Rarely has the matter of determining an all-conference first team been as self-evident as in the 2022-23 Big Ten.

The top 2 players in the conference are likely to finish 1-2 in voting for national player of the year. A  third will likely be a second team all-American.

The matter of determining the second and third team, however, is quite a bit more challenging.

The Big Ten is middle-heavy this season in both the standings and in terms of talent. You could probably make a compelling argument in favor of upwards of 20 players to earn the 10 second and third team spots.

There will certainly be many versions of an all-Big Ten team this season. This is ours — the 2023 Saturday Tradition Big Ten men’s basketball awards.

All-B1G Team

First Team

Hunter Dickinson, Michigan

Before anyone gets bent out of shape, these teams are listed in alphabetical order.

And though Dickinson hasn’t been the Big Ten’s top player this season, he certainly belongs in the top 5. The trash-talking star has backed up his words as of late as Michigan makes a late push toward an NCAA Tournament invite. Dickinson ranks 4th in the B1G in scoring (18.2 ppg) and rebounding (9 rpg).

Without his buzzer-beating 3 against Wisconsin, Michigan would be on the furthest reaches of the bubble.

Zach Edey, Purdue

Edey was a second teamer on last year’s Saturday Tradition all-B1G squad and leveled up with his increase in minutes this season.

Edey leads all power conference players in scoring (21.9 ppg) and is second in rebounding (12.8 rpg).

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana

Edey was the Big Ten’s most dominant player in 2023, but Jackson-Davis was the most well-rounded.

The Indiana center ranked second in scoring (20.5 ppg) and rebounding (11 rpg), led the league in blocked shots (2.8 bpg) and was 7th in assists (3.9 apg.) All 6 players ahead of Jackson-Davis in assists are guards.

Kris Murray, Iowa

Murray fit perfectly into the shoes of departed twin brother Keegan, and will be joining him in the NBA next season.

Kris tied Jackson-Davis with 20.5 points per game and finished 5th in the B1G with 8 rebounds per game.

Jalen Pickett, Penn State

Penn State has never produced an all-America men’s basketball player. If voters can ignore the fact Jalen Pickett has “Penn State” on the front of his jersey, that should change this year.

Pickett’s 42% assist rate leads the Big Ten and ranks 2nd in the nation. And though he dishes dimes out often, his assist-to-turnover rate is the 2nd-best in the league. Pickett, who also averages 18 points per game, ranks behind only Edey with a KenPom offensive rating of 122.7.

Second Team

Boo Buie, Northwestern

Buie has been the Big Ten’s most sensational point guard behind Pickett, leading the Wildcats toward just the second NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. Buie ranks 5th in the B1G with 19.1 points per game in conference play.

AJ Hoggard, Michigan State

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Hoggard is quietly becoming the on-court leader that the Spartans sorely missed last season. He doesn’t score at the same rate as fellow point guards Pickett, Buie and Jahmir Young, but he does distribute. Hoggard is 2nd in the Big Ten and 6th nationally in assist rate, and rates 3rd in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Brice Sensabaugh, Ohio State

Spoiler alert: Sensabaugh is the lone freshman on our all-Big Ten team.

It’s been a rough season for the Buckeyes, but it’s tough to lay any of that at Sensabaugh’s feet. No one has taken a higher percentage of their team’s shots this year, as it’s been necessary. He’s 8th in the B1G in scoring, 9th in field-goal percentage and 3rd in free-throw percentage.

Sensabaugh also ranks 6th behind our 5 first teamers in KenPom offensive rating.

Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois

When Shannon is on, so too are the Illini. Illinois is 7-3 in games in which he’s scored at least 20 points this season.

Shannon is the Big Ten’s most adept player at getting to the free-throw line. His 192 free throws are by far the most for a Big Ten player under 7-foot-4 and 305 pounds.

Jahmir Young, Maryland

With respect to Shannon, Young is the most impactful transfer in the Big Ten this season.

It’s not just that Young is 9th in the league in scoring and 4th in free-throw shooting. Young is a graduate of Maryland powerhouse DeMatha Catholic, which is just miles from campus and has produced 18 NBA players in its history.

Young, who transferred from UNC-Charlotte, is the first DeMatha grad to become a Terp since 2006. His second team performance may serve as a beacon to multiple future first teamers.

Third Team

Chase Audige, Northwestern

Audige is a central character in Northwestern’s defensive reinvention.

A year after ranking 115th nationally in turnover rate, the Cats are 29th. A lot of that improvement comes from Audige, who is 2nd in the Big Ten in steals. But he’s far from 1-dimensional, ranking 14th in the B1G in scoring while leading the Wildcats in 3-point shooting.

Dawson Garcia, Minnesota

There was a point this season when Minnesota looked close to turning the same corner that Nebraska’s program did this year. Then Garcia missed 5 games with an injury, and the Gophers lost them all and continued to backslide.

Even though Minnesota offers very little else for opposing defenses to worry about, Garcia finished 10th in scoring and 13th in rebounding. With a little bit of help, he could break through next year.

Seth Lundy, Penn State

Yes, that is correct. The only 2 teams with multiple players on our all-B1G team are historic afterthoughts Penn State and Northwestern. Welcome to the new world.

Lundy is 15th in the B1G in scoring with 14 points per game, with that average increasing to 14.4 ppg in Big Ten play. He is 10th in the league in both effective field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. And he doesn’t cough it up — Lundy has the 2nd-lowest turnover rate in the conference.

Lundy’s not a liability on the other end, ranking 11th in defensive rebounding percentage.

Clifford Omoruyi, Rutgers

Big Cliff is a reliable presence in the paint, ranking 3rd in the league in rebounding and blocked shots as well as 7th in field-goal percentage.

Omoruyi is Rutgers’ leading scorer with 13.5 points per game, which is 19th in the league.

Derrick Walker, Nebraska

Keisei Tominaga and Sam Griesel have more star power for Nebraska, but Walker is the guy who kind of makes everything work for the late-charging Cornhuskers.

Walker ranks 2nd behind Edey in field-goal percentage, and is also in the top 10 in rebounding, assists and effective field goal percentage. A sneaky-good player who we won’t ignore.

Big Ten Freshman of the Year

Brice Sensabaugh, Ohio State

Necessity has forced Sensabaugh to produce at a higher level than his fellow freshmen, so it’s a bit of a runaway for Freshman of the Year. But it also isn’t an award by default.

Michigan’s Jett Howard, Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino, Purdue’s Braden Smith and Wisconsin’s Connor Essegian have all had eye-opening performances this season. Sensabaugh has just had more of them.

Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year

Keisei Tominaga, Nebraska

Our Sixth Man of the Year is technically no longer a Sixth Man, but since he’s started less than half of Nebraska’s games, I’m deeming the Japanese Microwave eligible.

In 8 games since being inserted in the starting lineup, Tominaga is averaging 20 points per game and the Cornhuskers are 6-2. If Tominaga had earned the starting nod sooner, he’d likely be second team all-B1G.

Purists may insist on Iowa’s Payton Sandfort for Sixth Man of the Year, but we are happy to be impure.

Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

Caleb McConnell, Rutgers

Congrats to McConnell, who wins our Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight year. But it certainly wasn’t easy this time.

Fittingly, McConnell stole the Big Ten’s steals title from Audige on the final day of the season, finishing with 6 swipes against Northwestern to bring his average to 2.6 per game. Audige finished with 2.4 steals per game.

Being guarded by either is a guaranteed bad time.

Big Ten Coach of the Year

Chris Collins, Northwestern

Collins, who sat atop our preseason “most likely to be fired” hot seat, instead dunked on our heads like Vince Carter leaping over Frederic Weis.

After losing star forwards Pete Nance and Ryan Young to North Carolina and Duke in the transfer portal, Collins molded the Wildcats into a team built on tenacious backcourt defense. Northwestern is now the 2-seed in the Big Ten Tournament and could win its first Big Ten title in 90 years.

Amazing stuff.

Big Ten Player of the Year

Zach Edey, Purdue

Any other year in recent memory, Trayce Jackson-Davis wins Big Ten Player of the Year. Instead, it’s a bit like when Sammy Sosa finished with 66 home runs to Mark McGwire’s 70 — minus the suspected heavy steroid usage.

What would have been best almost any other season was 2nd-best this year. It was as fun a battle as there has been since Calbert Cheaney beat out Chris Webber in 1993.

Based on Ken Pomeroy’s Player of the Year rating, Edey is in the midst of the most dominant season for a college player since Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky in 2015.

We’re not about to ignore that level of historical greatness.