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Wisconsin basketball: some preseason predictions

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Where do national media members foresee the Badgers ending up in the Big Ten?

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

While we still don’t know exactly when the college basketball season will be scheduled to start (we’ll find out on Wednesday, FYI) it is never too early to start talking about what the Big Ten conference will look like. With the return of many talented players throughout the league, including reigning conference player of the year Iowa center Luka Garza, the conference schedule should be a real meat grinder.

A pair of national basketball knowers chimed in on Monday with their thoughts on how the B1G will shake out this year. First up is BTN’s Andy Katz who has the Wisconsin Badgers at No. 3 in the conference behind Illinois and Iowa. Michigan State rounds out the top-four with Rutgers, surprising if you haven’t been paying close attention, at No. 5. The bottom of the conference looks the same as usual with Northwestern, Penn State and Nebraska bringing up the rear.

Jon Rothstein released his very own preseason power rankings and they look fairly similar to Katz’s with the exception of Iowa being first, Wisconsin second and Illinois third. Michigan State slots in at No. 4 with Rutgers, again, at No. 5. The bottom of his predictions sees a bit of a reshuffling from Katz’s as well, with Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern representing the dregs of the B1G.

And here’s a quick note from Rothstein’s College Hoops Today podcast interview with Greg Gard.

“I’ve been really impressed with Steven Crowl,” said Gard. “He’s further along than I thought he would be at this point in time. Seven feet (tall), really skilled. Brings a lot of the same skillset as the bigs we’ve had over the past 15-20 years.”

Crowl has grown to 7-foot-0! That’s huge, pun somewhat intended, if he can continue to retain his shooting ability and create mismatches for the opposition.