Big Ten Power Rankings: Michigan State tops Robbie Hummel's preseason list
With the season tipping Tuesday night, it’s a good time to share my preseason Big Ten Power Rankings.
See my first list of the 2019-20 season below.
1. Michigan State. Reigning Big Ten POY Cassius Winston is back, as is Xavier Tillman, who’s set for a big year. There’s more. Aaron Henry is one of the better two-way players in the conference, and is one of many talented young players looking for bigger roles this season.
2. Maryland. Anthony Cowan is ready to lead a loaded Maryland team to what he hopes is a deep NCAA tournament run. He’ll get plenty of help from Jalen Smith, who held off on the NBA, and breakout candidate Aaron Wiggins.
3. Ohio State. Two years in the books, and two consecutive NCAA tournaments for Chris Holtmann. Expectations are high for the first time under Holtmann, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Buckeyes handle them. In slimmed-down star Kaleb Wesson and the Big Ten’s top recruiting class, the talent’s there.
4. Purdue. Carsen Edwards, Ryan Cline and Grady Eifert are big losses, and Purdue will certainly look different on the offensive end of the floor. But different isn’t always bad.
5. Illinois. Illinois had moments of great basketball last year, but a lack of consistency reared its ugly head more often than not for Brad Underwood. However, for the first time since he’s been in Champaign, Illinois got a full offseason with a cohesive unit.
6. Wisconsin. Replacing Ethan Happ’s all-around production isn’t something that can be done by any one guy. Expect Nate Reuvers to make a huge jump now that the program’s most decorated player is playing professionally in Greece.
7. Michigan. Juwan Howard’s first season back at his alma mater sees his team lose Jordan Poole, Iggy Brazdeikis, and Charles Matthews to the professional ranks. Still, Zavier Simpson, Isaiah Livers and Jon Teske are a formidable big 3.
8. Penn State. The 7-13 Big Ten record didn’t indicate it, but Pat Chambers’ bunch was a tough out last season, winning seven of its final 10 conference games. Lamar Stevens is one of the best players in the conference, and he’s surrounded by guys who can make shots.
9. Iowa. The Hawkeyes lost a lot of production (Tyler Cook, Nicholas Baer & Isaiah Moss), plus star G Jordan Bohannon’s hip will be something to monitor all season, but Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp are back. There’s also some nice depth, with Jack Nunge and Cordell Pemsl returning from redshirts.
10. Indiana. The health bug was not kind to the Hoosiers last year, and there have been some struggles in the preseason staying healthy. You have to think that at full health the Hoosiers could definitely find themselves playing at a much higher level then the 10th-best team in the league.
11. Minnesota. It’s the end of an era with Jordan Murphy, Dupree McBrayer and Amir Coffey having departed. But a solid core of sophomores, headlined by Daniel Oturu and 3-and-D Gabe Kalscheur returns, in addition to Pitt transfer PG Marcus Carr.
12. Rutgers. Junior Geo Baker is the unquestioned leader of this team, with Eugene Omoruyi at Oregon. Some good young players made Rutgers a fun team to watch last season, and Myles Johnson and Ron Harper Jr. will look to build on their freshman numbers.
13. Nebraska. Fred Hoiberg takes the reins in Lincoln, and has a completely new team. It’s honestly hard to say what the Cornhuskers will look like with only one player (Thorir Thorbjarnarson) on the roster who played last season.
14. Northwestern. The Wildcats were a very good defensive team last year. The problem was, offensively, they struggled to put points on the board. It doesn’t get any easier this season with Vic Law, Dererk Pardon, and Ryan Taylor moving on via graduation.
— Robbie Hummel