Big Ten Power Rankings Heading Into 2020/2021
1) Iowa – I’ve never talked about Iowa this much in a one month span but that’s what happens when you have one of the best players in the sport. The Hawkeyes have top 5 talent, depending on what Jordan Bohannon they’re going to get. They’re going to return stud swingman Joe Wieskamp, Connor McCaffery, CJ Frederick, Joe Toussaint and the favorite to win NPOY Luka Garza. This was an easy call.
2) Wisconsin – If anyone is going to come close to winning the Big Ten, it’s Wisconsin. They’re only losing one starter from a team that shared the regular season Big Ten title this past year in Brevin Pritzl. They have what every successful team has – experience. They’ll have 6 seniors who contribute in some way: D’Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison, Trevor Anderson, Nate Reuvers, Aleem Ford and Micah Potter. They ended the season on a 8 game winning streak and went 16-5 with Micah Potter in the lineup.
3) Michigan State – The Spartans are a top 4 team every year until Tom Izzo retires and it’s as simple as that. Losing Cassius Winston and potentially Xavier Tillman is a killer but Rocket Watts and company should still make it an interesting season. They also add key transfer Joey Hauser from Marquette who averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 boards a game while shooting 43% from three.
4) Rutgers – Pounding nails. Steve Pikiell and Rutgers were a lock to make it to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1991, I wasn’t even born then. Take it to the bank, they 100% will be a tournament team next year. They bring back every key piece: Geo Baker, Ron Harper Jr, Myles Johnson, Montez Mathis and Paul Mulcahy plus adding top 50 recruit Cliff Omoruyi. I think I’m more confident in them being a tourney team than marrying my wife (just kidding honey).
5) Illinois – Losing Ayo Dosunmu, Alan Griffin and Andres Feliz is going to considerably change the dynamic of this team but they’ll still have Kofi Cockburn and Giorgi Bezhanishvili to anchor the frontcourt. Brad Underwood is also bringing in the 2nd overall recruiting class in the Big Ten with Andre Curbelo and Adam Miller who should help solve their backcourt issues. I think it’s fair to say Fighting Illini basketball is back.
6) Michigan – Juwan had a rough 24 hours earlier in the offseason, missing out on 5-star Josh Christopher and then having commit Isaiah Todd declare for the G League but they still hold the number one recruiting class in the conference. Returning Franz Wagner, Eli Brooks and potentially Isaiah Livers is key; they have a low floor and a high ceiling so I could be way off base on this one.
7) Ohio State – Chris Holtmann has done a solid job since getting the job and has been a tournament team every year during his tenure but I’m not sold on next years team. Kaleb Wesson is the key, if he stays in the draft it could be an underwhelming season. The losses of him, his brother, Luther Muhammad and D.J. Carton might just be too much to overcome.
8) Indiana – Hoosier fans are a passionate bunch and I’m sure Archie is feeling the heat a bit after being a bubble team this year. Trayce Jackson-Davis coming back is huge for Indiana and with the additions of Anthony Leal and Jordan Geronimo plus with Rob Phinisee, Joey Brunk, Justin Smith and Al Durham returning they should be a tournament team.
9) Maryland – As a die hard Terp, it’s admittedly going to be a long year next season. They *should* be a tournament team but I think we’ll be sweating it out come selection Sunday. Losing arguably their two most important pieces in Anthony Cowan and Jalen Smith, they return Eric Ayala, Darryl Morsell, Donta Scott, Aaron Wiggins and bringing in 4-star transfer Jairus Hamilton from Boston College.
10) Purdue – Matt Painter got blindsided with Matt Haarms decision to transfer but he’s bringing in two 4-star prospects to try to mitigate the loss. Nojel Eastern, Aaron Wheeler, Trevion Williams and Sasha Stefanovic are all returning so it wouldn’t exactly shock me if Painter somehow willed this team to the tournament.
11) Penn State – The Nittany Lions are losing Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins and Curtis Jones – all key contributors. They do however return some interesting pieces in Izaiah Brockington, Myles Dread, Myreon Jones and Jamari Wheeler. It’s probably not a tournament team but Pat Chambers has bought himself a buffer with the season he had.
12) Minnesota – It’s been a roller coaster ride of a tenure for Rick Pitino and their chances of getting back to the tournament isn’t going to improve with the massive loss of Daniel Oturu. This Minnesota team will most likely find themselves in the bottom four of the league for the second straight year which won’t help Pitinos’ chances of keeping his job past next season.
13) Northwestern – It’s probably a good thing Chris Collins took Northwestern to their first ever tournament appearance because he hasn’t done squat since. They’re losing AJ Turner and Pat Spencer but returning Boo Buie, Robbie Beran, Anthony Gaines, Miller Kopp, Pete Nance and Ryan Young. It wouldn’t surprise me if they snuck up on some teams next year, it’s not a tournament team but they could be surprisingly fun to watch.
14) Nebraska – The worst team in the league from this previous year is also bringing in the worst recruiting class in the conference while also losing their most important piece to graduation in Haanif Cheatham. It’s going to take Fred Hoiberg some time to get things going but next year isn’t going to be the year. Hoiberg received a couple of big pick ups in Wisconsin transfer Kobe King and Pitt transfer Trey McGowens, but they’ll have to sit out a year.