Roundup: A look at where Big Ten teams rank in “way-too-early” top 25’s
The deadline to withdraw from the 2018 NBA draft has come and gone, which means rosters for the 2018-19 college basketball season are mostly set.
Several national publications have come out with updated preseason top 25s in recent weeks and here’s a look at where Big Ten teams stand in each of them:
Big Ten teams: Michigan State (No. 9), Michigan (No. 17), Purdue (No. 25)
9. Michigan State: What kind of player can Nick Ward become?
In 2017-18, Ward led the country in offensive rebounding rate and made 65 percent of his shots inside the arc. He did that while surrounded by projected lottery picks Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr.
It’s Ward’s show now. Last year, he had dominant moments, such as his 19-point effort in 18 minutes against Duke in the Champions Classic. But he also had problems against athletic big men.
If the player who withdrew from the NBA draft wants to make money at that level and lead Michigan State to another Big Ten title, he’ll have to deliver against elite competition as the center of Tom Izzo’s team.
Big Ten teams: Michigan State (No. 11), Michigan (No. 21), Maryland (No. 23), Indiana (No. 25)
Why the Hoosiers are ranked here: Archie Miller is returning five of the top seven scorers from a team that got better as the season progressed — and adding a top-10 recruiting class to the mix highlighted by Indiana high school legend Romeo Langford. If he’s a star the way so many project, the Hoosiers should be back in the NCAA Tournament in 2019 for the first time since 2016.
NBCSports.com – Rob Dauster (includes top 30)
Big Ten teams: Michigan State (No. 13), Michigan (No. 24), Maryland (No. 27), Indiana (No. 28), Purdue (No. 29)
24. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
– Who’s gone: Moe Wagner, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Duncan Robinson, Jaaron Simmons
– Who do they add: Ignas Brazdeikis, David DeJulius, Brandon Johns, Adrian Nunez, Colin Castleton
– Projected starting lineup: Zavier Simpson, Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole, Isaiah Livers, Jon Teske
Losing Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman, the program’s two best offensive weapons, are major blows for a team that struggled to score a season ago. Matthews’ decision to return is key and they will really be able to guard again, but one of their three big wings is going to need to take a major step forward for them offensively.
Big Ten teams: Michigan State (No. 9), Michigan (No. 16)
The departures of Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr. were expected, and while they’ll no doubt hurt, there’s still plenty of talent in East Lansing. Nick Ward, who posted the top offensive rebounding rate in the country last season, is back for his junior year, along with the likes of Cassius Winston, Matt McQuaid and Joshua Langford. Four-star forward Marcus Bingham Jr. is the highest-ranked (No. 62) of Tom Izzo’s incoming recruits.
SBNation.com – Mike Rutherford (includes top 35)
Big Ten teams: Michigan State (No. 10), Michigan (No. 12), Indiana (No. 25), Purdue (No. 27), Maryland (No. 28), Wisconsin (No. 34)
Perhaps this is an overreaction to landing Romeo Langford, but toss in the return of Juwan Morgan and five of last season’s other top seven scorers, and it’s not ridiculous to envision the Hoosiers taking a massive step forward in Archie Miller’s second season.
Big Ten teams: Michigan State (No. 15), Nebraska (No. 16), Michigan (No. 17), Purdue (No. 20), Indiana (No. 22), Wisconsin (No. 25), Minnesota (No. 26)
25. Wisconsin: Expect the Badgers to make a huge leap after an injury-plagued season. Ethan Happ will compete for Big Ten player of the year. Brad Davison will be the toughest player on the floor each night and now that his shoulder is repaired, he should be an even better shooter. Getting guards D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King healthy means the Badgers have multiple scorers on the perimeter. Khalil Iverson gives the Badgers the athletic wing they need and Brevin Pritzl can focus on being a sharpshooter with Aleem Ford as a utility player who can do a bit of everything for the Badgers. Wisconsin will have experience at every spot. This will be the kind of Wisconsin team that Badger fans have grown accustomed to over the past decade.
Filed to: College basketball top 25