Every year I am happy to organize the SB Nation Big Ten basketball teams. I contact the respective conference blogs and ask for at least one ballot from each site. This year I received 16 ballots:
BT Powerhouse - Thomas Beindit
Corn Nation - Patrick Gerhart
Bucky’s 5th Quarter - Drew Hamm
The Champaign Room - Matt Rejc, Quentin Wetzel, Tristan Kissack,
Crimson Quarry - Luke Norton
Hammer & Rails - Travis Miller, Jace Jellison, Kyle Holderfield, Andrew Holmes
InsideNU - Daniel Olinger
Land-Grant Holyland - Connor Lemons
Maize N’ Brew - Von Lozon
The Only Colors - Ryan O’Bleness
On the Banks - Aaron Breitman
And here are the selections:
SB Nation Big Ten Player of the Year: Keegan Murray - Iowa
This was a very, very close vote, as Murray edged Johnny Davis of Wisconsin by an 9-6 margin. Jaden Ivey also received one vote from Von at Maize N’Brew. Murray has been excellent though. He leads the Big Ten at 23.3 points per game and has helped Iowa have the No. 1 scoring offense in the conference. Davis faded a little bit late, but he also is a worthy candidate.
SB Nation Big Ten Freshman of the Year: Bryce McGowens - Nebraska
This was the closest vote yet, as McGowens edged Ohio State’s Malaki Branham 9-7. McGowens finished in the top 10 in scoring at 17.2 points per game and he averaged 5.3 rebounds per game. Branham has had an excellent debut season at 13.2 points per game.
SB Nation Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year: Caleb McConnell - Rutgers
Last year there was a wide array of selections for this honor, but this year we have a unanimous winner. McConnell led the conference by a wide margin with 67 steals. He was the best perimeter defender int he league and a major reason that Rutgers has hte top defense in the league.
SB Nation Big Ten Coach of the Year: Greg Gard - Wisconsin
Gard was the overwhelming pick here, and with good reason. In the preseason Wisconsin was picked near the bottom of the league, but instead they won a share of the title. The Badgers won close game after close game and took down league favorite Purdue twice. It was a great season for Gard and he is a more than worthy choice. He received 10 votes with the rest being scattered among four other coaches.
SB Nation Big Ten 6th Man of the Year: Trevion Williams - Purdue
Tre was a near unanimous selection here, receiving 14 of the 15 votes and only Michigan State’s Malik Hall nabbing one other. Not many teams have the luxury of bringing a player of Tre’s caliber off the bench, but it is no secret that when he is on, Purdue is a significantly better team. A special note for Patrick Gerhart of Corn nation, who named the Big Ten refs as the 6th Man. He’s not wrong.
As far as the actual all-Big Ten teams this year’s first team was nearly unanimous. Three of the five first teamers were named to the first team on everyone’s ballot. The methodology was simple: Each player with a First Team vote received 3 points, a Second Team vote was worth two, and a Third Team was worth one. Here we go:
SB Nation First Team all-Big Ten
Keegan Murray - Iowa - 48 points
Kofi Cockburn - Illinois - 48 points
E.J. Liddell - Ohio State - 48 points
Johnny Davis - Wisconsin - 47 points
Jaden Ivey - Purdue - 46 points
Liddell and Cockburn are repeat performers from last year’s first team, while the other three are here for the first time. Ivey and Davis are likely off to the NBA this season, but both are tremendous players that will be critical to their team’s postseason success. Cockburn was a third team member in 2019-20 as well.
SB Nation Second Team all-Big Ten
Trayce Jackson-Davis - Indiana - 32 points
Hunter Dickinson - Michigan - 30 points
Ron Harper Jr. - Rutgers - 29 points
Zach Edey - Purdue - 25 points
Jamison Battle - Minnesota - 15 points
Trent Frazier - Illinois - 15 points
A tie for the last spot gives us six members of the second team, but the first four selections were pretty universal. Jackson-Davis received two first team votes. He was a first team selection last year and a third team selection in 2019-20, so he joins Cockburn as the first players to be on the SB Nation list three times since I started doing this. Harper was on the third team a year ago and is the most dangerous man in the league with time winding down. Dickinson was also a second teamer last year.
SB Nation Third Team all-Big Ten
Trevion Williams - Purdue - 14 points
Bryce McGowens - Nebraska - 12 points
Alfonso Plummer - Illinois - 11 points
Payton Willis - Minnesota - 11 points
Brad Davison - Wisconsin - 10 points
Here is where the top freshman shows up. He joins Williams, who was a second teamer a year ago. Tre also gives Purdue three selections, one on each team, making their third place finish even more shocking. Illinois also put a player on all three teams.
The following players all received at least a Third Team nod on one ballot:
Malaki Branham - Ohio State (9 points), Pete Nance - Northwestern (6 points), Race Thompson - Indiana (5 points), Fatts Russell - Maryland (4 points), John Harrar - Penn State (3 points), Gabe Brown - Michigan State (2 points), Sasha Stefanovic - Purdue (2 points), Boo Buie - Northwestern (2 points), Max Christie - Michigan State (2 points), Alonzo Verge - Nebraska (1 point), Malik Hall - Michigan State (1 point), Tyler Wahl - Wisconsin (1 point), Geo Baker - Rutgers (1 point).
As always, a big thank you to my fellow writers for this. It is a lot of a work, but a lot of fun to track this all down.