Surprise team: Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines were headed for a program-record third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance a season ago, likely with their best seed in coach Kim Barnes Arico's time in Ann Arbor. We all know why that didn't happen, but the canceled postseason makes it all too easy to forget the stories that were emerging beforehand. The good news for the maize and blue is that Michigan should be even better this time around -- maybe even Big Ten championship good. That starts with junior forward Naz Hillmon, but an extra year of eligibility for fifth-year guard Akienreh Johnson might yet prove to be one of the offseason's more underrated developments.
Emerging player: Dorka Juhasz, Ohio State Buckeyes
Due to a pandemic and Ohio State's post-Kelsey Mitchell stumbles the previous year, Juhasz enters her third season still waiting to play her first NCAA tournament game. But that is in no way a reflection on how ready the 6-foot-4 Hungarian's game is for the national spotlight. Juhasz is the Big Ten's returning leader in defensive rebounds. She's not far off that pace in offensive rebounds and blocks. She's a legit presence around the basket. But Juhasz also shot 40% from the 3-point line a season ago. She does all the modern game asks of its bigs