ROSEMONT, Illinois – Purdue guard Carsen Edwards was named the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year by panel of conference media members, the conference announced Thursday.
Edwards was the first player since Robbie Hummel in 2008 to earn the preseason honor.
He and Wisconsin forward Ethan Happ were the only players to be unanimously named to the preseason All-Big Ten team, as well.
“He's a very dynamic player,” coach Matt Painter said of Edwards. “He's unique from a physical standpoint. He's kind of got the body and the explosiveness like a (New York Giants running back) Saquon Barkley.”
Despite Edwards' status as the best player attending Thursday's Big Ten Media Day, his name card at the Purdue table featured an incorrect spelling of his first name, spelling it “Carson.” The junior guard corrected the error with a pen.
Joining Edwards and Happ on the 10-player team are Indiana senior Juwan Morgan and freshman Romeo Langford.
Longer conference schedule discussed
This season, for the first time, Big Ten teams will play 20 conference games. Teams have played 18 games in recent years, but the conference wanted to add more high-profile matchups in November and December, according to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney.
Each team in the league will have one home game and one away game Nov. 30-Dec. 6.
“We shouldn't give up November and December,” said Delaney, who is in his 30th year as Big Ten commissioner. “We're going to try to have more meaningful games. ... We're not going to go to cede the college sports scene to college football.”
Most coaches expressed support for the expanded conference schedule, because it will help their Strength of Schedule numbers in NCAA Tournament consideration. Michigan coach John Beilein said he'd even be open to expanding further.
“If (Delaney) said we're going to go to 22 or 24 (games), what do you, think about going to 26, I'd say, 'You know what, let's do it,'” Beilein said. “Scheduling is really, really hard. ... Getting home games for your students in December is everything.”
National title on horizon?
A Big Ten team hasn't won a national championship since Michigan State in 2000. Since then, a team from the conference has made the title game seven times, including Michigan last season, but has lost each game.
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon acknowledged the drought, but said the league remains among the upper echelon of conferences.
“We'll break through,” Turgeon said. “We're gonna have to answer that question until we break through, but since 2010, we've been one of the top two leagues (with the ACC), consistently, in the country.”