As far as preseason predictions, Indiana is the clear favorite in the Big Ten this season, with an overwhelming majority of prognosticators thinking the Hoosiers can win the league’s title. And nationally, IU is well-regarded too, with a preseason AP Top 25 ranking of No. 12, the program’s highest ranking in the last 6 years.

But are the lofty predictions warranted? Or are they a byproduct of hope? As in many are hoping — national pundits and IU fans alike — to see Indiana climb back toward its glory years of seasons past.

Mike Woodson and company are certainly thinking its the former, as the 2nd-year coach looks to build upon Indiana’s NCAA Tournament return last season with his eyes set on a strong regular season and beyond. But although Indiana has a lot of quality pieces returning, like the front-court combination of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson, along with point guard Xavier Johnson, the Hoosiers have question marks, as well. The biggest — and it seems like it’s been this for a half dozen years, at least — is whether they can shoot the ball from the perimeter. Indiana ranked 2nd-to-last in the Big Ten last season in 3-pointers made, and its 33.3 percent mark from beyond the arc was 10th in the conference.

Maybe freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino helps to give the Hoosiers extra perimeter scoring punch. The 6-foot-6 scorer, the 22nd-ranked prospect in his class by 247Sports, is likely to take over Parker Stewart’s position in IU’s starting lineup, joining returnees Miller Kopp, Johnson, Thompson and Jackson-Davis.

But the group has to show it can shoot the ball, or Indiana will play with a very small margin for error, like it did last season when the Hoosiers had to keep the game in the 60s to increase its likelihood for a victory. And that’s not a good formula for a Big Ten championship.

“I think we’ll be OK in that regard this year,” Woodson said of IU’s perimeter shooting during Indiana’s media day earlier this month. “It’s not like we’re not working on 3s. We shoot them every day. We shoot free throws every day. It’s just when you get to a game situation, you’ve got to feel comfortable and ready to knock them down. That’s my job, to relax them and get them in that position.”

Illinois: Luke Goode is out

With Illinois needing to replace all 5 of its starters from last season, Luke Goode was hoping for an increased role on the wing, perhaps even as a starter.

But that opportunity will be delayed. The sophomore broke his left foot during the Fighting Illini’s “secret scrimmage” with Kansas at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Miss., on Saturday, with surgery likely to come soon. No official timetable has been set for Goode’s return, but he tweeted on Monday indicating that he expects to be back this season.

“God has a plan for everything!!” he tweeted. “Can’t wait to watch my guys ball out the first half of the season. I’ll be back as soon as possible!!”

As a freshman last year, Goode averaged 2 points in about 9 minutes off the bench. Transfers Terrence Shannon Jr. (Texas Tech) and Matthew Mayer (Baylor) are likely to get a bulk of the minutes on the wing for the Illinois.

Wisconsin: Davis for Davis

In Iowa, Kris Murray’s attempt to fill the big shoes of his twin Keegan Murray, now a rookie with the Sacramento Kings, gets a lot of the Big Ten headlines.

But there’s another twin fill-in happening elsewhere in the conference, with Jordan Davis trying to take the minutes at Wisconsin vacated by twin Johnny Davis, who is in his 1st season with the Washington Wizards. But unlike in Iowa City — where Kris Murray is a known product after having averaged 9.7 points and 4.3 rebounds last season — Jordan Davis still hasn’t written a lengthy résumé in Madison.

Jordan Davis, a junior guard, played only 6.5 minutes per game last season, averaging 1.3 points in 27 games off the bench. But he’s hoping to make a big jump in 2022-23, perhaps even joining Chucky Hepburn in Wisconsin’s starting backcourt.

“He’s grown, probably mentally more than anything,” associate head coach Joe Krabbenhoft told “I think he’s going to continue to work his way into hopefully contributing to his team. I know that’s what he wants. We would expect that from a third-year guy who’s put in the time like he has.”

Point for Purdue

Purdue coach Matt Painter certainly wasn’t shy in his praise for freshman point guard Braden Smith during the Big Ten Media Days last month, saying then that he was astonished that the Indiana Mr. Basketball wasn’t ranked in the top-100 in the country.

“And you guys will have the same question after the first month of the season,” Painter said in Minneapolis. “He’s a really good player, can really pass, really competitive.”

Since the media days a couple weeks ago, Smith has only helped to solidify his coach’s strong stance, showing maturity and poise beyond his years during Purdue’s scrimmages. And perhaps his quick rise at point guard has helped to answer Purdue’s biggest question before the season.