With Hoosier Hysteria just over two months away, it isn’t too soon to start thinking about the 2018-19 college basketball season. CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein is doing just that, releasing today via Twitter his views on the Big Ten power rankings and a number of individual honors.
Rothstein is a college basketball writer and on-air personality for CBS Sports, WFAN, and the FRS Sports Network. He is also an AP voter for the college basketball rankings.
It is always a healthy reality check to hear what independent voices in the national media are saying. Here is what Rothstein had to say about the upcoming 2018-19 Big Ten men’s basketball season.
Big Ten Power Rankings
1. Michigan State
10. Ohio State
11. Penn State
Fourth is a reasonable spot for the Hoosiers. There are legitimately between six and eight teams that could get hot and make a run. We see this as one of the more balanced and wide open Big Ten conference races in recent memory.
Rothstein also called Minnesota his “sleeper team.” We agree that the Gophers are likely to be much improved, but our top sleeper team for 2018-19 is Iowa, which returns its top eight scorers from last year.
Ten Impact Transfers- Evan Fitzner
Rothstein sees Fitzner making an impact for the Hoosiers this season. Known for his perimeter shooting, the 6-foot-10 St. Mary’s graduate transfer comes from a winning program, and can help space the floor for the Hoosiers.
Ten Breakout Players – Justin Smith
If his 48-inch vertical is any indication, Smith has nowhere to go but up this season. The Illinois native closed out the season strong in 2017-18. Finishing strong through contact around the basket is likely what will help him breakout in 2018-19.
Ten Under the Radar Freshmen – Robert Phinisee
This one just makes sense, and Archie Miller has already alluded to it in his press conference in May at the Huber Winery. As a true point guard, Phinisee fills a need and will likely see significant minutes from day one.
Fifteen Impact Freshmen – Romeo Langford
It isn’t clear whether Rothstein was listing players in any specific order, but Langford was listed first and it would be difficult to argue against the notion that he is coming in with the highest expectations. The New Albany, Indiana native is the top rated incoming recruit in the conference.
Noticeably absent from the freshmen categories is Ohio native Jerome Hunter. He seems like a lock to be a high impact freshman. Given his exclusion from these lists, for now the better description might just be “under the radar.”
All-Big Ten First Team – Juwan Morgan
This is why Morgan is coming back. After making the second team last year, first team All-Big Ten would reflect the progress that Morgan hopes to see to hear his name called in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Hoosier fans are of course hoping that Langford also makes a push for All-Big Ten first team honors. It will be a tall task with a crowded group of veterans rounding out Rothstein’s list:
- Carsen Edwards, Purdue
- James Palmer, Nebraska
- Juwan Morgan, Indiana
- Jordan Murphy, Minnesota
- Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
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