Big Ten Power Rankings: Offseason edition

  • 08/15/2023 8:12 am in

We’re a little less than three months from the tipoff of the 2023-24 college basketball season.

Most Big Ten rosters are set and the fall semester will begin in the coming weeks. The league schedule with dates should be announced in the next month.

With that in mind, it’s time for our first forecast of the Big Ten standings for the 2023-24 season:

14. Minnesota

Eligibility remaining: Dawson Garcia, Parker Fox, Isaiah Ihnen, Pharrel Payne, Josh Ola-Joseph, Braeden Carrington, Kadyn Betts, Will Ramberg
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: None
Transfer portal: Treyton Thompson (Stetson), Jaden Henley (DePaul), Jamison Battle (Ohio State), Ta’Lon Cooper (South Carolina)
Arriving: Cameron Christie, Mike Mitchell Jr. (from Pepperdine), Jack Wilson (from Washington State), Elijah Hawkins (from Howard), Kristupas Keinys

The case for Minnesota: Minnesota can’t be worse than last season, right? The Gophers were 2-17 in Big Ten play last winter and ranked No. 216 in the final KenPom rankings. With several returning pieces – headlined by Dawson Garcia – things should improve.

The case against Minnesota: Battle and Cooper left via the transfer portal, Ben Johnson’s seat is warming and there’s not enough guard play on the roster to improve.

13. Penn State

Eligibility remaining: Kanye Clary, Demetrius Lilley, Jameel Brown
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy (NBA draft), Andrew Funk, Myles Dread, Camren Wynter, Michael Henn
Transfer portal: Caleb Dorsey (William & Mary), Dallion Johnson (Florida Gulf Coast), Evan Mahaffey (Ohio State), Kebba Njie (Notre Dame)
Arriving: Adrian Baldwin Jr. (from VCU), Nick Kern Jr. (from VCU), Zach Hicks (from Temple), Puff Johnson (from North Carolina), Qudus Wahab (from Georgetown), Leo O’Boyle (from Lafayette), RayQuawndis Mitchell (from UMKC), Favour Aire (from Miami), D’Marco Dunn (from North Carolina), Bragi Guomundsson

The case for Penn State: New coach Mike Rhoades filled out the roster with plenty of pieces with high major experience and reached the NCAA tournament three times in six seasons at VCU.

The case against Penn State: This much roster turnover is not conducive to winning in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions lost all of their top contributors and Micah Shrewsberry, one of the best young coaches in the country, is now at Notre Dame.

12. Nebraska

Eligibility remaining: Keisei Tominaga, CJ Wilcher, Jamarques Lawrence, Juwan Gary, Sam Hoiberg (walk-on), Blaise Keita, Ramel Llloyd
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Derrick Walker, Sam Griesel, Emmanuel Bandoumel
Transfer portal: Denim Dawson (Tennessee State), Oleg Kogenets (Wyoming), Quaran McPherson (Northern Illinois), Wilhelm Breidenbach (Washington)
Arriving: Eli Rice, Rienk Mast (from Bradley), Brice Williams (from Charlotte), Ahron Ulis (from Iowa), Josiah Allick (from New Mexico), Matar Diop, Jarron Coleman (from Ball State)

The case for Nebraska: The Cornhuskers reached nine Big Ten wins last season and even had a four-game winning streak late in league play. Tominaga is back and the transfer portal additions Fred Hoiberg gathered improve the overall talent on the roster.

The case against Nebraska: Nebraska hasn’t finished better than .500 in any of the last four seasons under Hoiberg and the talent level still isn’t up to par with most of the league.

11. Michigan

Eligibility remaining: Jaelin Llewellyn, Tarris Reed, Dug McDaniel, Terrance Williams, Will Tschetter, Jace Howard, Youssef Khayat
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Jett Howard (NBA draft), Kobe Bufkin (NBA draft), Joey Baker
Transfer portal: Isaiah Barnes (Tulsa), Hunter Dickinson (Kansas), Gregg Glenn (Tulane)
Arriving: George Washington III (247Composite top 100), Nimari Burnett (from Alabama), Tray Jackson (from Seton Hall), Olivier Nkamhoua (from Tennessee)

The case for Michigan: Perhaps a roster shakeup will do Michigan and Juwan Howard well after last season’s debacle that ended in the NIT. Nkamhoua might be the most underrated transfer portal addition in the league.

The case against Michigan: The Wolverines lost two top 15 NBA draft picks and Dickinson. That’s a lot of roster attrition to overcome.

10. Iowa

Eligibility remaining: Tony Perkins, Payton Sandfort, Patrick McCaffery, Dasonte Bowen, Josh Dix, Riley Mulvey
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Connor McCaffery, Filip Rebraca, Kris Murray (NBA draft)
Transfer portal: Ahron Ulis (Nebraska), Josh Ogundele (Middle Tennessee)
Arriving: Pryce Sandfort (247Composite top 100), Ladji Dembele, Owen Freeman, Brock Harding, Ben Krikke (from Valparaiso), Even Brauns (from Belmont)

The case for Iowa: Fran McCaffery’s teams are always good enough on offense to be dangerous in Big Ten play.

The case against Iowa: There’s no logical star on this roster now that Murray is in the NBA. And Iowa never defends.

9. Rutgers

Eligibility remaining: Clifford Omoruyi, Aundre Hyatt, Derek Simpson, Mawot Mag, Antwone Woolfolk, Antonio Chol, Oskar Palmquist
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Caleb McConnell
Transfer portal: Oskar Palmquist (Elon), Jalen Miller (Oral Roberts), Dean Reiber (Charlotte), Cam Spencer (UConn), Paul Mulcahy (Washington)
Arriving: Gavin Griffiths (247Composite top 50), Jamichael Davis, Noah Fernandes (from UMass), Emmanuel Ogbole, Jeremiah Williams (from Iowa State), Austin Williams (from FIU)

The case for Rutgers: Steve Pikiell’s teams have always played hard, defended well and the floor for the program has been raised considerably in recent seasons under his leadership. Omoruyi is back and is one of the best frontcourt players in the conference.

The case against Rutgers: McConnell, Spencer and Mulcahy are all gone from a team that didn’t make the NCAA tournament last season.

8. Northwestern

Eligibility remaining: Boo Buie, Ty Berry, Brooks Barnhizer, Matthew Nicholoson, Nick Martinelli, Luke Hunger
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Tydus Verhoeven, Chase Audige (NBA draft)
Transfer portal: Julian Roper (Notre Dame), Robbie Beran (Virginia Tech)
Arriving: Jordan Clayton, Blake Barkley, Parker Strauss, Blake Preston (from Liberty), Justin Mullins (from Denver), Ryan Langborg (from Princeton)

The case for Northwestern: Buie returns as arguably the league’s best point guard and Barnhizer looks like a player who could further break out next winter.

The case against Northwestern: Northwestern overachieved last season, lost its best perimeter defender in Audige and regression seems likely.

7. Indiana

Eligibility remaining: Xavier Johnson, Malik Reneau, CJ Gunn, Trey Galloway, Anthony Leal, Kaleb Banks
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Race Thompson, Miller Kopp, Trayce Jackson-Davis (NBA draft), Jalen Hood-Schifino (NBA draft)
Transfer portal: Logan Duncomb (Xavier), Tamar Bates (Missouri), Jordan Geronimo (Maryland)
Arriving: Jakai Newton, Gabe Cupps (247Composite top 100), Payton Sparks (from Ball State), Kel’el Ware (from Oregon), Anthony Walker (from Miami), Mackenzie Mgbako (247Composite top 10)

The case for Indiana: The Hoosiers return two starting guards, a potential breakout piece in Reneau and added a five-star recruit and a potential first round NBA draft pick in Ware.

The case against Indiana: Jackson-Davis is no longer on the roster and the Hoosiers lost six rotation players. That’s a lot of new pieces to mold together for Mike Woodson. The guard depth also appears to be thin.

6. Ohio State

Eligibility remaining: Zed Key, Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle, Felix Okpara, Bowen Hardman, Kalen Etzler
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Brice Sensabaugh (NBA draft), Justice Sueing (NBA draft), Isaac Likekele, Sean McNeil
Transfer portal: Eugene Brown III (Georgia Southern), Tanner Holden (Wright State)
Arriving: Taison Chatman (247Composite top 50), Scotty Middleton (247Composite top 50), Devin Royal (247Composite top 50), Austin Parks, Jamison Battle (from Minnesota), Dale Bonner (from Baylor), Evan Mahaffey (from Penn State)

The case for Ohio State: The Buckeyes have a strong returning nucleus, added a key piece in Battle from the transfer portal and landed one of the nation’s best recruiting classes.

The case against Ohio State: Ohio State was 16-19 last season, will be relying on several freshmen and lost its best player to the NBA draft.

5. Wisconsin

Eligibility remaining: Chucky Hepburn, Tyler Wahl, Steven Crowl, Connor Essegian, Max Klesmit, Kamari McGee, Carter Gilmore (possible walk-on), Isaac Lindsey (possible walk-on), Markus Ilver, Chris Hodges
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: None
Transfer portal: Jordan Davis (Illinois State)
Arriving: Gus Yalden, Nolan Winter, John Blackwell, AJ Storr (from St. John’s)

The case for Wisconsin: Everyone is back in Madison for the Badgers from a team that won 20 games last season despite missing the NCAA tournament. And Storr is a definite talent upgrade in the backcourt.

The case against Wisconsin: Wisconsin failed to meet expectations last season and its most experienced players may have already reached their ceiling as players.

4. Illinois

Eligibility remaining: Coleman Hawkins, Terrence Shannon Jr., Dain Dainja, Ty Rodgers, Sencire Harris, Luke Goode, Niccolo Moretti
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Matthew Mayer
Transfer portal: Skyy Clark (Louisville), Jayden Epps (Georgetown), Brandon Lieb (Illinois State), RJ Melendez (Georgia)
Arriving: Amani Hansberry (247Composite top 100), Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn, Marcus Domask (from Southern Illinois), Justin Harmon (from Utah Valley), Quincy Guerrier (from Oregon)

The case for Illinois: Shannon is arguably the best returning player in the league not named Zach Edey. And Hawkins and Dainja should form one of the Big Ten’s best front courts.

The case against Illinois: Epps and Mayer were significant losses and there are questions at point guard for Brad Underwood to answer.

3. Maryland

Eligibility remaining: Jahmir Young, Donta Scott, Julian Reese, Noah Batchelor, Jahari Long, Caelum Swanton-Rodger
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Don Carey, Patrick Emilien
Transfer portal: Hakim Hart (Villanova), Ike Cornish (Ohio), Arnaud Revaz (Weber State), Pavlo Dziuba (High Point), Ian Martinez (Utah State)
Arriving: DeShawn Harris-Smith (247Composite top 50), Jamie Kaiser (247Composite top 100), Jahathan Lamothe, Braden Pierce, Chance Stephens (from Loyola Marymount), Jordan Geronimo (from Indiana), Mady Traoré (from New Mexico State)

The case for Maryland: Young, Scott and Reese are all back from an NCAA tournament team and Harris-Smith looks like one of the best freshman in the league entering the season.

The case against Maryland: The Terps were inconsistent last season and were a poor road team.

2. Michigan State

Eligibility remaining: Jaden Akins, A.J. Hoggard, Tyson Walker, Malik Hall, Mady Sissoko, Jaxon Kohler, Tre Holloman, Carson Cooper
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: Joey Hauser
Transfer portal: Pierre Brooks (Butler)
Arriving: Xavier Booker (247Composite top 10), Jeremy Fears (247Composite top 25), Coen Carr (247Composite top 100), Gehrig Normand

The case for Michigan State: Everyone notable besides Hauser is back and a star-studded recruiting class arrives. Tom Izzo has the pieces to gear up for another Final Four run.

The case against Michigan State: The backcourt seems crowded with Akins, Hoggard, Walker, Holloman and Fears. Are there enough minutes to keep everyone happy?

1. Purdue

Eligibility remaining: Zach Edey, Caleb Furst, Trey Kaufman-Renn, Fletcher Loyer, Braden Smith, Mason Gillis, Ethan Morton, Brian Waddell, Camden Heide, William Berg
NBA Draft/professional route/out of eligibility: David Jenkins
Transfer portal: Brandon Newman (Western Kentucky)
Arriving: Myles Colvin (247Composite top 100), Lance Jones (from Southern Illinois)

The case for Purdue: This was the Big Ten’s best team last season and should be better with Loyer and Smith now a year older.

The case against Purdue: Nearly everything went right for the Boilermakers in the regular season before a shocking NCAA tournament exit. Will Purdue be able to bury that loss and not let it linger into this season?

Filed to: