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Big Ten Basketball: Offseason Power Rankings

The spring signing period is over and the NBA early entrant deadline has passed. Let's check the pulse of Big Ten hoops prior to another summer recruiting cycle.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Now's as good of time as any during the basketball offseason calendar to check in on the landscape of the Big Ten. The coaching carousel has neared a halt, while the NBA early entrant deadline has come and gone. The transfer market continues to approach 24/7/365 status, but that's mostly settled, as well. With the majority of roster transactions in the books, let's take a peek at the makeup of next year's Big Ten.

The league will look to bounce back from a forgettable 2015-2016 season. With various postseason disappointments at the top and historic atrocities at the bottom, the Big Ten didn't have much to write home about last year. Can the conference bounce back in 2016-2017? That seems like a pretty safe bet for now.

The table below provides a snapshot of which scholarship players have skipped town versus who's joining the fray. The first column represents which teams return the most overall production in the form of possession-minutes (calculated by multiplying Poss% and Min% for each returning player), while the second column showcases how much production is returning from the rising sophomore class.

Team Returning
Poss Min %
SO Returning
Poss Min %
Departures New Players
Michigan State 34% 9%
Denzel Valentine (GR)
Bryne Forbes (GR)
Matt Costello (GR)
Deyonta Davis (PRO)
Marvin Clark (TR)
Javon Bess (TR)
Ben Carter (GTR)
Miles Bridges (Top-10)
Josh Langford (Top-25)
Cassius Winston (Top-50)
Nick Ward (Top-50)
Wisconsin 100% 30%
Bo Ryan?
Andy van Vliet (INE)
Brevin Pritzl (MRS)
Aleem Ford
D'Mitrik Trice
Indiana 45% 19%
Yogi Ferrell (GR)
Troy Williams (PRO)
Nick Zeisloft (GR)
Max Bielfeldt (GR)
Josh Newkirk (TR)
De'Ron Davis (Top-50)
Curtis Jones (Top-100)
Devonte Green (Top-200)
Grant Gelon
Freddie McSwain (JC)
Purdue 60% 21%
AJ Hammons (GR)
Rapheal Davis (GR)
Johnny Hill (GR)
Kendall Stephens (TR)
Grant Weatherford (TR)
Basil Smotherman (RS)
Spike Albrecht (GTR)
Carsen Edwards (Top-200)
Maryland 39% 0%
Rasheed Sulaimon (GR)
Jake Layman (GR)
Diamond Stone (PRO)
Robert Carter (PRO)
Dion Wiley (MRS)
LG Gill (GTR)
Anthony Cowan (Top-100)
Kevin Huerter (Top-100)
Justin Jackson (Top-100)
Micah Thomas
Ohio State 83% 20% Daniel Giddens (TR)
Mickey Mitchell (TR)
AJ Harris (TR)
Derek Funderburk (Top-50)
Micah Potter (Top-200)
Andre Wesson
CJ Jackson (JC)
Michigan 76% 6%
Caris LeVert (GR)
Spike Albrecht (TR)
Kam Chatman (TR)
Aubrey Dawkins (TR)
Ricky Doyle (TR)
Xavier Simpson (Top-100)
Jon Teske (Top-200)
Austin Davis (Top-200)
Ibi Watson
Northwestern 62% 17%
Tre Demps (GR)
Alex Olah (GR)
Joey van Zegeren (GR)
Vic Law (MRS)
Rapolas Ivanauskas (Top-200)
Barret Benson (Top-200)
Iowa 39% 13%
Jarrod Uthoff (GR)
Adam Woodbury (GR)
Anthony Clemmons (GR)
Mike Gesell (GR)
Andrew Fleming (TR)
Brandon Hutton (TR)
Isaiah Moss (RS)
Tyler Cook (Top-100)
Jordan Bohannon
Cordell Pemsl
Ryan Kriener
Maishe Dailey
Nebraska 67% 32%
Shavon Shields (GR)
Benny Parker (GR)
Jake Hammond (TR)
Bakari Evelyn (TR)
Anton Gill (TR)
Isaiah Roby (Top-200)
Jordy Tshimanga (Top-200)
Jeriah Horne (Top-200)
Penn State 59% 18%
Brandon Taylor (GR)
Jordan Dickerson (GR)
Donovon Jack (GR)
Devin Foster (GR)
Mike Watkins (INE)
Terrence Samuel (TR)
Tony Carr (Top-50)
Lamar Stevens (Top-100)
Joe Hampton (Top-200)
Nazeer Bostick
Illinois 76% 30%
Khalid Lewis (GR)
Kendrick Nunn (DM)
Tracy Abrams (MRS)
Mike Thorne (MRS)
Kipper Nichols (TR)
Te'Jon Lucas (Top-200)
Minnesota 60% 34%
Joey King (GR)
Carlos Morris (GR)
Kevin Dorsey (TR)
Charles Buggs (TR)
Akeem Springs (GTR)
DaVante Fitzgerald (TR)
Reggie Lynch (TR)
Amir Coffey (Top-50
Eric Curry (Top-200)
Michael Hurt (Top-200)
Rutgers 53% 32%
Bishop Daniels (GR)
Greg Lewis (GR)
Omari Grier (GR)
DJ Foreman (TR)
Justin Goode (TR)
DeShawn Freeman (INJ)
Nigel Johnson (TR)
Candido Sa (JC)
Issa Thiam
Matt Bullock

  1. Michigan State Spartans - Izzo was hit with a few underclassmen transfers in addition to the loss of their beloved senior trio, but the Spartans have been sitting pretty with a phenomenal recruiting class in tow. They may be overshadowed by the freshmen at Duke and Kentucky, but MSU's incoming quartet will be one of the best classes the Big Ten has ever seen. This blog thinks recruiting ultimately matters, so we'll go with the Spartans at #1.  

  2. Wisconsin Badgers - Despite his indecisiveness leading up to an abrupt retirement, could the transition out of the Bo Ryan era gone any smoother for Wisconsin? Greg Gard already looks like a home run hire that could maintain the Badgers' decade-plus dominance in the league. With Nigel Hayes passing on the NBA, Bucky loses nobody from last year's group that won 11 of 13 conference games after a rough start. They've got a stable program to market right now during Gard's first recruiting cycle as head coach.

  3. Indiana Hoosiers - Tom Crean may be the most beleaguered coach in this conference, but his IU program could be poised for another contending year. Yogi Ferrell's replacement will need to provide answers at point guard, but whoever lands the job will have plenty of weapons around them. Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby are NBA prospects in a frontcourt that's also adding 4-star freshman, De'Ron Davis. James Blackmon and Robert Johnson add shooting and experience to a backcourt that will add Pitt transfer Josh Newkirk and 4-star guard Curtis Jones to the rotation.

  4. Purdue Boilermakers - Despite losing AJ Hammons, the Boilermakers bring back a stellar frontcourt. More will be expected from Isaac Hass, but it remains to be seen how much playing time the 7-footer can physically handle. Caleb Swanigan and Vince Edwards also return, but Painter will need better guard play for this team to improve. Is Michigan transfer Spike Albrecht the answer?

  5. Maryland - The Terps lost four of their five starters (including Diamond Stone), but Mark Turgeon was fortunate to retain Melo Trimble for one more season. Maryland may be able to challenge for the league crown if Trimble bounces back and has a potential POY campaign, but he will need teammates to step up and fill key roles. There's a talented freshman class that will get opportunities (including recent 4-star addition, Justin Jackson), but too many questions remain unanswered to consider this team a contender just yet.

  6. Ohio State - The narrative in Columbus has gone south on Thad Matta. After four of five decorated 2015 recruits transferred out after just one year, some have begun questioning the direction of the program. Despite all of those losses, Thad's team returns the second-most RPMs in the conference. If Ja'Quan Lyle can cut down the turnovers and Marc Loving regains his stroke, don't be surprised if this team jumps back into the NCAA tournament after a rare appearance in the NIT last season.

  7. Michigan - Despite some negative press for their own transfer controversies this spring, Michigan's core also remains in tact for next season. Their perimeter personnel features the long-range shooting most Beilein team's are known for, but they'll need a big to emerge in the frontcourt to complement the offense. Whatever improvement Mark Donnal and Moritz Wagner can make will determine the ceiling of Michigan's potential.

  8. Northwestern - Not sure if this is an appropriate spot for the Wildcats, but they have some things coming together on paper in Chris Collins' fourth season. Bryant McIntosh will be an all-league caliber point guard as a junior, and Aaron Falzon should improve upon a promising freshman season. Vic Law also is expected back from a torn labrum that kept him out last year.  However, outgoing seniors like Alex Olah and Tre Demps are not easily be replaced at a program like Northwestern's. So is this the year? Probably not.

  9. Iowa - Fran McCaffery has done a remarkable job turning around the Hawkeyes from the dumpster fire Todd Lickliter left behind, but it will be difficult to return to the NCAA tournament with this inexperienced crew. They took a needed step in the right direction when Peter Jok withdrew from the NBA draft, but the rest of the roster features 10 scholarship underclassmen and a JuCo senior. Only one of them was a top-100 recruit coming out of high school (Tyler Cook). Fran's going to have to work some magic to turn this outfit into a posteason contender.

  10. Nebraska - This program has yet to take off under Tim Miles despite a surprise NCAA run in 2014. His other three teams in Lincoln have failed to reach the .500 mark. Miles track record with transfers has been well-established, so it's probably wise to expect former Louisville guard Anton Gill to make an immediate impact. However, it has been failures in prep recruiting that has held Miles' program back. His rising sophomore class could flip that script after logging quality minutes as true freshmen. This could be the Big Ten's best sleeper pick.

  11. Penn State - While this is another program seemingly stuck in neutral under Pat Chambers, the Lions add their best recruiting class ever to Happy Valley. The unprecedented Philadelphia movement will reach an apex when Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins (three former Top-100 recruits) join Shep Garner. Despite the astounding talent infusion for their standards, it may be premature to expect this team without any scholarship seniors to ascend to the top half of the Big Ten.

  12. Illinois - John Groce is still employed, but not many know why. His program has captured various headlines off-the-court over the past year for numerous arrests. The issues culminated after this month's dismissal of Kendrick Nunn when he plead guilty to hitting his girlfriend. If the Illini can turn around the culture within the program, there remains enough talent to be much better than 12th. Super seniors Tracy Abrams (who still awaits the NCAA's official decision on his 6th year) and Mike Thorne could be the new leadership to turn things around in Champaign, while Malcolm Hill will continue to get buckets.

  13. Minnesota - Richard Pitino is also still employed, and his large buyout negotiated under Norwood Teague has presumably been the roadblock. Minnesota's program also has a culture that doesn't respect women after a social media sex-tape scandal at the end of last season and now Reggie Lynch's arrest for criminal sexual conduct. Lynch has yet to be charged since his arrest over 3 weeks ago, but the negative press was another blow to a program that can't take many more. Pitino welcomes his best recruiting class to town and a pair of impact transfers in DaVante Fitzgerald (Texas A&M) and Lynch, assuming charges never arise, but who can you rely on to provide the leadership necessary to turn it around?

  14. Rutgers - They were a historic disaster last season. The worst power conference team in the KenPom era by a wide margin, Rutgers fired Eddie Jordan and brought in the league's only new head coach, Steve Pikiell from Stony Brook. He's off to a decent start by keeping Corey Sanders in Piscataway. He'll need a one or two more recruiting cycles to firm up a foundation, but there's a few pieces here that could see the Scarlet Knights jump up to the 150ish range in the KenPom ratings instead of the near-300 cupcake they were a year ago.