Our friends over at ESPN.com recently released a list of the 25 college basketball teams most likely to have success over the next three seasons.
In order to come up with this detailed list, a group of ESPN college basketball experts were asked to rate programs on a scale, 1-to-10, consisting of five different categories: Coaching, Current Talent, Program Power, Recruiting and Stability. The group then compiled the results and weighted each category, giving the school’s overall score on a scale of 100.
Five Big Ten programs appear on the list, headlined by Michigan State, which comes in at No. 6 overall with a total score of 89.1.
“Tom Izzo is considered one of the elite coaches in the country at any level, he’s a dogged recruiter, and the program has the resources — although not at the level of Kentucky, Kansas or North Carolina — to compete at the highest level,” said ESPN.com college basketball insider Jeff Goodman. “Izzo also has a team capable of winning it all this season. The concern — if there is one — is whether the program will have a rebuilding season of sorts in 2014-15.”
Ohio State is the next Big Ten program to appear the list, coming in at No. 10. Michigan (11), Indiana (13) and Wisconsin (14) round out the group of Big Ten programs named on the top 25 list.
Michigan State had the highest rating in four of the five categories: Coaching (9.8), Current Talent (8.8), Stability (9.1) and Program Power (9.6, tied with Indiana). Ohio State ranked the highest in recruiting with a score of 8.8.
My take: Overall, I think that this is a good list and it is refreshing to see five Big Ten teams ranked in the top 15. Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan are undoubtedly expected to be the class of the Big Ten this season, but keep an eye on Indiana. Tom Crean has a young, talented group of players coming in, which will have the task of replacing the likes of Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford. And of course, you can never count out Badgers. Bo Ryan has been at Wisconsin for 12 seasons now and the Badgers have never finished below fourth place in the Big Ten. How impressive is that?
Most overrated: Gonzaga. I’m surprised to see the Zags listed so high on this list. Don’t get me wrong, Mark Few is a great coach, but when it comes to current talent, recruiting and program power, powerhouse programs such as Indiana and Georgetown take the cake in all three of those categories. And it really isn’t even close.
Most underrated: Indiana. Not trying to be a B1G homer here, but Indiana really stands out to me in all five of these categories. They have a great coach in Tom Crean, a ton of current talent, with Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey leading the way, a top-five national recruiting class and one of, if not the most storied and well-respected college basketball programs in the nation.
Big Ten program left off the list. Iowa. Where’s the Hawkeyes on this list? Sure, if were looking over the past couple of seasons, it’s fair to leave Fran McCaffery’s team out of this group of powerhouse programs. But if we’re talking about the future, there aren’t many teams throughout college basketball with a brighter future than the Hawkeyes. This roster is loaded with young talent, from top to bottom. If McCaffery can continue to reel in respectable recruiting classes, then look for Iowa to be right there in the “top teams of the Big Ten” conversation for years to come.
|About Sean Merriman||BTN.com web editor Sean Merriman covers football and men’s basketball and provides original content for BTN.com. You can follow him on Twitter @BTNSean.|