This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Making preseason prections: Big Ten rankings, All-Big Ten teams, Awards

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball Updated: October 25, 2013 - 1:08 PM

It's that time of year -- I've just submitted my preseason predictions and awards to various places, so I thoguht I'd share them here as well, along with some thoughts.

Go ahead, argue with me in the comments below.

Ranking the Big Ten:

1.   Michigan State -- It's hard to deny that it's the Spartans' year. With Gary Harris, Adreian Payne, Keith Appling and Branden Dawson all back, just look at that cast.

2.   Michigan -- Someone needs to take the reins at point guard, but the Wolverines have plenty of stars, starting with Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III.

3.   Ohio State -- Aaron Craft locks it down at point; LaQuinton Ross will have a big year.

4.   Indiana -- The Hoosiers lost more than any team -- I mean seriously, they lost Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, Remy Abell and Maurice Creek. Whoa ... -- but the sixth-best recruiting class in the nation plus Yogi Ferrell at point and Will Sheehey as the ultimate spark will keep Indiana successful.

5.   Wisconsin -- It's hard to ever count out the Badgers, no matter the season. Josh Gasser is back from an ACL injury that kept him out last year and will help feed the likes of Sam Dekker and Ben Brust.

6.   Iowa -- Last season, the Hawkeyes looked a year away. Now, I think they could surprise. Solid defense and big steps from Aaron White and Roy Devyn Marble will make them a tough opponent for everyone.

7.   Purdue -- Terone Johnson is poised to take the reins in his senior year and the Boilermakers have a legitimate 7-footer in A.J. Hammons. They will make the tournament, but it will be a battle.

8.   Northwestern -- Can the Wildcats improve with Drew Crawford back from shoulder surgery? New coach Chris Collins has some potential to work with.

9.   Minnesota -- The Gophers could overachieve within a certain context, but their extreme frontcourt thinness will be tough to overcome. With a new coach and a new system for the team to adjust to, 2013-14 will be a bit of an experiment.

10.  llinois -- Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson are gone, and it will take some time for Tracy Abrams, Joseph Bertrand and Co. to adjust.

11.  Penn State -- I was tempted to pick the Nitany Lions higher because I think they have the potential to be a surprise team with Tim Frazier rejoining DJ Newbill in the backcourt. Still have to find help up front, though.

12.  Nebraska -- I think Tim Miles is getting players to buy in and slowing building this program. The problem is, it's the Big Ten. The Huskers need another year.

Preseason awards:

COY: Tom Crean -- Crean has a solid floor general in Ferrell; the rest will fall into place. The Indiana coach has a ton of youth, but will finish in the top 4 anyway.
POY: Gary Harris -- The 6-4 guard was one of the toughest freshmen I've witnessed a year ago. Now, his diverse offensive game will make him a force to be reckoned with for Michigan State.
FOY: Noah Vonleh -- Expect Indiana's 6-8 McDonald's All-American to make an impact right away, both in the paint and from the perimeter.
DPOY: Aaron Craft -- The pink-cheeked Ohio State senior is always willing to do the dirty work and while he isn't flashy, he can shut opposing floor generals down in an instant.

All-Big Ten teams:

First team:
Aaron Craft (Ohio State)
Gary Harris (Michigan State)
Mitch McGary (Michigan)
LaQuinton Ross (Ohio State)
Adreian Payne (Michigan State)
 
Second team:
Tim Frazier (Penn State)
Glenn Robinson III (Michigan)
Yogi Ferrell (Indiana)
Keith Appling (Michigan State)
Noah Vonleh (Indiana)
 
Third team:
Andre Hollins (Minnesota)
Aaron White (Iowa)
Will Sheehey (Indiana)
Sam Dekker (Wisconsin)
AJ Hammons (Purdue)
 

Others considered: Branden Dawson (Michigan State), Nik Stauskas (Michigan), Austin Hollins (Minnesota), Sam Thompson (Ohio State), Ben Brust (Wisconsin), Roy Devyn Marble (Iowa), Terone Johnson (Purdue)

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