The holidays are coming up and that means one thing, conference play is about to start. We are almost two months into the season and the Big Ten has already played a handful of games in conference. From the play we have already seen, we can pretty accurately assess the needs of each Big Ten team and see what each Big Ten team wants for Christmas this year.

What Each Big Ten Team Wants for Christmas

Illinois: Some Help for Terrence Shannon

Illinois has been on fire to start the year, particularly Terrence Shannon Jr. who is scoring 20 ppg this season. A great Christmas gift for him would be a night off. He has been carrying the Illini on his back as the second-highest scorer, Marcus Domask, is only scoring 11.8 ppg. No one else is scoring in double digits. If a third option can emerge for Illinois, they could win the Big Ten this year.

Indiana: Three-Point Shooting

The Hoosiers have started the season pretty well. They have not been amazing, but they have a few solid wins and played close against Kansas over the weekend. However, the one glaring weakness of the team is its three-point shooting. The Hoosiers shot 28.5% from deep, which ranks 320th in the country. Having a knockdown shooter is definitely at the top of Indiana’s Christmas list.

Iowa: Defense

Fran McCaffery’s squads have never been known for their elite defense, but this season Iowa has been particularly bad on the defensive side of the ball—the Hawkeyes rank 130th in Kenpom this year. Iowa will need to step up its game in Big Ten play.

Maryland: Three-Point Shooting

Similarly to Indiana, Maryland has struggled from deep this season. However, the Terrapins have been even worse. Maryland has shot 25.5% from three this season, last in the power five. Although they did shoot better in their game against Alcorn State, one consistent shooter could go a long way for the Terps.

Michigan: Consistency

On and off the court, Michigan has been inconsistent this season. On the court, they started off strong with a blowout win against St. John’s. Following that, they have struggled against some very beatable teams. Off the court has arguably been even shakier. Rumors of Juwan Howard’s departure have been swirling following accusations of an altercation between him and strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson. Michigan could really use a few weeks of stability this season.

Michigan State: A Big Man

The Spartans have been off to a shaky start and a lot of that can be attributed to a lack of presence in the paint. Returning center Mady Sissoko has hardly made a difference this year; he only averages 4.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Five-star freshman center Xavier Booker has not lived up to expectations and has barely seen the floor in the past few games. If Tom Izzo wants his team to be a factor in March they will need to figure out their frontcourt situation as soon as possible.

Minnesota: A Bench

The Golden Gophers have been a pretty surprising team so far this season. While they have not been incredible by any stretch of the imagination, they have been significantly improved. Dawson Garcia has looked very good and Cam Christie could possibly be Big Ten Freshman of the Year. But, other than center Pharrel Payne, Minnesota’s bench options have been lacking.

Nebraska: Respect

What the Cornhuskers need isn’t on the court, it’s in the media. Nebraska has some nice wins against Kansas State and Michigan State. Fred Hoiberg’s squad has really stepped up this season. If they continue to play this well, we could see a good season in Lincoln this year. A little respect could do wonders for the Nebraska program this Christmas.

Northwestern: Big Men

Northwestern has had a puzzling season thus far. They took down Purdue a few weeks ago then followed it up by losing to Chicago State and Depaul. Boo Buie has been incredible but has received little help from his frontcourt. Northwestern’s leading rebounder is Brooks Barnhizer who is a guard. If they want to compete in the Big Ten, the Wildcats will need to find an inside presence.

Ohio State: Depth

Ohio State has a great big three of Bruce ThorntonRoddy Gayle, and Jamison Battle. But after that, they aren’t quite as good. If they can find a more reliable sixth man, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Buckeyes make a deep run in March.

Penn State: Defense

The Nittany Lions have started off the season pretty poorly, which was emphasized by a home loss to Bucknell a few weeks ago. Penn State has a few good scorers in Ace Baldwin and Kanye Clary, but the Nittany Lions have not found their stride on defense this season. They are close to the 150th-ranked defense on Kenpom and they let up 72.4 points per game.

Purdue: A Deep Tournament Run

Purdue is another school that doesn’t need anything on the court for Christmas. Purdue has struggled in the NCAA tournament in the past few years. They lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year and haven’t made the Elite Eight since 2019. The Boilermakers need to make a deep run in March Madness this year.

Rutgers: Offense

Over the past few years, Steve Pikiell has established Rutgers as one of the best defensive teams in the country. But, they have continued to struggle on offense. The Scarlet Knights are averaging 69.1 ppg and rank 192nd in offensive efficiency. Rutgers needs to improve its scoring if it plans to make it back to March Madness.

Wisconsin: Faster Pace

Greg Gard has built his reputation as a slow defense-first coach who uses the entire shot clock on offense. While this style can win you games, it is ineffective in the postseason. Wisconsin ranks 324th in tempo this season. This Christmas, Wisconsin could pick up the pace to help them spring into the new year.

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.