The deadline for entering June’s NBA Draft has come and gone. Last season’s first all-Big Ten team – Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr., of Michigan; Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller of Indiana; and Deshaun Thomas of Ohio State – all left with eligibility remaining.
How will the 2013-14 men’s basketball title race shake out in the Big Ten? Here’s a prediction:
- Michigan State. The Spartans are one of a handful of teams getting serious NCAA title buzz after Adreian Payne’s decision to stay. Derrick Nix is the only starter not back from a 27-9 Sweet 16 team.
- Ohio State. Deshaun Thomas was an electric scorer, but the Buckeyes were at their best when the other parts like defender deluxe Aaron Craft , Lenzelle Smith, LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson, Shannon Scott and Amir Williams were clicking.
- Michigan. Mitch McGary blossomed on the game’s biggest stage, Glenn Robinson III has what it takes to be a go-to guy and Nik Stauskus can shoot with anyone. Two of the Class of 2013’s top 40 prospects – guards Zakarie Irvin and Derrick Walton – step in for Burke and Hardaway.
- Iowa. Coach Fran McCaffery jokes that in his first season, the Hawkeyes were picked for 11th in a conference with 10 in its name. “That was tough,” he said. His fourth season at Iowa should be his best, losing only Eric May from a 25-win team.
- Wisconsin. You’ve heard this before – never bet against a Bo Ryan-coached team. The Badgers need to find a new nasty streak with Mike Bruesewitz gone. Badgers also lose Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren but return point guard Josh Gasser, out last season with a knee injury.
- Indiana. This has all the look of a transition year in Bloomington. In Zeller, Oladipo, Watford and Hulls, no Big Ten team lost more.
- Purdue. The Boilermakers lost D.J. Byrd, their No. 4 scorer, but return a budding star in 7-foot post A.J. Hammons and signed two Top 100 guards in Kendall Stephens and Bryson Scott.
- Minnesota. New coach Richard Pitino will put the ball in the hands of the Gophers’ two leading returning scorers, guards Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins.
- Illinois. The top two scorers, guards D.J. Richardson, and Brandon Paul, are gone. In the to fill that void will be Drake transfer Rayvonte Rice.
- Penn State. First-team all-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier returns, as does the two leading scorers from last season in team MVP D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall.
- Northwestern. Drew Crawford is back from a shoulder injury that ended his season 10 games in. He’ll be playing for a new coach in Chris Collins.
- Nebraska. Tim Miles opened a lot of eyes with his coaching last season. He’ll take the floor without two of his three leading scorers in Dylan Talley and Brandon Ubel.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball