Big Ten Power Rankings: Offseason edition (part two)

  • 09/01/2016 9:34 am in

Plenty has changed in the Big Ten since May when we published our initial power rankings for the 2016-2017 season. Some rosters have changed and we’ve also learned the conference schedule, which is a significant factor given the league’s expansion.

With that in mind, here’s our updated forecast for next season’s conference standings with last season’s records in parenthesis:

14. Rutgers (7-25, 14th place)

· Returning: Corey Sanders, Mike Williams, Deshawn Freeman, Jonathan Laurent, Ibrahima Diallo, Shaquille Dorson, Nigel Johnson (Kansas State transfer becomes eligible)
· Arriving: Issa Thiam, Matt Bullock, Candido Sa, Eugene Omoruyi
· Departing: Bishop Daniels (graduation), Jalen Hyde (graduation), Omari Grier (graduation), Greg Lewis (graduation), D.J. Foreman (transfer), Justin Goode (transfer)

Outlook: Sorry Scarlet Knight fans. We’re still predicting a last place finish for the Big Ten team that resides in Piscataway. Rutgers should be a better team this season (how could they be much worse?), but it won’t be enough to escape the Big Ten cellar.


13. Minnesota (8-23, 13th place)

· Returning: Nate Mason, Jordan Murphy, Dupree McBryer, Ahmad Gilbert, Bakary Konate, Stephon Sharp, Gaston Diedhiou, Davonte Fitzgerald (Texas A&M transfer becomes eligible), Reggie Lynch (Illinois State transfer becomes eligible)
· Arriving: Amir Coffey (247Composite top 100), Eric Curry, Michael Hurt, Akeem Springs (graduate transfer from Milwaukee)
· Departing: Joey King (graduation), Kevin Dorsey (transfer), Carlos Morris (dismissed/graduation), Charles Buggs (transfer)

Outlook: Minnesota has some talent – mainly Mason and Murphy – and also welcomes a very solid recruit in Coffey. Still, the Gophers were awful offensively last season, which is going to have to change to avoid playing on Wednesday of the Big Ten tournament.

12. Nebraska (16-18, 11th place)

· Returning: Tai Webster, Glynn Watson, Jack McVeigh, Ed Morrow, Nick Fuller, Michael Jacobson, Anton Gill (Louisville transfer becomes eligible), Malcolm Laws
· Arriving: Isaiah Roby, Jeriah Horne, Jordy Tshimanga, James Palmer (Miami transfer, must sit out), Evan Taylor
· Departing: Shavon Shields (graduation), Jake Hammond (transfer), Johnny Trueblood (transfer), Benny Parker (graduation), Bakari Evelyn (transfer), Andrew White (transfer)

Outlook: We were bullish on Nebraska back in May, predicting the Huskers to finish eighth in the Big Ten. But that was with Andrew White on the roster. Now that he’s at Syracuse, look for Nebraska to take a step back this season.

11. Illinois (15-19, 12th place tie)

· Returning: Malcolm Hill, Aaron Jordan, Tracy Abrams (granted medical hardship waiver), D.J. Williams, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Leron Black (suspended for six games), Jaylon Tate, Maverick Morgan, Michael Finke, Mike Thorne (granted medical hardship waiver), Alex Austin, Kipper Nichols (Tulane transfer becomes eligible)
· Arriving: Te’Jon Lucas
· Departing: Kendrick Nunn (dismissed), Khalid Lewis (graduation), Mike LaTulip (transfer)

Outlook: There is enough talent the Illinois roster to finish much higher than this. But the schedule is difficult (double plays with Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan and Northwestern) and a lot of personnel questions. Can Abrams and Thorne stay healthy? Can Black stay out of trouble? And will Coleman-Lands take a step forward as a sophomore?

10. Iowa (22-11, 3rd place tie, NCAA tournament round of 32)

· Returning: Peter Jok, Ahmad Wagner, Nicolas Baer, Dom Uhl, Brady Ellingson, Christian Williams, Isaiah Moss, Dale Jones
· Arriving: Tyler Cook (247Composite top 100), Cordell Pemsl, Ryan Kriener, Jordan Bohannon, Maishe Dailey
· Departing: Brandon Hutton (transfer), Andrew Fleming (transfer), Jarrod Uthoff (graduation), Mike Gesell (graduation), Anthony Clemmons (graduation), Adam Woodbury (graduation)

Outlook: Our last impression of Iowa from last season wasn’t favorable. The Hawkeyes completely fell apart down the stretch. Now the program enters what appears to be a rebuilding season with Jok and a cast of others who are largely unproven.

9. Northwestern (20-12, 9th place)

· Returning: Bryant McIntosh, Nathan Taphorn, Scottie Lindsey, Vic Law, Dererk Pardon, Gavin Skelly, Jordan Ash, Sanjay Lumpkin, Aaron Falzon
· Arriving: Rapolas Ivanauskas, Barret Benson, Isiah Brown
· Departing: Alex Olah (graduation), Tre Demps (graduation), Joey Van Zegeren (graduation), Johnnie Vassar (transfer)

Outlook: Demps and Olah are significant losses, but Law is a breakout candidate and Falzon and Pardon should both be improved as sophomores. Still, Northwestern is probably a year away from a major leap.

8. Penn State (16-16, 10th place)

· Returning: Shep Garner, Josh Reaves, Payton Banks, Isaiah Washington, Julian Moore, Deividas Zemgulis, Mike Watkins, Terrence Samuel (Connecticut transfer becomes eligible)
· Arriving: Tony Carr (247Composite top 100), Lamar Stevens (247Composite top 100), Nazeer Bostick, Joe Hampton, Satchel Pierce (Virginia Tech transfer, must sit out)
· Departing: Brandon Taylor (graduation), Donovan Jack (graduation), Devin Foster (graduation), Jordan Dickerson (graduation)

Outlook: Buy now on a move up the standings for Penn State. The Nittany Lions added a legitimate freshman class that includes two top 100 players. And the schedule is favorable with double plays against Rutgers, Minnesota and Illinois.

7. Ohio State (21-14, 7th place, NIT second round)

· Returning: Keita Bates-Diop, Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams, JaQuan Lyle, Marc Loving, David Bell, Trevor Thompson
· Arriving: Derek Funderburk (247Composite top 100), Micah Potter, Andre Wesson, C.J. Jackson
· Departing: A.J. Harris (transfer), Daniel Giddens (transfer), Mickey Mitchell (transfer), Austin Grandstaff (transfer)

Outlook: The Buckeyes have talent, but their depth is thin and the schedule is not easy with two games against Wisconsin, Michigan State and Maryland.

6. Michigan (23-13, 8th place, NCAA tournament round of 64)

· Returning: Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin, Mark Donnal, Duncan Robinson, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Moritz Wagner, D.J. Wilson
· Arriving: Xavier Simpson (247Composite top 100), Jon Teske, Ibi Watson, Austin Davis
· Departing: Caris LeVert (graduation), Aubrey Dawkins (transfer), Ricky Doyle (transfer), Spike Albrecht (transfer), Kameron Chatman (transfer)

Outlook: We ranked Michigan’s Big Ten schedule as the toughest in the league and that’s reflected in this ranking. Simply put, the Wolverines caught no breaks with their league schedule that includes double plays with Michigan State, Wisconsin and Indiana.

5. Purdue (26-9, 3rd place tie, NCAA tournament round of 64)

· Returning: Isaac Haas, Vincent Edwards, Caleb Swanigan, Dakota Mathias, Ryan Cline, P.J. Thompson, Jacquil Taylor, Basil Smotherman
· Arriving: Carsen Edwards, Spike Albrecht (graduate transfer from Michigan)
· Departing: A.J. Hammons (graduation), Rapheal Davis (graduation), Grant Weatherford (transfer), Kendall Stephens (transfer), Johnny Hill (graduation)

Outlook: Purdue fans will view this as a slap in the face, but this placement is very much schedule driven. The Boilermakers play IU and Michigan State twice and have three difficult single play road games in Maryland, Michigan and Ohio State.

4. Maryland (27-9, 3rd place tie, NCAA Sweet Sixteen)

· Returning: Melo Trimble, Jared Nickens, Dion Wiley, Jaylen Brantley, Michael Cekovsky, Damonte Dodd, Ivan Bender
· Arriving: Micah Thomas, Anthony Cowan (247Composite top 100), Kevin Huerter (247Composite top 100), L.G. Gill (graduate transfer from Duquesne), Justin Jackson (247Composite top 100), Joshua Tomaic
· Departing: Jake Layman (graduation), Varun Rum (graduation), Rasheed Sulaimon (graduation), Diamond Stone (NBA early entry), Robert Carter (NBA early entry)

Outlook: The Terps will be talented and the schedule is more than favorable. Consider this: Maryland doesn’t have to play Indiana, Michigan State or Purdue on the road. And it will play Rutgers and Minnesota twice.

3. Indiana (27-8, Big Ten champion, NCAA Sweet Sixteen) 

· Returning: Thomas Bryant, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, OG Anunoby, Juwan Morgan, Collin Hartman, Josh Newkirk (Pittsburgh transfer becomes eligible), Tim Priller
· Arriving: De’Ron Davis (247Composite top 100), Curtis Jones (247Composite top 100), Devonte Green, Grant Gelon, Freddie McSwain
· Departing: Yogi Ferrell (graduation), Max Bielfeldt (graduation), Nick Zeisloft (graduation), Ryan Burton (graduation), Harrison Niego (transfer), Troy Williams (NBA early entry)

Outlook: The Hoosiers are a threat to repeat as Big Ten champions, but also have the difficult task of replacing Ferrell. The frontcourt will be strong and the backcourt is talented, but it’s never easy replacing a player as important as Yogi.

2. Michigan State (29-6, 2nd place, NCAA tournament round of 64)

· Returning: Eron Harris, Matt McQuaid, Gavin Schilling, Alvin Ellis, Lourawls Nairn, Kenny Goins, Kyle Ahrens
· Arriving: Miles Bridges (247Composite top 100), Cassius Winston (247Composite top 100), Josh Langford (247Composite top 100), Nick Ward (247Composite top 100), Ben Carter (graduate transfer from UNLV)
· Departing: Denzel Valentine (graduation), Bryn Forbes (graduation), Matt Costello (graduation), Colby Wollenman (graduation), Javon Bess (transfer), Marvin Clark Jr. (transfer), Deyonta Davis (NBA early entry)

Outlook: The Spartans have a solid mix of veterans and elite young talent, which should put them right back into the mix for the Big Ten title. The non-conference schedule for Michigan State is brutal, but expect it to pay dividends come conference play.

1.Wisconsin (22-13, 3rd place tie, NCAA Sweet Sixteen)

· Returning: Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig, Ethan Happ, Zak Showalter, Vitto Brown, Brevin Pritzl, Charlie Thomas, Jordan Hill, Alex Illikainen, Khalil Iverson, Andy Van Vliet
· Arriving: Aleem Ford, D’Mitrik Trice
· Departing: Riley Dearring (transfer), Jordan Smith (graduation)

Outlook: The Badgers return every notable player from a group that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last season. And the schedule is the most favorable of our projected top three, which will matter in a conference race that should be hotly contested.

Filed to:

  • straight no chaser

    LOL. Ok, I’ll take the blame.

  • straight no chaser

    I haven’t seen the “soul” of our team yet. No record to show as a team, although we have some great players. But I’m predicting a sweep of Wisconsin and an annihilation of Louisville for starters!

  • SilentBob

    And that’s why I love it. Puts some extra spice on a brewing rivalry. I bet ya OG and Juwan both heard, and haven’t forgotten.

  • John D Murphy

    Izzo traditionally hasn’t gotten as much value out of the freshmen. Even if two of those guys stay, MSU will be deadly next year. I think toughness and discipline that define MSU are lacking when they have too many freshmen playing. Maybe I’m not remembering correctly. Who is top 50 recruit that has been a go to guy on one of Izzo’s better teams.

  • CreanFaithful

    I think he meant “Here, here” is where straight no chaser predicted it. Bookmark it for reference…

  • John D Murphy

    Northwestern making the tourney. I’ll believe it when I see it. They’ll be one of those first five out that is a heart-breaking story blah blah blah.

  • John D Murphy

    Early in the season against a Pitino press? I’ll take a win but I would shocked if out ball handling and passing are good enough for an annihilation of Louisville. Hope you’re right and I’m wrong.

  • straight no chaser

    Okay, a bit of hyperbole here, but I feel this will be the season in which we finally put the Louisville and Wisconsin complex behind us.

  • pcantidote

    Izzo has never proven he can win with freshmen as the core of the team like Calipari does. He always has had a strong nucleas of Jr./Sr. leaders. I’ll wait and see, and won’t be surprised to see inconsistency.

  • IUBizmark

    I’m not going to take you literally on the every other season comment because Elite 8, Final Four, National Championship, NIT, National Runner Up, Final Four, Round of 32 isn’t disappointing to any reasonable basketball fan.

    As for MSU, I think schedules will be a factor and I agree they will take lumps early. You make a great point about losing 5 of their 7 top players. They’ll still have Schilling (Sr), Clark Jr. (Jr), McQuaid (So), Harris (Sr) and LouRawls Nairn (Jr) to build around. It’s not like they’re young. I know Izzo rarely features a freshman on his teams, but Coach K didn’t used to do that either. He evolved and placed more emphasis on star freshmen. Izzo seems to be doing the same, at least with this class.

  • IUBizmark

    See my comment above. You are right, but he’s chosen to win with more seasoned players. I think, at least for this season, he’s transitioning to a star freshman team.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    I can live with that answer. I haven’t seen the “soul” yet either, but I “feel” it deep in my gut that it’s gonna be a special year. And NO. That feeling in my gut has nothing to do with Mexican food this time…..

  • straight no chaser

    Well, if you’d had real Mexican food, you would have been feeling very soulful. Maybe you had the dish they serve at Trump Tower. LOL. But I’m glad you’re “feeling” it for IU.

  • straight no chaser

    Correction: it was CTC who couldn’t make up his mind what hand Stan should shoot with. Do we have to go there again?

  • straight no chaser

    Why do you think Stan went from shooting 45% to 33% from 2-point range (freshman to sophomore)? It wasn’t his idea initially to switch shooting hands.

  • or if Hartman merely looks at him. foul.

  • millzy32

    IU was a Sweet Sixteen team last year nothing more nothing less. I would entertain your argument if we were ever even in the game against North Carolina. It was a blowout from the start. I know they were a good team but it would be nice to have actually competed.

  • dwdkc

    You got me there, every 3rd year (I’d say this year was a disappointment). I think my distaste for UK tainted my memory. But I think a big part of UK’s success is the guys that stayed for second and third years. He’s getting the best talent overall, no doubt, which has led to that result.

  • IUBizmark

    I certainly don’t want to be “gotcha guy.” I would say that though some teams did disappoint, in the context of his whole tenure, it’s a huge success story. I also agree he could never have the success he’s had without some Sophomores and older on the team.

    Some folks would have you believe MSU should be discounted because they have three really good freshman. But they have as much if not more seniority than we do plus a top 3 incoming group of freshmen.

  • Outoftheloop

    UNC did NOT win the Championship, Nova did!

  • Outoftheloop

    KY has won only 1 Championship under Calipari!

  • Outoftheloop

    The correct answer is 1 in 7 years! KY, like IU, only counts Banners!

  • The Big Ten can’t have half of the Final Four every year. Sometimes shift happens.

  • I’m not sold on MSU this season and think there are surprises in store. But do expect a lot from IU and the badgers. I’d put IU on top of the heap and let the others sort out the rest.

  • Shows he was/is insecure and a second-tier talent. What a putz.

  • Agreed. I highly doubt he’ll finish the season as highly rated as he’s starting it.

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    But 1 in the last 7 years still sounds better than 0. Also, 4 Final Fours is nothing to sneeze at… I have banner envy.