It’s mid-June and a little less than five months separate us from the beginning of the 2018-2019 season.
A major offseason milestone was passed two weeks ago as the deadline to withdraw from the 2018 NBA draft occurred on Wednesday, May 30. With that deadline behind us, we now have a much clearer picture on who will be on each Big Ten roster.
Here’s our first attempt at forecasting next season’s conference standings:
· Returning: Geo Baker, Shaquille Doorson, Eugene Omoruyi, Myles Johnson, Mamadou Doucoure, Issa Thiam, Souf Mensah
· Arriving: Montez Mathis, Shaq Carter, Ronald Harper, Caleb McConnell, Jacob Young (transfer from Texas, must sit out)
· Departing: Candido Sa, Mike Williams, Deshawn Freeman, Matt Bullock (transfer), Corey Sanders (NBA draft)
Outlook: Steve Pikiell is slowly upgrading the talent level in Piscataway, but it’s no easy task getting out of the Big Ten cellar. Rutgers had some bright moments last season like a win over Seton Hall, but the Scarlet Knights are still the league’s worst team.
· Returning: Trent Frazier, Kipper Nichols, Da’Monte Williams, Aaron Jordan
· Arriving: Ayo Dosunmu (247Composite top 100), Tevian Jones, Samba Kane, Alan Griffin, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Andres Feliz
· Departing: Michael Finke (graduate transfer), Mark Alstork, Mark Smith (transfer), Te’Jon Lucas (transfer), Leron Black (NBA draft), Greg Eboigbodin (transfer), Matic Vesel (returned to Slovenia)
Outlook: Dosunmu was a very good pickup for Brad Underwood and should form a nice combo with Frazier, but Illinois is very thin up front and lacks experience. It could be another long winter in Champaign.
· Returning: Vic Law, Dererk Pardon, Anthony Gaines, A.J. Turner, Jordan Ash, Barret Benson, Aaron Falzon
· Arriving: Ryan Taylor (graduate transfer from Evansville), Pete Nance (247Composite top 100), Miller Kopp, Ryan Young
· Departing: Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey, Gavin Skelly, Isiah Brown (transfer), Rapolas Ivanasukas (transfer)
Outlook: The good vibes from Northwestern’s 2017 NCAA tournament appearance are now a distant memory. With the graduation of McIntosh and Lindsey, the Wildcats lose their two best players from a team that underachieved in a major way last season. Taylor should help fill some of that scoring void, but there are just too many question marks right now in Evanston.
· Returning: Amir Coffey, Eric Curry, Jordan Murphy, Dupree McBrayer, Isaiah Washington, Michael Hurt
· Arriving: Daniel Oturu (247Composite top 100), Jarvis Omersa, Gabe Kalscheur, Brock Stull (graduate transfer from Milwaukee), Marcus Carr (transfer from Pittsburgh, must sit out), Payton Willis (transfer from Vanderbilt, must sit out)
· Departing: Reggie Lynch, Nate Mason, Gaston Diedhiou, Bakary Konate, Davonte Fitzgerald (graduate transfer), Jamir Harris (transfer), Matz Stockman (transfer)
Outlook: After last season’s disastrous campaign, Minnesota is a tough team to project. The Gophers are capable of outperforming this projection if Coffey is healthy and Murphy continues to perform as a double-double machine. However, if those two things don’t happen, Richard Pitino cold find himself on a very hot seat.
10. Penn State
· Returning: Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins, John Harrar, Satchel Pierce, Josh Reaves, Jamari Wheeler, Trent Buttrick, Deivis Zemgulis
· Arriving: Myles Dread, Rasir Bolton, Daniil Kasatkin, Izaiah Brockington (transfer from St. Bonaventure, must sit out), Myreon Jones
· Departing: Shep Garner, Julian Moore, Nazeer Bostick (transfer), Tony Carr (NBA draft)
Outlook: Carr’s decision to forego his final two seasons of eligibility leaves Pat Chambers with a major hole at point guard and the Nittany Lions don’t have an adequate replacement. Stevens, Watkins and Reaves form a solid nucleus, but Penn State is likely going to take a step back after winning the NIT last season.
· Returning: Maishe Dailey, Jack Nunge, Jordan Bohannon, Ryan Kriener, Connor McCaffery, Cordell Pemsl, Nicholas Baer, Luka Garza, Tyler Cook, Isaiah Moss
· Arriving: Joe Wieskamp (247Composite top 100), C.J. Fredrick
· Departing: Brady Ellingson (graduate transfer), Ahmad Wagner (pursuing football), Dom Uhl
Outlook: Bart Torvik’s preseason rankings have Iowa as a potential top half Big Ten team and the Hawkeyes return everyone notable from last season. But unless the defense improves dramatically, it’s hard to justify placing the Hawkeyes higher than this in the preseason.
8. Ohio State
· Returning: Andre Wesson, Kaleb Wesson, CJ Jackson, Micah Potter, Musa Jallow, Kyle Young
· Arriving: Luther Muhammad (247Composite top 100), Jaedon LeDee (247Composite top 100), Duane Washington, Justin Ahrens, C.J. Walker (transfer from Florida State, must sit out), Keyshawn Woods (graduate transfer from Wake Forest)
· Departing: Andrew Dakich, Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams, Keita Bates-Diop (NBA draft)
Outlook: The Buckeyes outperformed expectations in Chris Holtmann’s first season in large part because of Bates-Diop, the Big Ten player of the year. He’s off to the NBA and Tate and Williams have both graduated. Ohio State has some promising young talent, but loses its two most important players.
· Returning: Ivan Bender, Anthony Cowan Jr., Darryl Morsell, Joshua Tomaic, Bruno Fernando
· Arriving: Jalen Smith (247Composite top 100), Aaron Wiggins (247Composite top 100), Eric Ayala (247Composite top 100), Serrel Smith, Schnider Herard (transfer from Mississippi State becomes eligible second semester), Trace Ramsey
· Departing: Michal Cekovsky, Jared Nickens, Sean Obi, Dion Wiley (graduate transfer), Justin Jackson (NBA draft), Kevin Huerter (NBA draft)
Outlook: The Terps were dealt a significant blow when Huerter opted to keep his name in the NBA draft, but Mark Turgeon still returns a solid core led by Cowan Jr. and Fernando. Maryland also signed three top 100 players, including McDonald’s All-American Jalen Smith.
· Returning: Ryan Cline, Aaron Wheeler, Sasha Stefanovic, Matt Haarms, Grady Eifert, Carsen Edwards, Nojel Eastern
· Arriving: Trevion Williams, Eric Hunter, Emmanuel Dowuona, Evan Boudreaux (graduate transfer from Dartmouth)
· Departing: Isaac Haas, Vincent Edwards, P.J. Thompson, Dakota Mathias
Outlook: Purdue lost four starters to graduation, but returns the potential Big Ten preseason player of the year in Edwards and two rising sophomores who should be very good in Eastern and Haarms. The problem is a lack of proven talent, which Boudreaux should help with after averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds two seasons ago at Dartmouth.
· Returning: Glynn Watson, Isaiah Roby, Thomas Allen, Nana Akenten, Jordy Tshimanga, Thorir Thorbjarnarson, Isaac Copeland, James Palmer Jr.
· Arriving: Karrington Davis, Brady Heiman, Amir Harris, Dachon Burke (transfer from Robert Morris, must sit out)
· Departing: Jack McVeigh (pursuing pro career overseas), Duby Okeke, Evan Taylor, Anton Gill
Outlook: Palmer Jr. should be a preseason All-Big Ten pick and all of the other primary pieces from last season’s 22-11 team also return to Lincoln. Tim Miles needs to get back to the NCAA tournament to help secure his job long term and he appears to have the roster to do so.
· Returning: Devonte Green, Zach McRoberts, De’Ron Davis, Al Durham Jr., Race Thompson, Clifton Moore, Justin Smith, Juwan Morgan
· Arriving: Romeo Langford, (247Composite top 100), Jerome Hunter (247Composite top 100), Robert Phinisee, Damezi Anderson, Jake Forrester, Evan Fitzner (graduate transfer from St. Mary’s)
· Departing: Robert Johnson, Josh Newkirk, Freddie McSwain, Tim Priller, Collin Hartman
Outlook: The Hoosiers return their best player and also welcome a recruiting class ranked in the top 10 nationally by many. There are questions to answer at point guard and in the post, but Morgan and Langford should immediately form one of the Big Ten’s best 1-2 punches.
· Returning: Zavier Simpson, Eli Brooks, Isaiah Livers, Jon Teske, Austin Davis, Jordan Poole, Charles Matthews
· Arriving: Brandon Johns (247Composite top 100), Ignas Brazdeikis (247Composite top 100), David DeJulius, Colin Castleon, Adrien Nunez
· Departing: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Ibi Watson (transfer), Duncan Robinson, Jaaron Simmons, Moritz Wagner (NBA draft)
Outlook: Defense is why Michigan won big last season and advanced to the national championship game. Can the Wolverines replicate last season’s recipe in 2018-19? Big Ten foes have learned not to bet against John Beilein.
· Returning: Brad Davison, D’Mitrik Trice, Khalil Iverson, Brevin Pritzl, Aleem Ford, Nate Reuvers, Kobe King, Trevor Anderson, Charlie Thomas, Alex Illikainen, Ethan Happ
· Arriving: Taylor Currie, Tai Strickland, Joe Hedstrom
· Departing: Andy Van Vliet (transfer)
Outlook: Injuries decimated the Badgers last season, but this is a roster with plenty to like entering the season. Happ will be in the preseason Big Ten player of the year discussion and Trice and King should help improve the guard play.
1. Michigan State
· Returning: Joshua Langford, Matt McQuaid, Cassius Winston, Xavier Tillman, Kyle Ahrens, Kenny Goins, Nick Ward
· Arriving: Marcus Bingham Jr. (247Composite top 100), Foster Loyer (247Composite top 100), Gabe Brown (247Composite top 100), Aaron Henry, Thomas Kithier
· Departing: Gavin Schilling, Ben Carter, Lourawls Nairn, Miles Bridges (NBA draft), Jaren Jackson Jr. (NBA draft)
Outlook: Bridges and Jackson Jr. are major losses, but the junior trio of Langford, Winston and Ward gives Tom Izzo the foundation to build another Big Ten contender. With three top 100 prospects arriving and other vets like McQuaid returning, the Spartans have a solid argument to be named the league’s preseason favorite.