Although Indiana might be the league favorite in the preseason, many others expect to challenge.

And several of those were represented on Day 2 of the Big Ten Media Days Wednesday in Minneapolis. There at the Target Center, the men’s and women’s coaches from 7 schools took the podium: Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State.

Here are the 5 biggest takeaways:

How long for Izzo?

Could the end of the road be coming soon for Tom Izzo?

Not the way he sees it. The 28th-year coach at Michigan State has seen his contemporaries retire of late, like Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski and Jay Wright.

“I’m going to do it like Jay did,” Izzo said of Wright’s out-of-left-field retirement from Villanova following last season. “When it’s time that I don’t enjoy it, when it’s time I can’t take a redeye from Vegas to Orlando, it will be time to get out.

That is not where I’m at right now in any way, shape or form. In fact, going through what we went through at Michigan State, some issues a couple years ago, the COVID, I’m looking at it just the opposite. I’ve got some things I’d like to accomplish as a coach, for Michigan State (and for) our league. We have to win another Big Ten Championship. ‘We’ meaning Michigan State, but ‘we’ meaning the Big Ten (on a national level).

“I’d like to make our university better, my program better. I’ve been in this league so long that I’d like to continue to grow the Big Ten into what could be the greatest, I think is the greatest basketball, but I think could be the greatest conference in the country in all sports.

“I’ve got a while yet.”

Badgers relishing ‘dog role … again

Wisconsin is getting used to being slighted.

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A year after being picked 10th in The Athletic/Columbus Dispatch media poll, then exceeding expectations by winning a share of the Big Ten regular-season title, the Badgers are back down at No. 9 again in the preseason thoughts of many.

“I never really get wrapped up into whether we’re picked 1st or 14th or anywhere in between,” coach Greg Gard said. “At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter. You still have to go play the games. I think last year, if there was ever a story line that kind of washed all that pre-season prediction stuff out, that was it.”

The slight is understandable, but is it warranted? It’s not as if Gard’s group is without talent. Sophomore point Chucky Hepburn moves into a lead role now after the early NBA departure of star Johnny Davis, plus Wisconsin has veteran bigs Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl. It’s likely they’ll continue to embrace the underdog status.

“The players I’m sure see it. They don’t live under a rock, so …,” Gard said. “If they use it as motivation, great. But at the end of the day you still have to go play the games, compete and take them one at a time. I know that sounds cliché, but really it’s an approach we’ve used for decades in Madison.

“Regardless of where they have us picked, we have 20 Big Ten games coming in front of us, a tough non-conference slate prior to that. I’m looking forward to it. I love the competition. Our players are very competitive by nature. Like I said, last year’s group really was the poster child for defying expectations and becoming the best you can be. That’s really all we concentrate on each day.”

Hoiberg hot?

If Nebraska is going to take a step forward under the guidance of Fred Hoiberg, then the time should be right now.

It might need to be if Hoiberg is to earn stability as the head coach of the Cornhuskers. Now in his 4th year in Lincoln, Hoiberg’s not yet been able to turn the corner with the Nebraska program. Last season, the Huskers finished in a tie for last in the league (with Minnesota) at 4-16 and won only 10-of-32 games total. Hoiberg is 24-67 in his first 3 seasons.

Considering the environment at Nebraska right now — AD Trev Alberts fired football coach Scott Frost last month — wins might be needed right away.

As he’s typical done during his collegiate coaching career, first at Iowa State and now at Nebraska, Hoiberg has sought answers in the transfer market. This year, he’s brought in 4, including North Dakota State guard Sam Griesel, forward Juwan Gray (Alabama) and Derrick Walker (Tennessee). It’s made the Cornhuskers an older team, which Hoiberg hopes will help get them over the top, after the young group last season, led by then-freshman Bryce McGowans (who is off to professional basketball), couldn’t win close games, especially early in the season.

“We lost some heartbreakers, missed free throws, missed blockouts, some things that could have gotten us over the hump,” Hoiberg said.

“If you’re confident, you find a way to win those close ones. By losing our close games early, that had us on the wrong side. Once we got it going at the end of the year, that’s what I envisioned that team, was hoping that team to come together.”

New faces in Columbus

Ohio State might be a dark horse candidate for a Big Ten title this season, especially if coach Chris Holtmann can mesh all his new personnel quickly.

Only 23 percent of his player minutes return, with the biggest departures being EJ Liddell and Malaki Branham. But Holtmann and the Buckeyes responded by pulling in the Big Ten’s No. 1 recruiting class (and 8th nationally), per 247sports, which includes 4 4-stars ranked in the top-75 in ’22, including forward Brice Sensabaugh. But there’s also 4 transfers on campus, including Isaac Likekele, who recorded 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 400 assists in his career at Oklahoma State. And OSU gets versatile veteran Justice Sueing back, after he missed most of last season with an injury.

“The Bahamas (foreign tour in early August) helped us learn some things about our group,” Holtmann said of the newcomers. “You had a chance to play (vs.) some older guys. I just think [competing] in a really physical game that we had against some of those older teams that we played over there, that was helpful.

“I think we are seeing that on a regular basis. There’s a physical element now to how we’re playing, how we’re trying to play. You get an idea maybe who’s ready for that.”

Defending Minneapolis

The Target Center in Minneapolis is hosting the Big Ten Media Days this year.

It comes with reason: The site is hosting the Big Ten women’s tournament this season and next, and the men will play there as well in 2024. But it’s also caused travel issues for media attempting to cover the event. League commissioner Kevin Warren has tried to ward off the criticism during his moments at the podium by pointing out ties that conference coaches have to the Twin Cities.

Minnesota coach Ben Johnson was asked about it.

“I think sometimes we live in a world where a lot of things get criticized. I don’t know if you can make a right move, right? There’s always going to be something said either way,” the 2nd-year Minnesota coach said.

“But I think when you have a Big Ten tournament that’s going to be played here these next couple years, you have a city that does a great job hosting. We’ve almost hosted every major sporting event, whether it’s an All-Star Game, a Super Bowl, NBA Playoffs.”