Spring football is over, the month long party from the Final Four weekend has ended and there is next to nothing going on in the college sports world. So let’s start thinking about next year’s Big Ten hoops season! Its of course way too early and a lot can happen in the next 5 months that will impact these teams, but I’ve got my predicted standings with a breakdown of what the teams are going to look like next year.

Predicted Standings:

1. Wisconsin
2. Ohio State
3. Iowa
4. Illinois
5. Nebraska
6. Michigan State
7. Maryland
8. Michigan
9. Indiana
10. Minnesota
11. Purdue
12. Northwestern
13. Penn State
14. Rutgers

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1.  Wisconsin              

                                        frank                                                               

Last year:  30-8, 12-6

Who they lose: Ben Brust – 12.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG

Impact players coming back:

Frank Kaminsky – 13.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG
Sam Dekker – 12.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG
Traevon Jackson – 10.7 PPG, 4.0 APG, 3.8 RPG
Josh Gasser – 8.8 PPG
Nigel Hayes – 7.7 PPG
Bronson Koenig – 3.5 PPG

New guys coming in: Ethan Happ, 6’7” SF, 3 stars

Outlook:

Being a Wisconsin blog, a longer proper breakdown is in order as the season gets closer, but things look very good on paper after a great 2013-2014 season. They should be the consensus pick for the top spot in the conference and things are set up nicely for another good season in 2014-2015, returning 7 of their 8 rotation players from a year ago. Losing Brust is probably going to be a bigger loss than most realize (they don’t go on the NCAA run without him), but the pieces are there to replace his production and improve in other areas.

2. Ohio State                                                                            

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Last year:  25-8, 10-8

Who they lose

Aaron Craft – 9.6 PPG, 4.7 APG
Lenzelle Smith – 11.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG
LaQuinton Ross – 15.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG
Amedeo Della Valle – 4.0 PPG

Impact guys coming back:

Shannon Scott – 7.9 PPG
Amir Williams – 7.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG
Sam Thompson – 7.9 PPG
Marc Loving – 4.4 PPG

New guys coming in:

Anthony Lee – 6’9” PF, 13.6 PPG, 8.6 RPG at Temple last year
Trevor Thompson – 6’11” 5.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG at Virginia Tech last year
D’Angelo Russell – 6’5” SG, 5 stars
Keita Bates-Diop – 6”7” SF, 4 stars
Jae’Sean Tate – 6’5” SF, 4 stars
David Bell – 6’9” PF, 3 stars

Outlook

Ohio State loses a ton from last year’s team, but after the offensive struggles they had throughout the year I doubt their fans are heartbroken. Thad Matta has reloaded for next year, bringing in the best transfer player on the market in Anthony Lee and the #21, #24 and #75 rated freshmen.

Perhaps I’m overrating the new players and Matta’s coaching abilities, and there may be some growing pains as there will be a lot of new blood in the program, but  I’m very optimistic on Ohio State next year. If Matta can get everyone to play together and buy in – look out.

3. Iowa 

 

Last year:  20-13, 9-9

Who they lose:

Roy Devyn Marble – 17.0 PPG
Zach McCabe – 6.1 PPG
Melsahn Basabe – 7.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG

aaron white

Impact players returning

Aaron White – 12.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG
Mike Gessell – 7.8 PPG, 3.9 APG
Jarrod Uthoff – 7.6 PPG
Adam Woodbury – 5.7 PPG
Josh Oglesby – 6.6 PPG
Gabriel Olaseni – 6.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG

New guys coming in:

Trey Dickerson – 6’1” PG, 3 stars (Juco)
Brady Ellingson – 6’4” SG, 3 stars
Dominique Uhl – 6’8” PF, 3 stars

Outlook

Iowa simply fell apart last year. Although they lose a lot with Marble, they return more than enough talent to be good next year. We’ll see what kind of lessons Fran McCaffery learned from last year. Iowa started out the year playing 10-11 guys per game with an aggressive offensive and defensive style. It was all fun. Then by the end of the year the defense became terrible and guys struggled to find their roles on offense.

McCaffery stuck with this gameplan through the year, culminating with a loss to Tennssee where only 3 guys played over 30 minutes in an OT game, and 11 guys saw action.

His ability to adjust and the growth of the returning core are key to the Hawkeye’s next season. Despite attempting to be an uptempo offense they really didn’t get much out of the PG position. Newcomer Trey Dickerson being able to help on that end would be huge. With such a skilled front line, better backcourt production could go a long way for Iowa next year.

4.  Illinois

 

Last year:  20-15 overall, 7-11 conference

Who they lose:

Joseph Bertrand – 8.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG

Impact players coming back

Rayvonte Rice – 15.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG
Tracy Abrams – 10.7 PPG
Nnanna Egwu – 6.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG
Jon Ekey – 7.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG

New guys coming in:

Leron Black – 6’7” PF, 4 stars
Michael Finke – 6’9” PF, 3 stars
Darius Paul – 6’8” SF, 10.4 PPG at Western Michigan in 2012-2013
Ahmad Starks – 5’9” PG,  10.4 PPG at Oregon State in 2012-2013
Aaron Cosby – 6’3” SG, 12.6 PPG at Seton Hall in 2012-2013

Outlook

Illinois started off started off last year looking very good, lost 10 of 11 Big Ten games where they looked terrible, then recovered by finishing the season 6-3, with wins over Michigan State, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and a close loss to Michigan.

So with that in mind, they have pretty much everyone coming back in addition to a highly rated recruit (Leron Black) and three impact transfers. This is as much talent as Illinois has had in a long time, but also a lot of new guys and returning pieces from tumultuous Big Ten campaign. It looks like a start of a turnaround, and we’ll have to see how Groce makes the pieces fit. For now its hard to not have them towards the top of the conference, just too much talent there.

5.  Nebraska 

 

Last year:  19-13, 11-7

Who they lose: Ray Gallegos – 7.3 PPG

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 09 Wisconsin at Nebraska

Impact guys coming back:

Shavon Shields – 12.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG
Terran Petteway – 18.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG
Walter Pritchford – 9.2 PPG
Taj Webster – 3.9 PPG

New guys coming in:

Jacob Hammond – 6’10” C, 3 stars
Tarin Smith – 6’1” PG, 3 stars

Outlook

Nebraska has pretty much everyone coming back from a surprising tournament team last year, but I’m a little skeptical they can repeat last year’s success. The home court will continue to be a massive advantage for them, but they struggled to win on the road last year (3-8) and struggled against good teams (4-8 vs RPI top 50 teams). They have a good thing going and will have heightened expectations, but I don’t think they’re ready to compete for Big Ten titles just yet.

  6.  Michigan State 

 

Last year:  29-9, 12-6

Who they lose:

Gary Harris – 16.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG
Adrian Payne – 16.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG
Keith Appling – 11.2 PPG, 4.5 APG

Impact guys coming back:

Denzel Valentine – 8.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG
Travis Trice – 7.3 PPG
Branden Dawson – 11.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG

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New guys coming in:

Lourawls Nair – 5’11” PG, 4 Stars
Javon Bess –  6’5” SF, 3 stars

Outlook:

Michigan State loses a TON in Harris, Payne and Appling, who did it all for them the past two plus years. Valentine, Trice and Dawson are battle tested, experienced and all have showed flashes that they could handle an expanded role. The problem is the depth behind them is very iffy. Kaminski, Costello and Schilling didn’t show a whole lot last year to suggest they’ll be more than just solid rotation players, and asking star recruit Lourawls Nair to be the PG from day 1 is going to be a challenge.

However it is an Izzo coached team, and they do bring back three solid pieces and are still capable of reaching the NCAA tournament. The issue is going to be the offense, where is the scoring going to come from? The overall size and defense from Sparty will keep them close with everyone, but perhaps limits the ceiling for the team next year.

 

7. Maryland

 

I’ve barely seen then play so can’t begin to preview them. We’ll put them here for now.

8.  Michigan

 

Last year:  28-9, 15-3

Who they lose:

Nik Stauskas – 17.5 PPG
Glenn Robinson III – 13.9 PPG
Jordan Morgan – 6.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG
Mitch McGary – 7.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG
Jon Horford – 3.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG
Impact guys coming back:
Caris LeVert – 12.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG
Derrick Walton Jr – 7.9 PPG
Zak Irvin – 6.7 PPG

New guys coming in:
DJ Wilson – 6’8” SF, 4 stars
Kameron Chatman – 6’7” SF, 4 stars
Austin Hatch – 6’6” SG, 3 stars
Ricky Doyle – 6’9” PF, 3 stars
Aubrey Dawkins – 6’4” SG, 3 stars
Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman – 6’4” SG, 3 stars

Outlook: Jon Beilein has been as successful as any coach in the country winning with young players, but is going to be tested big time next year. LeVert has star potential after breaking out during Big Ten play last year and you can probably assume a big jump in play from Derrick Walton Jr, but after that the lineup is full of complete question marks after losing the bulk of the rotation players from last year.

 

 

9. I ndiana 

crean face

Last year:  17-5, 7-11

Who they lose:

Noah Vonleh – 11.3 PPG, 9.0 RPG
Willy Sheehey – 11.4 PPG
Evan Gordon – 5.5 PPG
Jeremy Hollowell – 5.7 PPG

Impact players coming back:

Yogi Ferrell – 17.2 PPG, 3.9 APG
Troy Williams – 7.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG

New guys coming in:

James Blackmon -6’4” SG, 5 stars
Robert Johnson – 6’3” SG, 4 stars
Max Hoetzel – 6’7” SF, 3 stars

Outlook

The loss of Vonleh is a big one for Indiana. With him they would have had a potential all conference PG (Yogi), a star wing player (Blackmon) and a star low post player (Vonleh). Without him they are limited in what they can do.

Hollowell and Luke Fischer transferring out further depletes Indiana up front. While their backcourt has the potential to be one of the nation’s best, their lack of experienced depth and front court bodies is going to limit what they can do. Blackmon could be a potential star, and Indiana will need a lot out of him in his first year. A tournament berth seems to be a stretch at this point and would be a great accomplishment for the group.

10.  Minnesota 

 

Last year:  20-15 overall, 7-11 in conference

Who they lose:

Austin Hollins – 12.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG
Malik Smith – 7.2 PPG
Maverick Ahanmisi – 3.0 PPG

Impact players coming back:

Deandre Mathieu – 12.0 PPG, 4.2 APG
Andre Hollins – 13.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG
Maurice Walker – 7.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG
Joey King – 7.1 PPG

New guys coming in:

Josh Martin – 6’8” PF, 3 stars
Nate Mason – 5’11” SG, 3 stars
Carlos Morris – 6’4” SG, 3 stars (JuCo)

Outlook

Will be one of the more experienced teams in the B10, as most of the returning rotation players are Seniors. So that’s definitely a good thing, probably. The problem is the core players from last year were NIT champions, not NCAA tournament material. So the floor on the Gopher’s season is pretty high, but the ceiling is the issue.

11.  Purdue

 

Last year: 15-17 overall, 5-13 in conference

Who they lose:  

Terone Johnson – 12.0 PPG
Ronnie Johnson: 10.8

Impact Players coming back:

AJ Hammons -10.8 PPG, 7.4 RPG
Kendall Stephens – 8.0 PPG
Basil Smotherman – 5.0 PPG

A.J. Hammons

New guys coming in:

Isaac Haas – 7’2” C, 4 stars
Vince Edwards – 6’7” SF, 3 stars
Dakota Mathias – 6’4” SG, 3 stars
Jacquil Taylor – 6’9” C, 3 stars
P.J. Thompson – 5’10” PG, 3 stars

Outlook:

The loss of the Johnson brothers will obviously affect the Purdue offense but I think many Purdue fans welcome the change after a couple down years. I love Kendall Stephens as a sleeper All-Conference pick and AJ Hammons is an elite defender. There are still many question marks with Painters recent recruiting clases. Hammons needs to be much more consistent, especially on the offensive end, and Purdue needs a lot of the younger guys to step up.

 

12.  Northwestern

 

Last Year: 14-19 overall, 6-12 in conference

Who they lose:  

Drew Crawford 15.7 PPG, 6 RPG
Kale Abrahamson 3.8 PPG

Impact players coming back:  

JerShon Cobb – 12.12 PPG, 4.8 RPG
Tre Demps – 11.0 PPG
Alex Olah -9.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG

New guys coming int:

Victor Law – 6’6” SF, 4 stars
Scott Lindsey – 6’5” SG, 3 stars
Bryant McIntosh – 6’3: PG, 3 stars
Gavin Skelly – 6’8” PF, 3 stars

Outlook

With the loss of Drew Crawford, far and away their best player from last year’s team, much depends on the impact of the Freshman class. While a VERY good class by Northwestern standards, they are still likely a couple years away from pulling Northwestern from the bottom of the Big Ten

 

13.  Penn State

 

Last year:  16-18 overall, 6-12 in conference

Who they lose:

Tim Frazier – 14.9 PPG, 5.4 APG, 4.4 RPG

Impact players coming back:

DJ Newbill – 17.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG
Ross Travis – 8.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG
Brandon Taylor: 9.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG

New guys coming in:

Shep Garner – 6’2” SG, 3 stars
Isaiah Washington – 6’3” SG, Not ranked
Devin Foster – 6’1” SG, Not ranked (JuCo)

Outlook

Welp, it doesn’t look great. PSU loses their best player and doesn’t have a whole lot coming in. Newbill was a good volume scorer but that was about all he brought to the team. Ross Travis is a solid rotation player, but not a guy that’s going to be a star. Baring some unforeseen development from the young players, its projecting to be a tough year.

14. Rutgers

Same disclaimer with Rutgers as with Maryland. There is no way in the world I willingly watch Rutgers basketball, so we’ll throw them in last place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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