Yarina: A super-early look at 2014-15 hoops predictions

With Mitch McGary announcing Friday that he will enter the NBA draft, we officially know what each Big Ten team will return for the 2014-15 season. So, naturally, that means it’s time to take a SUPER-early stab at next year’s standings and All-Big Ten teams. See my way-too-early predictions in this post.

[ MORE: Big Ten roster updates: Who’s on the move? ]

1. Wisconsin – Everyone but Ben Brust is back from the Final Four team.
2. Nebraska – Terran Petteway and a healthy Shavon Shields form a fantastic 1-2 punch.
3. Michigan State – Speaking of 1-2 punches, Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine will be nice.
4. Michigan – Prediction: Zak Irvin or Derrick Walton Jr. will be the B1G’s most improved player.
5. Ohio State – No team welcomes a better or deeper recruiting class.
6. Illinois – This should be John Groce’s best Illini squad.
7. Maryland – The Terps return four double-digit scorers, including former Wolverine Evan Smotrycz.
8. Iowa – It’s Aaron White’s team, and now he needs to become more assertive.
9. Minnesota – The reigning NIT champs lose Austin Hollins, but should have a healthy Andre Hollins.
10. Indiana – The Hoosiers desperately need someone to emerge in the frontcourt.
11. Purdue – Matt Painter should have a team that better fits his style.
12. Northwestern – Can JerShon Cobb finally stay healthy and give Northwestern a full season?
13. Penn State – Brandon Taylor needs to make a huge leap to keep this team out of the cellar.
14. Rutgers – To put it politely, the Scarlet Knights have work to do on defense.



Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
Terran Petteway, Nebraska
Caris LeVert, Michigan
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin

D.J. Newbill, Penn State
James Blackmon, Indiana
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Branden Dawson, Michigan State
Aaron White, Iowa

Derrick Walton Jr., Michigan
Rayvonte Rice, Illinois
Dez Wells, Maryland
Shavon Shields, Nebraska
Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin

About Brent Yarina BTN.com senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (25 Comments)
Herb Castway on 4/25/2014 @ 4:49pm EDT Said:

I’ll bet $1000 that AJ Hammons is on the top 3 teams. Any takers?

B B on 4/25/2014 @ 9:25pm EDT Said:

You underestimate Minnesota yet again.

Gary L. Hale on 4/25/2014 @ 10:15pm EDT Said:

Look at the statement Ohio state no team brings a deeper or more talented recruiting class. When was the last time a big Ten School had that said about them and they didn’t challenge for a title? Bet its been awhile. This team will score and play defense…sounds like a team that is better than 5th place.

Greg Enoch on 4/25/2014 @ 10:22pm EDT Said:

Don’t want to bet money on Mr. Hammons but it’s been his history to have potential but not live up to it……….so I think he should be but doubt he has the “internal” strength to do it!!

Big Bill on 4/26/2014 @ 9:57am EDT Said:

This is ridiculous. Who gives a crap about Big Ten (or any college) basketball in late April?

Brent on 4/26/2014 @ 10:34am EDT Said:

IU should have the best backcourt in the B1G. A potential POY in Yogi, FOY in Blackmon, and great returning depth with 2 other starters plus Robert Johnson. They will be fast and deep and be able to run and shoot. Their front court will be shallow, but guard play is what wins games down the stretch. I am not suggesting they challenge for the title, but no chance they finish worse than last year with an improved and more experienced roster.

Steve Husker (@Steve_Husker) on 4/26/2014 @ 1:16pm EDT Said:

I think the true meaning of ridiculous, Big Bill, is reading *and* posting about an article that is supposedly “crap.”

Brent, the early look on Nebraska, IMO, is too high. Let us be in the middle-of-the-pack this year for predictions! GBR.

Lance Schulz on 4/26/2014 @ 2:15pm EDT Said:

Don’t discount Josh Gasser for postseason honors. With another year of recovery from his injury, if you consider his entire game including defensive prowess and overall court sense don’t be surprised if he gets a lot of support from the coaches if not from the writers.

Josh on 4/26/2014 @ 2:23pm EDT Said:

Big Bill, UK fans probably.

Craig on 4/28/2014 @ 1:42am EDT Said:

You have Blackmon a 2nd team but don’t have D’angelo Russell on any team despite the fact he is rated higher by all recruiting services and will play 30+ min a game???

Gary H Mayer on 4/28/2014 @ 12:23pm EDT Said:

I think you’ll see Sam Dekker coming out strong. By 2015-2016, Sam will be first team all-American. In 2014-2015, he’ll have to share the scoring with Kaminsky. Sam is the most complete college player I have seen in a long time. He is the great white hope in basketball.

Matt Barker on 4/28/2014 @ 12:34pm EDT Said:

Craig makes a great point. D’Angelo Russell, the only five-star recruit for the 2014 class that will play in the Big Ten doesn’t get any love, yet four-star James Blackmon Jr. will be a second-team performer? I don’t think so. Maybe Mr. Yarina got the two confused. Russell will easily play 30-plus minutes as Craig mentioned, at both the shooting and point guard positions and will average at least 16 points per game as the conference’s top freshman.

Ron J on 4/28/2014 @ 12:47pm EDT Said:

Enjoyed the article! Am a Big Red fan and hope you placing them at #2 is correct, but I think that it’s too high! NU will be a better team, not ready for the “bright lights” yet. Feel they’ll be more a 4th or 5th place team in Big 10.

Scott on 4/28/2014 @ 1:33pm EDT Said:

Anyone who doesn’t pick Wisconsin to win the B1G is smoking something illegal.

That said, I think that Nebraska has a lot to prove before putting them #2. I think they caught everyone by surprise — opposing players, I’m thinking, didn’t take them as seriously as they should have. Things could well be different this year.

Iowa should be ranked above where you have them.

If Evan Smotrycz is one of Maryland’s best players, then they are CLEARLY ranked too high in that poll.

I don’t buy Ohio State as a good team. The fact that they’re trying to get some seven foot stiff from James Madison or whereever he’s from is a sign of sheer desperation.

The return of Brandon Dawson makes MSU the second best team in the league. The absense of tough guys and just guys with great height in our league means he’s be a killer on the glass.

As for A.J. Hammonds, he’s got to learn to bring it each and every game. He hasn’t done that yet, and I wonder why anyone should think he’ll do it this upcoming season, either.

bbliss2022 on 4/28/2014 @ 1:45pm EDT Said:

I wonder if Tyler Ulis is regretting spurning his “dream school” for UK, what with the twins returning for another year.

Heller on 4/28/2014 @ 2:14pm EDT Said:

Wasn’t Nebraska predicted to finish last before last year? Are these the same guys predicting again?

Mike on 4/28/2014 @ 3:33pm EDT Said:

This article would be a lot more interesting if each teams departing and incoming players were noted – all of them. As for the folks slamming the idea of this article’s interest in April, these folks obviously clicked on the link, themselves – seriously now. As for my own opinions, well, teams I believe in: Wisky, Nebraska, Illinois, Maryland and Minnesota. Teams I need to see before believing in: Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Teams I have little faith in currently: Yarina’s bottom 5.

Tom crean on 4/28/2014 @ 3:42pm EDT Said:

Craig on 4/28/2014 @ 1:42am EDT Said:
You have Blackmon a 2nd team but don’t have D’angelo Russell on any team despite the fact he is rated higher by all recruiting services and will play 30+ min a game???

Because JBJ is better than him.

DoucheOwebama on 4/28/2014 @ 3:44pm EDT Said:

IU gets left high and dry AGAIN with Noah “I think i’m better than I really am” Vonleh out the back door….these children and their delusions of grandeur.

Don Chipmn on 4/28/2014 @ 5:42pm EDT Said:

Illinois has ever body back from the first five and three solid additions plus two new recruits. Illinois will definitely be in the top five and could make a run ay Wisconsin.

doc on 4/28/2014 @ 6:47pm EDT Said:

Ah…Big Bill…apparently you must care about basketball this time of the year or you wouldn’t have clicked the link. Must be a Minnesota guy…none too bright….

jeffreypilz on 4/28/2014 @ 6:48pm EDT Said:

Wow…guys dissing basketball…why did you click on the link, Bill? What a tool…

Steven on 4/29/2014 @ 1:15pm EDT Said:

Purdue… Addition by subtraction. Finally got rid of the Johnson ballhogs. Boilers will surprise and A.J. knows this is his final year to make a point.

terpdawg on 4/30/2014 @ 8:01am EDT Said:

@Scott re Smotrycz – Smo’ is not one of MD’s best players, can be effective from the perimeter but slow defensively and no ‘hops’. Wells (SF), Allen (G), and a strong incoming class (keep an eye on Trimble (G)), should make for a competitive team. No threat to win the league but no pushover either.

pompano on 5/4/2014 @ 2:08pm EDT Said:

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