Welcome to the ultimate exercise in futility.

That’s right, folks, it’s time to predict where each and every Big Ten basketball team will conclude its 2022-23 season.

It’s a lot easier to do this in football. It was basically a coin flip over whether Ohio State or Michigan would run the table and reach the College Football Playoff, with most preferring the Buckeyes.

In college basketball, it’s a complete crapshoot. March is a very long time from now. And so much depends on the matchups that every permutation of the brackets provides.

Just ask Illinois, which must be wondering who it ticked off after drawing vastly under-seeded Loyola and Houston back-to-back years in the second round.

That being said, I’m somewhat proud of how last year’s predictions fared. Indiana (Round of 64), Michigan State (Second Round) and Minnesota (worst team in the Big Ten) proved accurate. Michigan advanced the farthest of any B1G team, though the Sweet 16 is decidedly not the national championship game.

Other predictions, like Iowa in the NIT and Maryland in the Sweet 16, were downright awful.

So here goes with the 2022-23 edition of the Big Ten basketball crapshoot.

Illinois

Prediction: Elite 8

Reason: Surely Illinois can’t lose in the second round again. Right? Right???

Two years ago, Loyola was a legit top 20 team that somehow earned an 8-seed. Last year, Houston was a legit top 10 team that somehow earned a 5-seed. On top of that, both played in styles that were an ideal antidote for what Brad Underwood’s teams do well. And I have a hard time believing the Illini will get that unlucky a third straight season.

Furthermore, Underwood has bolstered Illinois’ roster with players from a conference that actually wins NCAA Tournament games: the Big 12.

Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon Jr. and Baylor transfer Matthew Mayer will play significant roles in exorcising Illinois’ March demons.

Indiana

Prediction: Sweet 16

Reason: The Hoosiers are the Big Ten favorite, and thus have a very good chance at a top-3 seed. Winning a game in the First Four last year also gave Indiana a needed taste of NCAA Tournament play. For that matter, so did a deflating Round of 64 loss to Saint Mary’s.

IU will reach the second weekend for the first time since 2016, but I remain skeptical that the Hoosiers will shoot well enough to advance beyond that.

Iowa

Prediction: NCAA Tournament second round

Reason: You can attribute Illinois’ recent Tournament failures to bad draws. That’s not the case for the Hawkeyes, who have simply failed to show up the past 2 years despite having Final Four potential.

Richmond was by far the weakest 12-seed in last year’s Tourney, as proven in its blowout loss to Providence in the second round. But the Spiders were still good enough to beat Iowa first.

Kris Murray will do an excellent job filling brother Keegan’s shoes, and the Hawkeyes are a good dark horse pick to win the Big Ten title. They’ll avoid repeating last year’s embarrassment, but still won’t reach the second weekend.

Maryland

Prediction: NIT quarterfinals

Reason: Maryland is the least predictable team in the Big Ten this season. There’s little way of knowing how the Terps will gel under first-year coach Kevin Willard, who wasn’t an awe-inspiring hire.

I could see Maryland being the surprise of the B1G. Or playing on the first night of the Big Ten Tournament. So I’ve decided to hedge. The Terps will show enough improvement over last season to reach the NIT and make a mini-run.

Michigan

Prediction: Final Four

Reason: Somehow, someway, the Wolverines are always the last Big Ten team standing in the NCAA Tournament. And so it shall be again, even though it requires a number of new faces around veteran Hunter Dickinson to step up in a big way.

And even if there are struggles getting there during the regular season, the Wolverines will have it figured out by March. That’s what they do. Whether Michigan enters this Tournament as a 1-seed or an 11-seed, I see a trip to Houston.

Michigan State

Prediction: NCAA Tournament second round

Reason: Michigan State’s 2019 Final Four run marks Sparty’s only trip past the first weekend since 2015. And that run at least prevents Tom Izzo from being compared to late-career Bob Knight. But uncomfortable as this is for Michigan State fans to come to grips with, Michigan currently is the program that Michigan State was a decade ago — a guarantee to win a few games in March.

Minnesota

Prediction: Big Ten Tournament opening round

Reason: The Gophers are still the Big Ten’s worst team. Potentially by a significant margin.

Nebraska

Prediction: Big Ten Tournament second round

Reason: Even in November, you can pretty much write in Nebraska and Northwestern as the 12- and 13-seeds in the Big Ten Tournament with permanent marker. The Cornhuskers can at least get hot on offense, so I’ll give them the edge.

Northwestern

Prediction: Big Ten Tournament first round

Reason: There won’t be much enthusiasm for Chris Collins’ final game as Northwestern’s head coach. Or maybe that lack of enthusiasm will be for his interim coach when Collins is fired in late January.

Ohio State

Prediction: NCAA Tournament first round

Reason: It’s impossible for me to get a read on Ohio State’s transfer-laden lineup, but it gives off strong “playing in an 8 vs. 9 first-round game” vibes.

I see Ohio State back in the NCAA Tournament, but I don’t see it lasting long. Although the Buckeyes also have the potential of being like last year’s Wisconsin team — far better than I could have predicted.

Penn State

Prediction: NIT Final Four

Reason: The Nittany Lions still don’t have a ton of talent, but Micah Shrewsberry’s team is still a pain in the butt. And if Penn State reaches the NIT, they have a shot at making a run. Most opponents will prefer spring break to how hard you have to work to beat Penn State.

And any team projected for the NIT Final Four is clearly one that will be on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Penn State might be the Big Ten dark horse that Rutgers was last season.

Purdue

Prediction: NCAA Tournament first round

Reason: Call it a prediction with a twist. The Boilers will lose in the first round, but get there via a win in Dayton in the First Four. It only feels right for Purdue and Indiana to flip their positions from last season.

I’m skeptical of what Purdue will do without Jaden Ivey and Trevion Williams, but I also trust Matt Painter to find a way to get this team into the postseason.

Rutgers

Prediction: NCAA Tournament first round

Reason: Despite losing Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. to graduation — presumably both are doctors by this point — I’m bullish on the Scarlet Knights. The Paul Mulcahy to Clifford Omoruyi alley-oop reel is going to be something else. And Caleb McConnell is back as the Big Ten’s best defensive player.

Rutgers has an overall 10-seed feel to me, which equates to a likely but not certain first-round exit.

Wisconsin

Prediction: NCAA First Four

Reason: Pretty much every season I look at Wisconsin’s roster and think, “Yeah, they’ll probably be in Dayton. Too good to miss the Tourney. Not quite good enough to make it there outright.”

Last season, the Badgers went ahead and won the Big Ten with that analysis. So Wisconsin fans should probably be grateful that I’m making the exact same prediction as last season.