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Predicting the 2013-14 Big Ten men's basketball race

[ 0 ] May 1, 2013 |
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Indiana. This has all the look of a transition year in Bloomington. In Zeller, Oladipo, Watford and Hulls, no Big Ten team lost more.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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