20 offseason thoughts on the Big Ten

Being from Indiana, there is a lot of hype for the Hoosiers. But I am not totally sold on them. They need to get a guard to handle the offense and run the team. Langford will be able to help them out in a big way, but the rest of the roster is pretty young. I see them as a middle of the pack Big Ten team and would not be surprised to see in-state rival Purdue finish above them in the standings.

I won’t be surprised if OSU is better than expected again. Holtmann had a solid freshman class (K. Wesson, Young, and Jallow) and is bringing in some more talent this year. The backcourt will be weak, but probably won’t be featuring any former walk-ons. I suspect that when all is said and done, they’ll be on the bubble.

Holtmann and Miller will be linked as long as they’re both in the league. So far Miller’s only advantage has been in higher profile recruiting. We’ll see when that translates into better results on the court.

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On paper, MSU’s backcourt is solid offensively, but their weakness in defense will likely be exposed more without a premium rim protector.


Great article! You are right that the B10 appears to lack NBA talent this year and has for several years. I am not certain about this statement though: "The best pro prospect in the league next year hasn’t even played a college game " If you mean it to support your argument that the B10 hasn’t recruited very well for several years, it makes some sense–but the best preseason pro prospect(s) in any major college conference will often be a one-and-done freshmen. The best returning pro prospects in a conference will have likely gone pro. What is obvious is that the B10 does not get potential one-and-dones like Kentucky, Duke, and NC. This is not a foolproof formula for national championships, but the absence of one-and-dones at most B10 schools except MSU (recently) does lower the overall pro talent in the league compared to other leagues. Fwiw.


That’s a good point. I guess the bigger problem is that it looks like there is only one real one-and-done player entering the league (Romeo Langford).

Is that a “problem” per se or just a perception program? Looking back at the past few final fours and national championships, many of those schools are not one and done schools (which I consider to be Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona). One and dones is not the secret recipe for getting to the final four.

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Maybe not 1 and done necessarily but NBA level talent is needed. Villanova outclassed us in that regard. And considering there are only 4 schools that rely on 1 and dones they win the championship about as much as you would expect them to.

Villanova will likely end up with 4 first rounders this year, so they had plenty of pro talent.

The Big Ten had a lot more pro talent in 2011 through 2014.

Right now, there just aren’t enough schools consistently recruiting at that level. Ohio State and Indiana were in that top group and recruited like national programs.

I don’t think one-and-done is the only recipe, but the more pros in your league the better the league will be. That includes a collection of 2-4 year pros in the Kaminsky, Dekker, Bridges, Brunson, Bridges category.


(1) Michigan is the clear favorite. The coaching staff returns intact along with 9 of the top 10 defenders by DRtg, a usage machine in Charles Matthews, a point guard destroyer in Zavier Simpson, and one of the conference’s best recruiting classes. The threes should start falling by the time conference play begins.

(2) Indiana returns a bunch of complimentary pieces and adds a proper superstar in Romeo Langford, as well as four other high-caliber recruits. Archie Miller is a young coach on the rise.

(3) Michigan State has a roster more to Izzo’s liking than last year, with a bunch of yeoman pieces he can berate. But the ceiling is lower.

(4) Nebraska has bouncy forwards and a possession-eater in James Palmer, but a thin bench and a poor defense (relative to their conference companions).

(5) Iowa returns everybody in their weird system. This should be a top-15 Kenpom offense, but will it come with a triple-digits defense like usual?

(6) Purdue gets back Carsen Edwards, the league’s best returning offensive player. But they lose four seniors – all starters.

(7) Maryland will have a pile of elite talent but Turgeon is a sideline dunce.

(8) Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann taught me the hard way not to doubt him, but he’s losing a ton of talent and his recruiting class was awful. Still, I must be cautious here.

(9) Wisconsin should be a year older and wiser and healthier, but Greg Gard still smells like Hoke to me.

(10) Penn State lost their Superman and the league’s best shooter and didn’t adequately replace them in their recruiting class. This will be a big, slow team that could win some low-scoring slugfests.

(11) Northwestern will have good length and athleticism, but nobody to handle the ball or defend opposing guards.

(12) Illinois is overhauling its roster to better suit Brad Underwood’s vision. It’s unclear how long this will take.

(13) Minnesota loses Nate Mason, Reggie Lynch, Bakary Konate, and Davonte Fitzgerald, and their coach has a tenuous grasp on the locker room.

(14) Rutgers.

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Way too low on Wisconsin IMO.

Michigan’s offense has major questions to answer, not sure I would call UM a clear favorite.

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Swap Purdue and Wisconsin maybe?

I would move Maryland to six, Wisconsin to seven, Purdue to eight and OSU to nine. I believe the top three are almost interchangeable, although I do think we SHOULD be the favorite. I understand Dylan’s “offense has major questions to answer” concern and I think Beilein et al will figure it out. I’m optimistic. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’d move Minnesota and Wisconsin up

I’m worried about us this year. I could see us being a top 10 program or faltering. I’m worried about consistency.

Then again if everything hits and people improve like they could it could be awesome

I don’t understand this statement. Are you saying Michigan returns 9 of the 10 top defenders in the B1G? We only return 7 players total.

Also DRtg is a very dubious journey when used for individual players.


Defensively M gonna be top notch. I agree they are the clear favs.
I’m not concerned about the offense with Coach Beilein still in charge. Worst case top 30 offense I bet. Too many options on O for Beilein not to put together a formidable offense.

thanks, should be 7 of top 9. Referring to the Michigan roster, not in the B1G.

In that case, 6 of our top 9 in Defensive Win Shares and the entire top 5 in DBPM

How are those measured? I just have a hard time trusting individual defensive metric stats in general.