange in a lot of ways. Marcus Carr being a third teamer feels like a snub, but playing on a team that is 12-12 doesn’t help your case over some other guys. However, Carr has been excellent ranking top ten in scoring and second in assists. The same can be said for Zavier Simpson and Myreon Jones who have really produced down the stretch for their respective teams, with Jones currently leading the Big Ten in three point shooting percentage for the Nittany Lions. I think the final two are fringe candidates for the team, but with the Big Ten usually going by position balance I think Reuvers and Cockburn have done enough to make one of the 15 spots on the season.
All-Big Ten Second Team
Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois), Joe Wieskamp (Iowa), Jalen Smith (Maryland), Xavier Tillman (Michigan State), Kaleb Wesson (Ohio State)
The fact that these five guys are second teamers shows you just how deep this conference is as these five would beat up on a lot of other conference’s first teamers. Ayo Dosunmu has been excellent for Illinois as part of the inside-out game with previously mentioned Kofi Cockburn. Joe Wieskamp may not jump off the stats sheet, but he’s put together a great season on both ends of the floor while averaging 14.9 points per game for the Hawkeyes. Both Jalen Smith and Xavier Tillman have been monsters, especially on the glass, as the two of them rank second and third in rebounding for the conference and top-15 in scoring. Each guy would likely be 1st team if it weren’t for some special seasons but together by guys in front of them at their position.
All-Big Ten First Team
Anthony Cowan (Maryland), Cassius Winston (Michigan State), Lamar Stevens (Penn State), Daniel Oturu (Minnesota), Luka Garza (Iowa)
The first team for this conference is a pretty special squad. Each of the five have put together great seasons from start to finish. Anthony Cowan returned to Maryland and led the Terps to a 21-4 season where he currently sits top five in many offensive categories. What’s been most impressive about Cowan though is his ability to hit big shots in clutch moments. His final stretch against Michigan State last week was one of the more impressive stretch’s I've seen.
Anthony Cowan. America’s closer. pic.twitter.com/95fQmdkFPC— Rudy Gersten (@DCBarno) February 16, 2020
After that comes the players a lot of us expected to be there. Preseason Player of the Year Cassius Winston has been consistent, although I don’t know it will be enough to take home the claim as conference player of the year. Then comes Lamar Stevens of Penn State who has been on a tear of late averaging 21.8 points per game over his last five.
At the other forward and center spots you have two guys that have been incredibly impressive. Daniel Oturu of Minnesota has dominated the Big Ten on both ends of the floor and currently ranks 2nd in scoring, 1st in rebounding, 1st in field goal percentage, and 1st in blocks. His dominating effort for Minnesota has kept them in the fight to make the NCAA tournament if they can rattle off some wins late. Lastly, you have Luka Garza of Iowa who leads the Big Ten in scoring by a four point margin over Oturu. Garza’s ability to play inside and out has been impressive, shooting 39% from beyond the arc. Some have called it the best inside out game since Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, although I say pause on that comparison. Still though, Garza’s impressive and consistent season likely will land him the All-Big Ten Player of the Year Award and a Naismith Award Finalist spot if it holds.