Football is coming, but I still have basketball on the brain. With all the recruiting talk, I've been sizing up the B1G rosters. Certainly, some strong programs will suffer from some early exits to the NBA. Their gain is the the Big Ten's loss. My thoughts (and a healthy amount of snark) on each are below.
Illinois - Looks like the dumpster fire is still burning in Champaign. Roster looks sparse with the exception of Joseph Bertrand and Tracy Abrams. There are five incoming Freshmen, two of which are 4-star recruits.
Indiana - Will be interesting to see how they handle the loss of several top players.... I guessing not well since their coach is absolute rubbish. I think it is safe to say that we can look forward to seeing a lot of Peter Jurkin in Bloomington this season. Not to be outdone by the U of I, Crean has six incoming Freshmen. If you follow (read: stalk) Coach Crean on Twitter then you'll know just what wonderful, sweet, caring boys they are.
Iowa - I'm interested to see how the season plays out for the Hawkeyes. On paper, they have a very balanced roster, with talent at each position. I'd look for Seniors Roy Devyn Marble, Zach McCabe, and Melsahn Basabe to do some damage this season. This will also be Jerrod Uthoff's first season in Iowa City.
Michigan - Despite the loss of Burke, U of M still looks to be quite tough. Notably returning Glenn Robinson III as well as Mitch McGary, and a whole roster of players who played a lot of basketball in March. Their Freshmen class is made up of three athletes who are at least 4-stars - most notably: Zak Irvin.
Michigan State - MSU looks strong with their core of Adreian Payne, Keith Appling, and Gary Harris. I think the big question will be who will be the first to face disciplinary action from the team... I have my pick.
Minnesota - Minny returns the Hollins brothers, and not much else. Minny has a long road ahead of it given it's coaching change and troubled roster of the past.
Nebraska - I don't recognize a single name on this roster
Ohio State - This team is sure to be contending once again. Led by Aaron Craft (who is finally a Senior this year), this team will likely start and exclusively play Lenzelle Smith Jr., LaQuinten Ross, Sam Thompson, and Amir Williams. Certainly this team will not be as solid as it has been accustomed to for the last several seasons, but I wouldn't count them out - especially with two 4-star Freshmen coming in.
Penn State - You'll be glad to know that Penn State has chosen to continue it's Men's Basketball Program.
Purdue - With more than a little bias, I'm quite excited to see this team take shape. There no shortage of questions about this team (like last off-season), but the second seasons of A.J. Hammons and Ronnie Johnson offer a lot of promise. The roster seems well rounded with three true Freshmen and two Grad transfers added.
Wisconsin - Names like Ben Brust, Josh Gasser, and Sam Dekker make up what is sure to be a strong back-court. Their front-court looks less certain. This is partially explained by the five (5!) incoming Freshmen.
My totally non-scientific roster strength rankings:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Penn State