Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Super Early Big Ten Hoops Preview for 2013-2014

You know what it's way too early for?  College Basketball previews.  You know what I'm thinking about a lot lately?  College Basketball.  As such, here is a way, way, way too early preview of Big Ten Hoops next year, keeping in mind that there are no "official previews" or anything out there to work off of, so a lot of the player movement is only coming from my own research and as much as I tried to stay on top of it I'm sure there are some things I missed.  Sue me.  If you don't like it, don't read it, ass. 


1.  MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
- LOSSES:  C Derrick Nix
- ADDS:  SG Alvin Ellis, C Gavin Schilling
- LINEUP:
PG - Keith Appling
SG - Gary Harris
SF - Denzel Valentine
PF - Branden Dawson,
C - Adreian Payne

- OVERVIEW:  That is simply not fair.  Not fair at all.  Look at that returnee lineup and consider none of those guys are freshman so they bring back a ton of experience to go along with all that talent.  About the only good news is they are pretty weak in terms of playing time behind the starters with only Travis Trice showing good production in quality minutes last year and the recruiting class isn't great (funny that they were both Tubby recruits and would have been considered "awesome gets") at least in so far as immediate impact goes.  Still, Izzo shouldn't need much from his bench looking at how good everybody else is.  An absolute National Title Contender right here.

2.  OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
- LOSSES:  F Deshaun Thomas, F Evan Ravenel
- ADDS:  SG Kameron Williams (ESPN #68), SF Marc Loving (ESPN #62)
- LINEUP:
PG - Aaron Craft
SG - Lenzelle Smith
SF - LaQuinton Ross
PF - Sam Thompson
 C - Amir Williams

- OVERVIEW:  Another absolutely loaded team, they may lack the individual star power of some of the Spartans but this team is extremely deep.  That lineup posted above is pretty much a guess, because they can also go smaller with Shannon Scott or one of the freshmen could slip in there - and Loving is a 6-8 small forward so they have even more flexibility.  They may have some issues earlier figuring out who is going to replace the huge amount of ball usage Thomas took up the last couple years, but I'm sure with Matta still in charge they'll get it figure out quickly. 

3.  MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
- LOSSES:  PG Trey Burke, SG Tim Hardaway
- ADDS:  PG Derrick Walton (ESPN #30), SF Zak Irvin (ESPN #22), PF Mark Donnal (ESPN #89), PG Andrew Dakich
- LINEUP:
PG - Derrick Walton
SG - Nik Stauskas
SF - Zak Irvin
PF - Glenn Robinson
C - Mitch McGary

- OVERVIEW:   Losing your starting backcourt, especially as talented one as Burke and Hardaway, would probably be a killer for most teams, but Michigan caught a break with both Glenn Robinson and Mitch McGary deciding to stay in school and have an awesome starting class coming in that could yield two starters in Walton and Irvin.  If things don't completely work out with the freshmen Michigan has the depth to absorb some of those issues as well, but more in the front court (Robinson can play PF or SF, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford are still around) than in the back court where Caris LeVert and Final Four almost hero Spike Albrecht are your depth.  Really the biggest key to the season is Walton, but the Wolverines have enough talent to be in contention even if he struggles.

4.  IOWA HAWKEYES
- LOSSES:  SF Eric May (5.2ppg, 3.7rpg)
- ADDS:  SF Peter Jok, transfer F Jarrod Uthoff (from Wisconsin)
- LINEUP:
PG - Mike Gesell
SG - Roy Marble
SF - Aaron White
PF - Melsahn Basabe
C - Adam Woodbury

- OVERVIEW:   It kills me to think Iowa might be good this year as much as it kills you, but the ingredients are all there.  Almost the entire team is returning from last year's team that finished out both the regular and postseason on a nice run, finishing second in the NIT.  They are an experienced squad, but also have some nice young players who could seriously blossom, and they have two guys who are already poised to be stars.  Roy Marble lit it up at the end of the year and scored 20+ in four of the Hawkeyes' five NIT games, and Aaron White not only made Team USA for the World University Games but has played pretty well.  Add in the transfer of Uthoff and Iowa could even finish as high as third.  Kill me.


5.  INDIANA HOOSIERS
- LOSSES:  C Cody Zeller, PF Christian Watford, SG Victor Oladipo, PG Jordan Hulls, SG Maurice Creek, SG Remy Abell
- ADDS:  SG Evan Gordon (transfer from Ariz State), PF Noah Vonleh (ESPN #13), C Luke Fischer (ESPN #34), SF Troy Williams (ESPN #54), SF Stanford Robinson (ESPN #99), SF Devin Davis, SF Collin Hartman
- LINEUP:
PG - Yogi Ferrell
SG - Evan Gordon
SF - Will Sheehy
PF - Noah Vonleh
PF - Hanner Mosquera-Perea

- OVERVIEW:   Nobody else in the conference loses anywhere near what the Hoosiers do from last season, but they've been stockpiling talent long enough (and this year's class is no exception once again) that they should end up just fine, particularly by getting a well timed, and immediately eligible thanks to the grad school loophole, transfer in Evan Gordon.  Although Indiana has some good depth in the front court (Derek Elston, etc.) they were looking shaky on the perimeter (notice not a single guard in the much heralded recruiting class (though it sounds like Robinson is more SG/SF than pure SF) so Gordon's ability to handle both guard spots is going to be huge for Indiana.  Because they definitely deserve more breaks.  Tom Crean is an asshat.

6.  WISCONSIN BADGERS
- LOSSES:  PF Mike Bruesewitz, C Jared Berggren, SF Ryan Evans
- ADDS:  PF Nigel Hayes (ESPN #83), PG Bronson Koenig, SG Riley Dearring, SG Jordan Hill, PF Vitto Brown
- LINEUP:
PG - Traevon Jackson
SG - Josh Gasser
SG - Ben Brust
 F - Sam Dekker
PF  - Frank Kaminsky

- OVERVIEW:  Same as it ever was.  Wisconsin loses enough from the prior year that you assume they'll struggle and they'll probably end up all good and stuff.  Really though, this year it won't surprise me if they outperform my expectations (again) because Gasser/Brust/Dekker are a pretty solid little nucleus, and I think Dekker has the kind of ability to be an All-Conference player this season already.  Once again, the bench looks empty and you'd think they'll struggle but whatever man, can we just stop talking about this?  I hate stupid Wisconsin and I hate the way they always overperform where every stupid Minnesota sport underachieves over and over again.  I'm sick of it.  They don't even deserve it.  They don't do anything over there.  Have you ever been to Wisconsin outside of Madison or Milwaukee?  It's fucking terrible, man.  Just terrible.  Their idea of culture is cheese curds which are admittedly delicious but still, erect a museum or something.  The more time I spend over there the more I think Carl Gerbschmidt is real.  If it wasn't for Minnesota's stupid no buying alcohol on Sunday thing I'd seriously start looking into one of those domes from Under the Dome to drop on that state.

7.  MINNESOTA GOPHERS
- LOSSES:  PF Trevor Mbakwe, PF Rodney Williams, G Joe Coleman
- ADDS:  PG Dre Mathieu (JuCo), PG Daquein McNeil, SG Malik Smith (transfer from FIU), PF Joey King (transfer from Drake, probably will be eligible this year), PF Rakeem Buckles (rumored)
- LINEUP:
PG - Dre Hollins
SG - Malik Smith
SF - Austin Hollins
PF - Joey King
C  - Elliot Eliason
  
- OVERVIEW:   If you're reading this you're either hopelessly lost (just click the red X, man) or you already know plenty about the Gophers.  Actually, despite being the team I know the most about this was the hardest team to peg including the starting lineup (or maybe because I know them so well).  Will Charles Buggs start at the 4?  Where will Dre Mathieu fit in?  Mo Walker?  Just so many questions right now, including who will even be on the roster come season start (King/Buckles questions).  With this many questions, including a new coach with a new style and a new system, it's hard to figure where to peg this team, but the rest of the conference should be pretty weak this year (I'd put the Gophers in this tier with Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin) so somewhere in this neighborhood feels right, although I have to admit I can't seem them finishing any higher than here, but I can certainly see them going lower. 

8.  PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
- LOSSES:  F Jermaine Marshall, G Nick Colella, PF Jon Graham, PF Sasha Borovnjak, PF Patrick Ackerman
- ADDS:  PG Tim Frazier (back from injury), PG Graham Woodward, PG Geno Thorpe, C Julian Moore, SF Payton Banks, SG John Johnson (transfer from Pitt), SG Allen Roberts (transfer from Miami-OH)
- LINEUP:
PG - Tim Frazier
SG - Allen Roberts
SF -  D.J. Newbill
PF -  Brandon Taylor
PF  - Ross Travis
  
- OVERVIEW:   It's really too bad Jermaine Marshall transferred out because otherwise Penn State might be really interesting.  Frazier is one of the best players in the league, Newbill got valuable experience helping carry the offense without Frazier last year, Roberts averaged double digit points per game last year at Miami (OH), and Brandon Taylor and Ross Travis form a surprisingly effective inside duo.  Even John Johnson, the transfer from Pitt, should help off the bench quite a bit once eligible in February - he shot 38% from deep while with the Panthers, which would have been tops on the Nittany Lions last year.  It's a collection of intriguing parts led by a star, assuming Frazier is back at 100% this season.  Talor Battle was able to drag a similarly constructed team to the NCAA Tournament in his final year at PSU - can Frazier do the same?  I don't think so, but they're a lot closer than you think they are.  Trust me, I'm smarter than you.

9.  PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
- LOSSES:  F D.J. Byrd, PF Sandi Marcius, G Anthony Johnson
- ADDS:  SG Kendall Stephens (ESPN #65), SF Basil Smotherman, SG Bryson Scott, SG Sterling Carter (transfer from Seattle), PF Errick Peck (transfer from Cornell)
- LINEUP:
PG - Ronnie Johnson
SG - Terone Johnson
 F -  Travis Carroll
 F -  Donnie Hale
C  - A.J. Hammons
  
- OVERVIEW:   Purdue may have a ton of question marks, and they do, but they also have one of the biggest upside players in the conference in sophomore A.J. Hammons, who at seven feet tall and 280 pounds is already a complete monster.  He averaged 11 points, 6 boards, and 2 blocks per game despite playing just 23 minutes, and as his conditioning improves and his minutes go up those numbers will continue to climb (top block % in the conference among returning players and #3 in offensive rebounding % and #6 in Def. rebounding %).  Purdue's biggest problem is everybody else, and they have zero shooters to surround Hammons with (their only reliable one last year was Byrd) so he can expect plenty of double teams, although Seattle transfer Sterling Carter (39% last year) could be the guy.  Where have you gone, Ryne Smith?

10.  NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS
- LOSSES:  G Jaren Sina (highly rated freshman this year who opted out after the coaching change), G Reggie Hearn, G Alex Marcotullio, F Jared Swopshire
- ADDS:  SF Nate Taphorn
- LINEUP:
PG - Dave Sobolewski
SG - Tre Demps
SF -  Drew Crawford
PF -  Mike Turner
C  - Alex Olah
  
- OVERVIEW:   Drew Crawford is back for Northwestern, and that's awesome for them, but these days instead of his running mates being Michael "Juice" Thompson and John Shurna he has Dave "Lesbian" Sobolewski and Alex Olah and that's just not enough help.  Chris Collins is, in my opinion, a great hire for them and it's already paying off with the Wildcats nabbing their first ESPN Top 100 recruit in history (SF Victor Law, #66 in the class of 2014), but it's going to be a long road ahead.  Still, between Crawford and the outside shooting of Sobolewski and Kale Abrahamson they'll no doubt end up with a nice upset or two, especially if Collins decides to stick with their stupid passive 1-3-1 which he absolutely, positively, should not do.

11.  ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
- LOSSES:  SG Brandon Paul, SF D.J. Richardson, PF Tyler Griffey, PF Mike Shaw, PF Sam McLaurin, SF Devin Langford
- ADDS:  PF Jon Ekey (transfer from Illinois State), SG Rayvonte Rice (transfer from Drake), G Ahmad Starks (transfer from Oregon State, may or may not be eligible next year), SG Kendrick Nunn (ESPN #61), SG Malcolm Hill (ESPN #66), PF Austin Colbert, C Maverick Morgan, PG Jaylon Tate
- LINEUP:
PG - Tracy Abrams
SG - Rayvonte Rice
SF -  Joseph Bertrand
PF -  Jon Ekey
C  - Nnanna Egwu
  
- OVERVIEW:  I'm always extra hard on the Illinois for some reason (probably Demetri McCamey's stupid face) but it's because the teams are always so stupidly constructed or play really really dumb.  I'm sure Groce will get it figured out eventually because he's too good not two, but the whole Bruce Weber (a top 3 worst coach of all-time) dug him is going to take some time to get out of.  He's going with the transfer route here which is a tried and true method to aspire to mediocrity, and that's probably where the Illini's ceiling lies this year.  Simply put - I don't think Abrams is a good enough point guard to lift this team, I don't think Egwu is a quality Big 10 center, and I have a feeling Bertrand is going to go straight up chucker this year.  So yeah, not optimistic.

12.  NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
- LOSSES:  C Andre Almeida, PF Brandon Ubel, SG Dylan Talley
- ADDS:  PF Walter Pitchford (transfer from Florida), SF Terran Petteway (transfer from Texas Tech), PG Deverell Biggs (Juco), SF Nick Fuller, PG Tai Webster, SG Nathan Hawkins, PF Leslee Smith (Juco)
- LINEUP:
PG - Deverell Biggs (suspended indefinitely)/Benny Parker
SG - Ray Gallegos
SF -  Shavon Shields
PF - David Rivers
PF - Walter Pitchford
  
- OVERVIEW:   I have no doubt Nebraska will at least spend some time being a factor in the middle of the league at some point, it's just not going to be this year.  There are some good signs as both Nick Fuller and Tai Webster are a better class of recruit than Nebraska usually gets and the transfer from Florida, Pitchford, obviously has significant upside if Billy Donovan signed him on.  Overall though, the talent level just isn't there yet, especially considering the Huskers lost three starters off of last year's squad.  Deverell Biggs should be a big upgrade over Benny Parker at the point, but he's suspended indefinitely after a DUI this December, and I suspect Tim Miles is smart enough to keep the missed games to a minimum.  The good news for Nebraska is that Rutgers joins the Big Ten next year (2014-15) and they'll likely be a good ways ahead of the Scarlet Knights by then.


Well there you have it.  Michigan State and Ohio State look to be on a whole different level than the rest of the conference, with Michigan a small step behind.  There seems to be a pretty clear bottom three as well with Northwestern, Illinois, and Nebraska with everybody else jumbled in the middle.  It really seems wide open to beyond #3, and I really wouldn't be surprised to see just about anybody at #4 and #5 - can you imagine Iowa and Penn State finishing 4th and 5th?  It could happen.  It would kind of suck for everyone because Iowa smells like poop, but it could happen.  Seriously I'm already excited for next year.  I'm such a dork.

3 comments:

Trevor Wegner said...

BUGGS AT THE 4!

BTW - McCamey and Brandon Paul are on the Wolves summer league roster.

WWWWWW said...

Hey man, Buggsy was my guy before anyone else but Pitino keeps talking up King so I'm guessing he'll end up the starter.

Paul's NBA prospects kind of intrigue me. McCamey should probably learn to sell insurance, although he'd likely keep giving the papers to the wrong person.

Thomas said...

This is gorgeous!