B1G Ten Basketball Preview
With NCAA basketball right around the corner, the Big Ten Conference should give college basketball fans a ton of excitement this season. With Maryland being the favorite, will there be a team to challenge them in the conference? It should be a lively season to look forward to.
Illinois: ’14-15 Record: 19-14 (9-9 B1G)
Illinois is a team which can go in either direction this upcoming season. Head coach John Groce has been the Illini coach since 2012. Groce has a few returning players including guards Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn who can contribute mightily to the team. However, leading scorer Rayvonte Rice went on to graduate and now plays overseas. Illinois will add a talented guard in D.J. Williams who committed to the team back in 2013. Williams is currently 64th in ESPN’s Top 100.
Indiana: ’14-15 Record: 20-14 (9-9 B1G)
Indiana will enter the 2015-2016 season ranked No. 15 in the country. Yogi Ferrell will return for his senior season after considering declaring for the NBA Draft following the conclusion of the 2014-2015 season. The Hoosiers will also welcome back James Blackmon, Jr. The combination of an improved Ferrell and Blackmon could give fits to opponents.
Iowa: ’14-15 Record: 22-12 (12-6 B1G)
The Hawkeyes won’t have a huge piece to their success on the court this season in Aaron White. White led the team in points last season and was the leader who carried the team. But, senior Jarrod Uthoff will be back for Iowa in what will be his final season for the Hawkeyes. Look for Uthoff to be a strong force down low. Iowa will also welcome five talented freshmen who will all be looking to contribute in any way they can.
Maryland: ’14-15 Record: 28-7 (14-4 B1G)
Maryland is the Big Ten favorite for many and will come into the year ranked third in the country. The Terps will be happy to have Melo Trimble and Jake Layman back as both were in the top three in scoring last season. Having these two back, accompanied by a solid defense, will give Maryland a strong case for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament come March. This Maryland team went from a 17-15 record in 2013-2014 to being ranked No. 3 in the whole country two years later. Let’s see what Mark Turgeon has rolled up his sleeve for this season as head coach for the Terps.
Michigan: ’14-15 Record: 16-16 (8-10 B1G)
The Wolverines will go into the season with their heads held high getting back Caris LeVert on the offensive end. LeVert led the team in points per game last season and will be ranked 25th in the country going into their opener against Northern Michigan. The team also picked up a 6-foot-10 forward from Berlin, Germany named Moritz Wagner. Head coach John Beilein said that he, as well as the coaching staff, “loves coaching” him. The season should definitely be an improvement from the .500 season the team had last year.
Michigan State: ’14-15 Record: 27-12 (12-6 B1G)
Sparty and Tom Izzo will be another ranked team within the Big Ten Conference at No. 13. A noticeable loss that the Spartans will have to overcome is Travis Trice who led the team in scoring a season ago. However, shooter Denzel Valentine will return for his senior year with a national championship on his mind. Look for 6-foot-10 freshman Deytona Davis to contribute mightily down low for Michigan State. Davis will be a huge part of the Spartans success this season.
Ohio State: ’14-15 Record: 24-11 (11-7 B1G)
The Buckeyes will enter the season unranked and didn’t receive a single vote in the AP Top 25 rankings. Coming off of a promising season last year, Ohio State won’t have D’Angelo Russell who is now the point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team will be really young only having one senior, who didn’t play much at all last year, and one junior, Marc Loving, who averaged 9.4 points last season. The thing that stands out the most is the seven freshmen on the roster. It will take a little while for this Buckeyes team to be like they were last season.
Purdue: ’14-15 Record: 21-13 (12-6 B1G)
Purdue should be a very good team this upcoming season and finish in the top five in the Big Ten. Finishing fourth last year, the Boilermakers will have to sustain that success to be a powerhouse in the conference. Unlike Ohio State, Purdue will have five seniors on their roster and four of their five top scorers will be back for head coach Matt Painter’s team. Freshman Ryan Kline will also contribute right away off the bench. Entering the season ranked 23rd in the country, it should be an exciting basketball season in West Lafayette.
Wisconsin: ’14-15 Record: 36-4 (16-2 B1G)
Wisconsin came six points away from a national championship last year. They not only lost the game but also lost Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. Eight freshmen are on the Badgers’ roster, however scorer Nigel Paige will be back for the Badgers to play his junior season under Bo Ryan. The 17th-ranked Badgers will not be as good as they were last year, but the talent on the team should get them back to the NCAA Tournament.
Also around the Big Ten, Northwestern will be better than its record showed last year and are improving, while Rutgers will continue to be Rutgers. Nebraska and Minnesota will most likely hover around .500 this year, but will contend nonetheless.
Mike Wszolek is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.