ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten is bigger and, to Bo Ryan, it’s also better.
The Wisconsin coach sees the addition of Maryland and Rutgers as a boon for the conference that will expand recruiting for the newcomers and for Midwest schools that saw doors slammed by the formation of the Big East years ago.
“You’re opening up the East more to the Midwest, and you’re also opening up the Midwest for people who maybe want to go to the shore in the offseason,” Ryan said.
Ryan has a strong recruiting pitch at the moment, though.
Wisconsin is the unanimous pick to win the Big Ten after reaching the Final Four last season, and the Badgers’ Frank Kaminsky is the preseason Player of the Year.
Wisconsin returns four starters after going 30-8. The Badgers beat out Michigan State, last year’s Big Ten tournament champion, and Ohio State in the vote by conference media. The results were announced Thursday.
Kaminsky averaged 13.9 points and 6.3 rebounds as a junior last season. He is joined on the all-conference team by Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell, Michigan’s Caris LeVert, Nebraska’s Terran Petteway and Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker.
With the season approaching, the Big Ten has a different look with two new teams and a familiar question hanging over it. When will it produce an NCAA champion?
No Big Ten team has won it all since Michigan State in 2000.
“The Big Ten has had some great, great basketball teams,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “I don’t think that you can judge the conference, per se, by that we haven’t won it. You look at the overall success that we’ve had just in the time that I’ve been in there since 2004, I’m very pleased with where Big Ten basketball is.”