basketball Edit

Early Look: Big Ten Hoop in 2016-17

Want a detailed look at the 2016-17 Big Ten race now with the NBA decisions behind us? brings that to you to give everyone an idea where the power may lie as Indiana looks to repeat as regular season champion.

Ordered by projected finish, the 2016-17 race should be a hard one to predict.

Note that Rivals150 rankings are in parentheses after each team's signee name.

Wisconsin (12-6, 22-13)

Returnees: 6'7 F Nigel Hayes (15.7 ppg), 6'4 G Bronson Koenig (13.1 ppg), 6'9 Ethan Happ (12.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg), 6'2 Zak Showalter (7.5 ppg), 6'8 Vitto Brown (9.7 ppg), 6'8 F 6'3 Jordan Hill (2.9 ppg), 6'5 Khalil Iverson (2.6 ppg), 6'8 Charlie Thomas (2.3 ppg), 6'9 Alex Illikainen (2.2 ppg)
Graduation losses: None of note
Transfer/pro losses: None
Additions of note: 6'3 Brevin Pritzl (Medical redshirt, Top 80 in Rivals150), 6'11 Andy Van Vliet (Belgium), 6'6 Aleem Ford (NR), 5'11 D'Mitrik Trice (NR)
Summary: After a tough start to the season, Wisconsin came closer than any league team in making it to the Elite Eight and returns all their key players plus a pair of guys in Pritzl (medical) and Van Vliet (academics) who had to sit out the year. Pritzl helps solve the outside shooting weakness. Hayes has to improve upon his 36.8 percent shooting--but his return was huge for Greg Gard. Happ was terrific and could become a first team all-league guy this season.

Hayes and Happ will be a formidable frontcourt in 2016-17
Hayes and Happ will be a formidable frontcourt in 2016-17
Associated Press

Indiana (15-3, 27-8)

Returnees: 6'10 Thomas Bryant (11.9 ppg), 6'3 G James Blackmon Jr. (15.8), 6'3 Robert Johnson (8.1 ppg), 6'7 Collin Hartman (5.0 ppg), 6'8 OG Anunoby (4.9 ppg), 6'7 Juwan Morgan (2.4 ppg)
Graduation losses: 6'0 Yogi Ferrell (17.3 ppg), 6'8 Max Bielfeldt (8.2 ppg), 6'4 Nick Zeisloft (6.5 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: 6'7 Troy Williams (13.3 ppg)
Additions of note: 6'1 Josh Newkirk (Pitt transfer), 6'10 De'Ron Davis (#35), 6'3 Curtis Jones (#69), 6'1 Devonte Green (NR), 6'5 Grant Gelon (NR), 6'6 Freddie McSwain (JuCo)
Summary: The defending champs have their big man back in Bryant, a guy who shot over 70 percent from the floor for most of the season. Big key is point guard play where Newkirk and Johnson will be looked to fill the huge void from Ferrell's departure. Blackmon's health and commitment to defense will be another major thing to watch. Can Anunoby shine in major minutes like he did at times in limited minutes? Davis gives team another dimension inside with his shot blocking presence.

IU sophomore Thomas Bryant should be one of nation's top centers
IU sophomore Thomas Bryant should be one of nation's top centers

Michigan State (13-5, 29-6)

Returnees: 6'3 Eron Harris (9.3 ppg), 6'9 Gavin Schilling (3.8 ppg), 6'5 Matt McQuaid (3.5 ppg), 5'10 Lourawls Nairn (2.8 ppg, 3.3 apg), 6'6 Kenny Goins (2.0 ppg)
Graduation losses: 6'5 Denzel Valentine (19.2 ppg, 7.8 apg), 6'3 Bryn Forbes (14.4 ppg), 6'9 Matt Costello (10.7 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: 6'10 Deyonta Davis (7.5 ppg), 6'6 Marvin Clark (3.9 ppg), 6'5 Javon Bess (2.9 ppg
Additions of note: 6'9 Ben Carter (UNLV grad transfer), 6'6 Miles Bridges (#10), 6'6 Josh Langford (#20), 6'0 Cassius Winston (#29), 6'9 Nick Ward (#41)
Summary: With four recruits coming in with an average ranking of No. 25 nationally, you can see why many once again see the Spartans as a favorite despite Tom Izzo losing his three top scorers including the league MVP in Valentine. Harris has to emerge and continue to improve and manage his shot selection as a primary option. Post play is real question mark with Schilling the only experienced returnee and Ward the only frontcourt signee. UPDATE - Spartans add UNLV grad transfer Ben Carter (8.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg). That should help the frontcourt depth issue.

Purdue (12-6, 26-9)

Returnees: 6'7 Vince Edwards (11.3 ppg), 6'8 Caleb Swanigan (10.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg), 7'2 Isaac Haas (9.8 ppg), 5'9 PJ Thompson (5.7 ppg), 6'4 Dakota Mathias (5.5 ppg), 6'5 Ryan Cline (3.9 ppg), Basil Smotherman (redshirt)
Graduation losses: 7'0 A.J. Hammons (15.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg), 6'6 Rapheal Davis (8.3 ppg), 6'2 Johnny Hill (5.1 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: 6'5 Kendall Stephens (6.1 ppg)
Additions of note: 5'11 Spike Albrecht (Michigan transfer), 6'0 Carsen Edwards (#91)
Summary: Big loss with Hammons but can absorb it with Haas and Swanigan back. Addressed point issue with Albrecht and Carsen Edwards, the latter an underrated guard from Texas who proved himself in the Nike EYBL circuit despite sharing point there with 5-star DeAaron Fox. If one of those two can help with the turnover problem, Purdue can make a run for the title.

Isaac Haas won't split the center position his final couple seasons in West Lafayette
Isaac Haas won't split the center position his final couple seasons in West Lafayette

Maryland (12-6, 27-9)

Returnees: Melo Trimble (14.8 ppg, 4.9 apg), Jared Nickens (5.4 ppg), 6'11 Damonte Dodd (2.9 ppg), 5'11 Jaylen Brantley (2.3 ppg), 7'1 Michal Cekovsky (2.3 ppg), 6'4 Dion Wiley (medical redshirt),
Graduation losses: 6'9 Jake Layman (11.6 ppg), 6'4 Rasheed Sulaimon (11.3 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: 6'11 Diamond Stone (12.5 ppg), 6'9 Robert Carter (12.3 ppg)
Additions of note: 6'8 L.G. Gill (Duquesne grad transfer), 5'10 Anthony Cowan (#45), 6'7 Justin Jackson (NR), 6'5 Kevin Huerter (#59), 6'7 Micah Thomas (#100)
Summary: Four starters are gone but the leader of the gang (Trimble) is back, Dion Wiley returns off medical redshirt and a quartet of four-stars immediately bring depth and options, especially on the wings. Big man Michal Cekovsky came in with a lot of hype and won't sit behind Diamond Stone and Robert Carter this year. If he develops this team could contend. Duquesne transfer Gill (10.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg) will help make up for surprise loss of Carter. Jackson is not ranked but the Canadian is considered a top 50 or four star level talent. Dangerous team as this group may have a better team mindset versus last year's preseason favorite squad.

Michigan (10-8, 23-13)

Returnees: 6'6 Zak Irvin (11.8 ppg), 6'1 Derrick Walton (11.6 ppg), 6'8 Duncan Robinson (11.2 ppg), 6'4 Muhammad-Al Abdur Rahkman (8.6 ppg), 6'9 Mark Donnal (7.8 ppg), 6'10 Moritz Wagner (2.9 ppg), 6'10 D.J. Wilson (2.7 ppg), 6'2 Andrew Dakich (0.6 ppg)
Graduation losses: 6'7 Caris LeVert (16.5 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: 6'6 Aubrey Dawkins (6.5 ppg), 6'9 Ricky Doyle (3.8 ppg), 6'8 Kameron Chatman (2.8 ppg), 5'11 Spike Albrecht (1.9 ppg)
Additions of note: 5'11 Xavier Simpson (#65), 6'10 Jon Teske (#108), 6'10 Austin Davis (NR), 6'4 Ibi Watson (NR)
Summary: Even without Caris LeVert this team had enough last year to knock off Indiana in Indianapolis and make the NCAAs. Sure there were a lot of transfers but the main post-LeVert injury cogs are all back. Depth inside should be improved with addition of Austin Davis and Jon Teske. Wagner and Wilson also showed flashes inside and just having one make major steps would be huge. Definitely a team that should make the NCAA.

Zak Irvin leads a Michigan team that should be able to be more than a bubble team in 2016-17
Zak Irvin leads a Michigan team that should be able to be more than a bubble team in 2016-17
USA Today

Ohio State (11-7, 21-14)

Returnees: 6'7 Marc Loving (14.0 ppg), 6'7 Keita Bates-Diop (11.8 ppg), 6'4 Jae-Sean Tate (11.7 ppg), 6'5 JaQuan Lyle (11.2 ppg), 6'2 Kam Williams (8.3 ppg), 6'11 Trevor Thompson (6.5 ppg),
Graduation losses: None
Transfer/pro losses: 6'11 Daniel Giddens (3.8 ppg), 5'10 A.J. Harris (2.8 ppg), 6'7 Mickey Mitchell (2.0 ppg)
Additions of note: 6'9 Derek Funderburk (#77), 6'10 Micah Potter (NR), 6'6 Andre Wesson (NR), 6'1 C.J. Jackson (NR)
Summary: Keep in mind this team won 11 conference games last year and the starting lineup is all back. The players who did not see a lot of playing time all left early so will have to rely on four-man recruiting class for depth. Taking better care of the basketball will be one huge key along with finding another reliable outside shooter besides Williams. Thompson has to step up inside with Giddens leaving. Funderburk will help there but he's more of a finesse big. This team has to want it more.

Nebraska (6-12, 16-18)

Returnees: 6'7 Andrew White (16.6 ppg), 6'4 Tai Webster (10.1 ppg), 6'0 Glynn Watson (8.6 ppg), 6'8 Jack McVeigh (4.8 ppg), 6'8 Michael Jacobson (4.7 ppg), 6'7 Ed Morrow 4.1 ppg), 6'7 Nick Fuller (1.8 ppg)
Graduation losses: 6'7 Shavon Shields (16.8 ppg), 5'9 Benny Parker (4.8 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: Jake Hammond (2.2 ppg)
Additions of note: 6'3 Anton Gill (Louisville transfer), 6'8 Isaiah Roby (#113), 6'6 Jeriah Horne (#122), 6'11 Jordy Tshimanga (#150)
Summary: Loss of Shavon Shields might hurt but he was more of a wing where White often hangs out and where the Huskers are deep with the addition of Louisville transfer Anton Gill, veteran Tai Webster and where Jack McVeigh can really do some damage. Watson can handle point so the question mark is up front where Tim Miles returns some undersized forwards but has three Rivals150 signees who have a bit more size and talent. Good defense is normally a Miles staple, but this team was poor in that department last season. Make that a trait again and this team can be dancing in March.

Northwestern (8-10, 20-12)

Returnees: 6'3 Bryant McIntosh (13.8 ppg, 6.7 apg), 6'8 Aaron Falzon (8.4 ppg), 6'8 Dererk Pardon (6.7 ppg), 6'5 Scottie Lindsay (6.4 ppg), 6'7 Nathan Taphorn (4.9 ppg), 6'6 Sanjay Lumpkin (3.8 ppg), 6'8 Gavin Skelly (3.3 ppg), 6'3 Jordan Ash (1.3 ppg), 6'7 Vic Law (medical redshirt)
Graduation losses: 6'3 Tre Demps (15.7 ppg), Alex Olah (11.4 ppg), Joey van Zegeren (3.4 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: None
Additions of note: 6'8 Rapolas Ivanauskas (#97), 6'9 Barret Benson (#118), 6'1 Isiah Brown (NR)
Summary: Vic Law was a very good freshman so getting him back will help absorb the loss of Demps and Olah. McIntosh will have to manage even more attention from the defense but Aaron Falzon and Dererk Pardon were better than advertised. Barret Benson helps the frontcourt and Rapolas Ivanauskas is a very skilled 6-foot-8 guy who could play either forward spot.

Illinois (5-13, 15-19)

Returnees: 6'6 Malcolm Hill (18.1 ppg), 6'11 Mike Thorne (12.9 ppg), 6'3 Jalen Coleman-Lands (10.3 ppg), 6'10 Maverick Morgan (8.3 ppg), 6'10 Michael Finke (7.5 ppg), 6'7 LeRon Black (4.4 ppg), 6'5 Aaron Jordan (3.3 ppg), 6'7 D.J. Williams (2.1 ppg), 6'3 Jaylon Tate (1.8 ppg), 6'2 Tracy Abrams (medical redshirt)
Graduation losses: 6'3 Khalid Lewis (3.9 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: 6'3 Kendrick Nunn (15.5 ppg)
Additions of note: 5'11 Te'Jon Lucas (#148)
Summary: Do or die time for John Groce and he may need Tracy Abrams to finally be healthy and a stabilizing force at point. The off the court problems that most recently included the loss of Kendrick Nunn, have to stop. Wings are still aplenty with Malcolm Hill and Jalen Coleman-Lands returning and big man Mike Thorne was granted another year. Aaron Jordan and/or DJ Williams need to step up as sophomores.

Iowa (12-6, 22-11)

Returnees: 6'6 Peter Jok (16.1 ppg), 6'9 Dom Uhl (6.0 ppg), 6'7 Dale Jones (5.5 ppg), 6'7 Nicholas Baer (4.8 ppg), 6'4 Brady Ellingson (2.8 ppg), 6'7 Ahmad Wagner (2.6 ppg), 6'6 Christian Williams (1.4 ppg)
Graduation losses: 6'9 Jarrod Uthoff (18.9 ppg), 6'0 Anthony Clemmons (8.9 ppg), 6'3 Mike Gesell (8.1 ppg), 7'0 Adam Woodbury (7.6 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: 6'5 Andrew Fleming (2.2 ppg)
Additions of note: 6'8 Tyler Cook (#74), 6'8 Cordell Pemsl (NR), 6'0 Jordan Bohannon (NR), 6'9 Ryan Kriener (NR), 6'5 Isaiah Moss (redshirt)
Summary: Peter Jok decided to return but almost everyone else of note isn't back, save for promising forward Dom Uhl. Juco Dale Jones had shown promise before knee injury took away his season in December, so he's one to watch early. Four-star recruit Tyler Cook will have to be thrown into the fire right away. A lot of sophs on this roster that had a moment here or there but are very much unproven right now. Point guard a real question mark as unranked signee Bohannon looks to be only point on the roster.

Penn State (7-11, 16-16)

Returnees: 6'1 Shep Garner (14.5 ppg), 6'6 Payton Banks (9.5 ppg), 6'4 Josh Reaves (6.4 ppg), 6'2 Devin Foster (4.1 ppg), 6'10 Julian Moore (3.9 ppg), 6'6 Deividas Zemgulis (2.9 ppg), 6'3 Isaiah Washington (2.8 ppg), 6'8 Mike Watkins (academically ineligible)
Graduation losses: 6'6 Brandon Taylor (16.3 ppg), 6'9 Donovon Jack (4.7 ppg), 7'1 Jordan Dickerson (2.8 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: None
Additions of note: 6'4 Terrence Samuel (UConn transfer), 6'5 Tony Carr (#46), 6'6 Lamar Stevens (#96), 6'4 Nazeer Bostick (NR), 6'7 Joe Hampton (NR)
Summary: Hard team to predict as Taylor was the team's giant killer last year but the young guys showed promise and Pat Chambers has his best ever recruiting class. Carr and Garner could be a really versatile point combo and Reaves and Samuel give them a pair of wing guards on the rise. The addition of Watkins and Stevens will add a great combination of strength and athleticism to the frontcourt. This team may be a year away from a big splash but not a real shocker if they sneak into upper half contention this coming season.

Minnesota (2-16, 8-23)

Returnees: 6'1 Nate Mason (13.8 ppg), 6'6 Jordan Murphy (11.6 ppg), , 6'9 Charles Buggs (5.9), 6'4 Dupress McBrayer (5.9 ppg), 6'11 Bakary Konate (4.8 ppg), 6'6 Ahmad Gilbert (3.4 ppg)
Graduation losses: 6'9 Joey King (11.6 ppg), 6'5 Carlos Morris (9.8 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: 6'0 Kevin Dorsey (6.8 ppg)
Additions of note: 6'4 Akeem Springs (UW-Milwaukee grad transfer), 6'9 Reggie Lynch (Illinois State transfer), 6'8 Davonte Fitzgerald (Texas A&M transfer), 6'6 Amir Coffey (#52), 6'8 Eric Curry (#142), 6'6 Michael Hurt (NR)
Summary: This team has been embarrassing of late, both on and off the court. The good news is Richard Pitino has a lot of pieces at play in 2016-17 and maybe he can return to an uptempo, full court pressing style. Bunch of young guys with promise that were throw into the fire last year including a potential star in the making in Jordan Murphy. Three new transfers and a one time five star recruit in Amir Coffey---maybe it is just a matter of playing the guys who are really committed both on and off the court? Springs averaged 13.2 ppg at Milwaukee, so he'll play. Lynch is good big man but status in question after sexual conduct arrest. Fitzgerald can help inside. Without Lynch, Konate and Buggs would have to take major leaps.

Rutgers (1-17, 7-25)

Returnees: 6'2 Corey Sanders (15.9 ppg), 6'7 Deshawn Freeman (13.1 ppg), 6'2 Mike Williams (12.3 ppg), 6'6 Jonathan Laurant (8.1 ppg), 6'10 Ibrahima Diallo (3.6 ppg), 6'11 Shaquille Doorson (medical redshirt)
Graduation losses: 6'3 Bishop Daniels (8.8 ppg), 6'4 Omari Grier (7.6 ppg), 6'9 Greg Lewis 4.0 ppg)
Transfer/pro losses: 6'8 D.J. Foreman (7.9 ppg), 6'2 Justin Goode (2.2 ppg)
Additions of note: 6'1 Nigel Johnson (Kansas State transfer), 6'9 Issa Thiam (NR), 6'4 Matt Bullock (NR), 6'9 Candido Sa (JuCo)
Summary: New coach Steve Pikiell has his work cut out for him but at least has a couple good pieces to build around in Sanders and Freeman. The five graduation and transfer departures appear to be fairly inconsequential other than it hits depth. Especially considering the three-man recruiting class is completely off the radar. K-State transfer Nigel Johnson will bolster the backcourt. He was third on the Wildcats in made threes, assist and steals in 2014-15. Pikiell got it done at Stony Brook and this team should be better, but will be hard to get out of last place in year one.