Preseason Rankings and Expectations 2021-22

Michigan at No. 8 in Jeff Borzello’s latest rankings.

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Some hot take and no-holds-barred takes in that three man weave article:

RE: Dickinson - “Though his goofy short, choppy running stride with his arms nearly straight down at his side may lead one to overlook Dickinson’s effectiveness, those who watched the big man work (and played against him) realized he was the real deal.”

RE: Zeb - “His size/length and smooth-looking lefty stroke are assets in the backcourt, but it’s highly likely he’s been recruited over, and we see his name in the portal next year”

As an admitted member of the Goofy Looking Runner Club, I’ll point to NPOY Luka Garza as evidence that it’s still possible to succeed in the face of that particular malady.


Some food for discussion… Athlon’s preseason magazine is out and has a top-100 players list. How about some of these from the Big Ten:

Kofi Cockburn (No. 4), Trayce Jackson-Davis (No. 5), EJ Liddell (No. 9), Jaden Ivey (No. 10), Trevion Williams (No. 12), Hunter Dickinson (No. 17), DeVante’ Jones (No. 25), Keegan Murray (No. 36), Eric Ayala (No. 42), Caleb Houstan (No. 54), Ron Harper Jr. (No. 63), Donta Scott (No. 66), Zach Edey (No. 70), Tyson Walker (No. 74), Qudus Wahab (No. 96) and Xavier Johnson (No. 98).


Full list: Indiana picked to finish 7th in Big Ten by Athlon Sports, Trayce Jackson-Davis named first team preseason All-American - Inside the Hall | Indiana Hoosiers Basketball News, Recruiting and Analysis

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They must’ve talked to Givony

They picked Michigan to win the conference which I would say is the correct pick if Davante Jones is the 25th best player in the country


You mean “chum for sharks” right?

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Am I way off base in suggesting that Trevion over Hunter is a pretty wild miss at the very least? I really like Liddell so I get some of that but … I just can’t get there with Trevion, or even Trayce – who is always ranked higher in the preseason lists than the postseason lists.


No I agree. I am not a TJD guy at all, and Trevion is capped by Edey

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You’re not off base at all. Now if Andre Curbelo doesn’t wind up as one of the 100 best players in the country (barring injury), I’ll be way off base.


Missed that he wasn’t on there. I like Ivey more than Curbelo (the Spartan Hoops list had them flipped) but Curbelo is easily one of the top PGs in the Big Ten.


Some very interesting rankings in there… I sure hope DeVante Jones is that good. Trevion Williams and Eric Ayala both look severely overrated here to me.


Even if Trevion was playing as much as Hunter, he’s still a huge problem on defense and as good a passer as he is there’s no way that’s making up the difference. If you want to take Kofi over Hunter, I think I get it even if I’m not completely sold. But he’s clearly the next guy if so.

  1. Hunter
  2. Kofi
  3. TJD
  4. Trevion
  5. Liddell

is where I’d put them right now without thinking too hard about it. Hunter & Kofi are in a tier all their own.


Ivey and Curbelo are gonna be so much fun to watch. In all probability they’ve gotten a lot better but either could explode pretty spectacularly too.

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What I find interesting is that they project both DeVante and Kobe ahead of Eli. Seriously, when I began reading and saw Kobe at #10, I thought that meant we’d have three guards in the top ten. In their discussion of Kobe they talked of “big minutes” being “commanded” by both DeVante and Eli. So, on the one hand they pretty much imply that Eli will be the starter saying he’ll “command big minutes” and that, therefore, there won’t be a lot of guard minutes for Kobe, but then they don’t put Eli in the top ten. :thinking: Pretty senseless, I think. But then it IS a Spartan publication. :wink:


The Bufkin write up (and argument for Bufkin over Brooks) was done by our own @buckets12 so take it up with him! :joy:


That was me, I’ll take the heat on Brooks/Bufkin (but I don’t think I’ll look crazy at the end of the season). I am a self-admitted Bufkin stan who thinks he has a very real shot to go one and done, so I did argue for that. The precedent for McDAA guards in the conference has been impact player in year one…I get he has to work his way onto the floor but there’s ways for him to get 25-30 minutes a game even with Jones and Brooks both at 30 too.

Eli was originally going to be on the Spartan Hoops list and I’ll be honest I argued against it. He’s obviously a luxury for any good team to have, but he’s a 9 PPG guy playing 32 minutes a night shooting 42% from the floor, and while he is an overall good defender, against bigger guards (Washington, Juzang) he really struggled. I will be curious to see where he falls on the UMhoops top 25 list…if I recall correctly, he hasn’t ever made that one in four years. We know what Eli is, IMO. A great off-ball piece for a winning team, but not someone who’s going to rack up individual accolades in comparison to other guards in the league.


[quote=“silverblue, post:15, topic:10824, full:true”]. In their discussion of Kobe they talked of “big minutes” being “commanded” by both DeVante and Eli. So, on the one hand they pretty much imply that Eli will be the starter saying he’ll “command big minutes” and that, therefore, there won’t be a lot of guard minutes for Kobe, but then they don’t put Eli in the top ten. :thinking: Pretty senseless, I think. But then it IS a Spartan publication. :wink:

It’s not impossible for Jones and Brooks to command big minutes and for Kobe to also get to 25. This is what I see as likely, and if Kobe’s as good as I’m hopeful he will be, you could easily give him the 10 that are slated for Collins/Zeb and he has 30-35 to work with.

The backup 3 minutes have to go somewhere, and the competition is Bufkin, Nunez, Barnes, and TWill playing out of position. I’m bullish that Houstan will end up playing a bit at the 4, which opens up a ton of possibilities for Bufkin at the 3.

Jones 30 Collins or Zeb 10
Brooks 30 Bufkin 10
Houstan 20 Bufkin 15 TWill 5
Johns 10 Diabate 15 Houstan 10 TWill 5
Dickinson 25 Johns 10 Diabate 5

I don’t need to “take it up” with anyone (I know you we’re kidding!) , we’ll just see what happens, BUT my main concern is that Eli was left out of the top ten. He is a top ten guard in the B1G. As those who have read my stuff know, I’m a BIG Eli fan and have been for the past four years, soon to be five. If someone else isn’t an Eli fan, that’s their problem. AND I’m also a huge Kobe Bufkin fan.

I had also written but then thought better of it, about the fact that the Spartan folks (or whoever it was that wrote it :wink:) had Kobe tied with Akins. Akins is really good and the Sparties are going to love him, but Kobe is generally rated higher and is a McDonald’s AA!

First, I’ve had this conversation before re: Kobe playing the three. Now, he “may” play some minutes at the three. We will need backup minutes there and Kobe is a tough kid and a heckuva competitor, so he may very well get some time there, though I think TWill will have something to say about those minutes. But if Kobe plays the three then those aren’t guard minutes. Oh, I forgot, people love to talk about “three guard lineups.” Does that count? You know, if Kobe’s playing the three but they “call” it a “three guard” lineup? I don’t know, I guess you’d have to ask the Sparties about that!

Finally, whoever wrote the article for the Sparties, himself (or herself), mentioned the strength factor of Kobe playing the three in the physical B1G as being a concern. Anyway, fun discussion, but as I said, “we’ll see.”

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