2011-2012 BIG 10 BASKETBALL PREVIEW
By N.D. Kendrick
It is time to take a look at the Big Ten Preseason predictions now that we know who is heading to the NBA and who is coming back. It should be a down year for the Big Ten as far as teams but plenty of young talent is heading to the conference.
1. Ohio State (34-3, 16-2 Big Ten)
Key Losses: Sr. G John Diebler (12.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg), Sr. G David Lighty (12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg), Sr. C DallasLauderdale (4.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
Key Returnees: Jr. F William Buford (14.3 ppg, 3.2rpg), Fr. C Jared Sullinger (17.5 ppg, 10.9 rpg), Fr. G Aaron Craft (6.9 ppg, 2.9 spg), Fr. G DeshaunThomas (7.6 ppg)
Key Additions: C Amir Williams, PG Shannon Scott, SF LaQuinton Ross, SF Sam Thompson
The Skinny: Unlike past years the Buckeyes bring back a ton of experience in Sully, Buford and Craft, while the other young man — Deshaun Thomas has a year of experience in the Matta system. Ross, and Shannon Scott should get the bulk of the few minutes that will be available from the bench.
2. Michigan State (19-15, 9-9)
Key Losses: Sr. G Kalin Lucas (17 ppg, 3.9rpg, 3.1 apg), Sr.. G Durrell Summers (11.6ppg, 4.2 rpg)
Key Returnees: Fr. G Keith Appling (6.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg), Jr.. F Draymond Green (12.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg),
Key Additions: SF Branden Dawson, PG Travis Trice, SG Dwaun Anderson, SGBrandan Kearney
The Skinny: The Spartans will be without all everything guard Kalin Lucas and will be very inexperienced at that position with the Lucious transfer. DraymondGreen, Delvon Roe and Derrick Nix will be a tough trio down low and throw inAdriean Payne and you may be looking at the deepest front court in college. If the Spartans can develop Keith Appling into a serviceable replacement to Lucas a deep NCAA tournament run could be in store for Tom Izzo.
3. Wisconsin (23-8, 13-5)
Key Losses: Sr. F John Leur (18.3ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.6apg), Sr. F Keaton Nankivil (9.7ppg, 4.2 rpg), Sr. G Tim Jarmusz (3.9 ppg)
Key Returnees: So. G Jordan Taylor (18.8 ppg), Fr. G Josh Gasser (5.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg), So. F MikeBruesewitz (4.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg)
Key Additions: G Traevon Jackson, G George Marshal , C Frank Kaminsky, PF Jarrod Uthoff
The Skinny: A great NCAA tourney draw had the Badger contingent excited about a trip to the Final Four. After the loss to the eventual runner up Butler, Jordan Taylor decided he wanted to take his team to the next level.Taylor should go in to the Big 10 campaign as the odds on favorite to win player of the year. With the constant motor of Bruesewitz and the outside shooting of Josh Gasser and Freshman Traevon Jackson you can expect the Badgers to not miss a beat.
4. Michigan (20-13, 9-9)
Key Losses: So. G Darius Morris (15.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.7 apg.)
Key Returnees: Fr. F Jordan Morgan (9.2ppg, 5.9 rpg), Fr. G Tim Hardaway Jr.(13.8ppg, 1.9 apg), Jr. G Zack Novak (8.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Jr. G Stu Douglass (7.1ppg, 5.9 rpg)
Key Additions: SG Carlton Brundridge, PG Trey Buke, PF Max Bielfeldt
The Skinny: The announcement of Darius Morris departure for the NBA watered down the excitement for the upcoming season in Ann Arbor. Morris was the leading scorer for the young squad but Coach Beilein has plenty of talent to play with. It appears that the team has finally bought in to the Beilein system and with the late emergence of Hardaway Jr. and Morgan, the Darius Morris departure may be cushioned. Glue guys like Zack Novak and Stu Douglass are the heart of the still developing team.
5. Illinois (19-13, 9-9)
Key Losses: Sr. G Demetri McCamey (14.6ppg, 3.4rpg, 6.5 apg), Sr. F Mike Davis (12.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Sr. C Mike Tisdale (10.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg), Fr. Jereme Richmond (7.6 ppg. 5.0 rpg. 1.8 apg.)
Key Returnees: So. G Brandon Paul (9.0ppg, 3.5rpg), So. F/C Tyler Griffey (1.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg), So. G D.J. Richardson (8.8 ppg, 2.0 apg), Fr. C Meyers Leonard (2.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
Key Additions: PG Tracy Abrams, C Nnanna Egwu, SF Mycheal Henry, PF Mike Shaw, SF DevinLangford, C Ibrahima Djimde
The Skinny: Bruce Weber is firmly on the hot seat entering this season. He graduates a solid core and has recruited well in the recent years to not have any drop off. The odd exit of Jereme Richmond still remains curious to say the least and Illini fans are becoming impatient. They have quality guards in Richardson and Paul. Leonard and Griffey with the combination of the freshman length should be a good core, The Illini have the most pressure to win out of all the Big Ten teams.
6. Minnesota (17-14, 6-12)
Key Losses: Sr. G Blake Hoffarber (13.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg), Jr. C Colton Iverson (5.8ppg, 5.4 apg), Sr. G Al Nolen
Key Returnees: Jr. F Ralph Sampson III (10.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Jr. F TrevorMbakwe (13.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg), So. F Rodney Williams (6.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
Key Additions: SG Joe Coleman, SG Andre Hollins, JC PG Julian Welch
The Skinny: The Golden Gophers fell victim to a rash of injuries and numerous of the court problems last season. Looking back you have to wonder if the recent news of Tubby Smith fighting Cancer played a part in the sub par year for the Gophers. Despite many distractions the team played well at spurts and Sampson III and Mbakwe formed a dynamic inside duo. The key to a successful season for the Gophers will be the play of the back court and the quick development of the freshman.
7. Purdue (25-7, 14-4)
Key Losses: Sr. G E’Twaun Moorel (18.6ppg, 3.8 rpg), Sr. F JaJuan Johnson (20.2ppg, 8.6 rpg)
Key Returnees: Jr. G Lewis Jackson (8.1ppg, 4.5 apg), Jr. G Ryne Smith (6.2 ppg, 1.7apg), So. F D.J. Byrd (5.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
Key Additions: PF Jacob Lawson, PF Donnie Hale
The Skinny: The most successful four year class in Purdue basketball departs with question marks for the upcoming season. Who will replace the scoring and leadership brought forth by Johnson and Moore? Will Robbie Hummel and John Hart play well after sitting out the majority of last season? Will Kelsey Barlow be back on the team? Painter will be challenged this season but if his team plays the type of defense that he preaches Purdue could very well end up near the top of the Big Ten.
8. Iowa (11-20, 4-14)
Key Losses: Sr. F Jarryd Cole (8.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
Key Returnees: Fr. F. Melsahn Basabe (11.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Jr. G. Matt Gatens(12.4 ppg, 1.3 spg), So. G Eric May (7.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Key Additions: SG Anthony Hubbard, C Gabe Olaseni, PF Aaron White, SG JoshOglesby
The Skinny: In the first year of the Fran McCaffery era, the Hawkeyes improved slowly game by game. Basabe has unlimited potential and is able to get his hand on almost every loose ball. Gatens needs to have a strong senior year and work on a more consistent jumper over the summer. Athletic wing Eric May deserves more minutes this year. Like many other conference teams, Iowa will go as far as the guards can take them.
9. Indiana (12-20, 3-15)
Key Losses: Sr. G Jeremiah Rivers (3.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
Key Returnees: Jr. G Verdell Jones III (12.5 ppg, 3.3rpg), So. F Christian Watford (16.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg), So. G Jordan Hulls (11.0 ppg, 2.9 apg)
Key Additions: PF Cody Zeller, SG Remy Abell, SF Austin Etherington
The Skinny: The Hoosiers played tough and never quit this past season. Sophomore Guard Maurice Creek suffered a second season ending injury in as many years and the Hoosiers missed multiple games by the two leading scores Jones III and Watford. Hulls midway through the Big Ten season began to run the team and more of his leadership will be needed for this current crop to succeed. Heralded freshman Cody Zeller will bring a much needed inside presence that the Hoosiers have needed since Tom Crean took the job. Barring injuries, you should expect Indiana to be much more competitive in the down Big Ten.
10. Northwestern (18-13, 7-11)
Key Losses: Sr. G Michael Thompson (16.7 ppg, 4.4 apg)
Key Returnees: Jr. F John Shurna (16.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg), So. G Drew Crawford (12.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Jr. C Luka Mirkovic (7.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
Key Additions: SG Tre Demps, PG David Sobolewski, PF Mike Turner
The Skinny: The leader for the past four years Juice Thompson graduated but John Shurna decided to return for his senior season after testing the draft waters. A healthy Shurna is the key to this team being a good team or a NCAA tournament team. With Thompson wearing the purple jersey the Wildcats finished 8th. Without the glue you can’t expect much from this team regardless of a decent core of talent. Crawford, Shurna and company will knock off a few teams but will ultimately fizzle off the map as normal.
11. Nebraska (19-12, 7-9)
Key Losses: Sr. G Lance Jeter (11.7 ppg, 4.3 apg. 4.4 rpg.)
Key Returnees: So. C Jorge Brian Diaz (10.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Jr. G Toney McCray Martin (8.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg), So. G Eshaunte Jones (4.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg)
Key Additions: SG Corey Hilliard, SG Josiah Moore, SF David Rivers, JC SG Dylan Talley
The Skinny: The newest addition to the Big Ten, the Huskers will need go through a year of hazing. The game play and flow will take a year or so to grasp and the Refs will not give them any pity. The Huskers have moments of quality play but you can not expect them to compete in arenas such as Assembly Hall and The Kohl Center being a rookie to the league. With that being said, they do have talent in center Diaz and a stable of experienced bench players that will keep them from finishing last in conference. Wins will come at home where the crowd should be electric with new jersey’s rolling in.
12. Penn State (15-17, 5-13)
Key Losses: Sr. G Talor Battle (20.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Sr. F Jeff Brooks (13.1 ppg, 6.1rpg), Sr. F David Jackson (9.8 ppg, 4.0rpg)
Key Returnees: So. G Tim Frazier (6.6ppg, 5.6 apg), So. G. Cammeron Woodyard(1.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg)
Key Additions: PG Trey Lewis, SF Ross Travis, C Patrick Ackerman, C Peter Alexis
The Skinny: The days of watching Talor Battle nail a game winning shot are unfortunately over as well are the winning ways for Nittany Lions for the immediate future. The core of the team will depart and leave lightning quick point guard Tim Frazier to organize some wins. Not much to say about this team other than lets hope the freshman are ready for the Big Ten and the new coach is prepared.