Big Ten 2012-2013 Early Preview

Tom Izzo

College basketball is over for now. It’s the offseason, and it is time for us to look forward to next year. Here is a quick preview of the Big Ten Conference for next season.

The Contenders:

1.) Michigan State-  Michigan State will lose their star and leader Draymond Green to graduation, along with Austin Thornton and Brandon Wood. However, the Spartans have a large nucleus of players returning. Derrick Nix will be the lone senior, but Adriean Payne, Keith Appling, and Brandon Dawson all return after playing and contributing with numerous minutes. State also has a strong recruiting class. As for next year, Michigan State will not have its leader and go to guy in Green. Nix is expected to take that role over, as he has continued to greatly improve his own game. The Spartans should have another strong season next year. The team will be rather young, but they should have good chemistry. Izzo is a great coach as well, and he knows how to take each and every one of his players’ abilities, and turn them into strengths for the team. The Spartans should be contenders again to win the Big Ten. They clearly have the most depth, and if everyone plays to together and produces, Michigan State will be tough to stop. I expect the Spartans to have another great season, and I expect them to win the Big Ten conference again.

2.) Indiana- Tom Crean and the Hoosiers are back. Every player is returning  that contributed last year besides Verdell Jones III. Look for Cody Zeller, Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, and Victor Oladipo to have another strong campaign. The Hoosiers weakenss is their front court, and besides Zeller who is still young, it is inexperienced. This will likely be Indiana’s biggest weakness all year next season. However, expect the Hoosiers to have a great season, and possibly a final four run.

3.) Ohio State- The Buckeyes lose William Buford to graduation, and Jared Sullinger to the NBA draft. Ohio State has plenty of talent returning. Aaron Craft, DeShaun Thomas, Lenzelle Smith Jr. are the three key players to next year. Ohio State’s key issue will be replacing a star like Sullinger, which may be impossible, and this will probably be enough to keep the Buckeyes from winning the conference, but expect Thad Matta and Ohio State to have a solid season.

The Pretenders

4.) Wisconsin- It seems just about every year Wisconsin has a good season, but not enough talent to win the Big Ten regular season title. Bo Ryan is a good coach, and Wisconsin has plenty of players returning next year. The obvious problem and likely struggle for next year, will be replacing an All-American point guard in Jordan Taylor. Josh Gasser will likely play point, and Ben Brust, Ryan Evans, Mike Brusewitz, and Jared Bergeren are all back. This is enough talent to keep pace in the Big Ten next year, but yet again Wisconsin just does not have a strong enough player to take over the game.

5.) Michigan- The Wolverines have star point guard Trey Burke returning, and Tim Hardaway Jr. is also back. The Wolverines will be young, and lost a lot of leadership in losing guards Zack Novak and Stu Douglass to graduation. Also key transfers have set the Wolverines back as well. A strong recruiting class will not be enough for the Wolverines to compete for the Big Ten title just yet. Michigan also has a weak front court, which will not be nearly enough to truly compete for the title this year.

6.) Minnesota- The Golden Gophers should be glad that they are even pretenders this year. After winning the NIT, Minnesota has some momentum coming into this year. Andre Hollins is a sensational point guard, and his brother Austin is also a great shooting guard. Trevor Mbakwe was also granted a sixth year of elgibility. Look for Minnesota to be the sleeper team next year in the Big Ten conference.

The Bottom Feeders

7.) Purdue- The Boilers have fallen back to earth. After great talent the past five seasons, Matt Painter will have to rebuild this season. Robbie Hummell, Lewis Jackson, and Ryne Smith are all gone. A decent recruiting class will keep Purdue in the hunt for an NCAA tournament bid, but that is about it. Don’t expect much from Purdue this season.

8.) Illinois- John Groce is in for a challenge, but the Illini have some talent to work with. Meyers Leonard left for the draft, but they will still have Brandon Paul, and D.J Richardson at guards. The front court will be weak, so once again do not expect much from Illinois. It will be a successful season for Groce if he can just get this team into the NCAA tournament.

9.) Iowa- The Hawkeyes will have some talent including Roy Marble at point guard, plus some other solid playmakers. Iowa can easily move up in the standings, but they will have to replace Mattt Gatens, their great sharpshooter who helped them win many games last season.

The Cellar

10.) Northwestern- The Wildcats had one of its best teams in a long time, and they could still not make the tournament. Drew Crawford is back a point guard, but the loss of John Shurna is huge, and will likely take a year for Northwestern to get out of the cellar.

11.) Penn State- As if this was even expected, the Nittany Lions are terrible and they will be lucky to even win a few games in conference play.

12.) Nebraska- Tim Miles….good luck. You are in for one ride. The Cornhuskers will have less talent than last season’s dead last finish in the conference. It would be a miracle if the Cornhuskers even made the NIT..An NCAA tournament berth, would definitely go down as Coach of the Century award..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>