Now that we've finished the team projections, we're going look at what we can expect from individual players. First, the easy part - identifying the conference's best players. All of these guys were pretty good last year, so they weren't exactly hard to find. Unlike most individual awards, however, we're not taking team performance into account.
Kevin Coble, F, Northwestern
17.3 Defensive Rebound Percentage
It was criminal to leave Coble off of the All Big Ten 1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams last season. It certainly didn't help that Northwestern won only one conference game last season, but that wasn't Coble's fault. There weren't many players who took so many shots for their team, and converted them at such a high rate. Coble also boasts a very low turnover rate (12.6) and while he's not point guard, he does involve his teammates (12.0 Assist Rate). Northwestern should be improved this season, and that should improve Coble's chances for postseason accolades.
Raymar Morgan, F, Michigan State
9.3 Offensive Rebound Percentage
15.5 Defensive Rebound Percentage
Morgan's third year in East Lansing figures to be his last. Last season, Morgan demonstrated only two shortcomings in his game: his outside shot (27.8% 3P percentage), and his turnover rate is a bit high (20.4) for a player who spends so much time in the paint. That said, Morgan is a tenacious rebounder and converts a high number of shots. With Neitzel gone, Morgan will be the focal point for Michigan State's offense. If Michigan State makes a run for the Big Ten title, Morgan is in line for player of the year.
E'Twaun Moore, G, Purdue
24.3 Assist Rate
12.9 TO Rate
Last season, Moore made the 2nd team All-Big Ten, while teammate Robbie Hummel was put on the 1st team. Despite that, I predict Moore will have the better season this year. Moore played more minutes, took more shots, and had slightly better assist and turnover rates as well. Hummel's advantage was entirely in his higher eFG (59.5). While it makes sense that the 6-8 Hummel will hold his advantage in 2 point shooting, it will be difficult for Hummel to duplicate his sizzling 3 point success (47.6% in conference). Purdue will count on both players to have big seasons to help make up for the loss of Scott Martin.
Manny Harris, G, Michigan
22.0 Assist Rate
22.7 Turnover Rate
I can't determine if this is a controversial choice or not. Harris is the conference's leading returning scorer (16.9 points per game in conference), so this choice fits well with "conventional stats." However, Manny's tempo-free stats were not pretty last season. In particular, his 45.6 eFG. But looking behind the numbers, Harris' eFG figures to go up significantly this season. As a 6-5 guard, Manny's 2 point percentage figures to improve (41.1%). His 81.7% FT percentage foreshadows improvement in his 3 point percentage as well.
Robbie Hummel, F, Purdue
21.6 Assist Rate
13.5 Turnover Rate
There's a lot of numbers for Hummel listed, because he's easily the conference's most versatile player. Simply put, Hummel did it all last season, and he's going to have to do even more this season, now that Purdue's frontline is a little thinner. Hummel is unlikely to duplicate his sky-high eFG on a larger shot diet - no shame in that - but so long as he's able to keep it better than 50-52% he's going to be a very productive player.