Early 2016-17 Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings



Looking at the very early Big Ten basketball power rankings for next year, MSU is the unquestioned. David Kmiecik, via his top 25 for next season, which you can view here, collaborated with Paul M. Banks on this listing. Dave did the entries for the nationally ranked Big Ten basketball teams, and Banks had to do the teams that aren’t as good. (of course! always!)

Enjoy! We also linked the three early season previews that we already did for three Big Ten basketball teams.


1. (8 nationally). MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
The Spartans lose three major contributors including do it all superstar, Denzel Valentine but Tom Izzo welcomes one of the top recruiting classes in the country which may not be done. If Deyonta Davis decides to stay for his sophomore year, the Spartans have the talent to make a deep run in March.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Deyonta Davis (So)/Gavin Schilling (Sr)/Nick Ward (Fr)
F: Miles Bridges (Fr)
G/F: Matt McQuaid (So)/Josh Langford (Fr)
SG: Eron Harris (Sr)/Alvin Ellis (Sr)/Kyle Aherns (So)
PG: Lourawis Nairn (Jr)/Cassius Winston (Fr)

Gone: SG-Denzel Valentine, C-Matt Costello, SG-Bryn Forbes, F-Corey Wallenman, F-Marvin Clark (transfer), F-Javon Bess (transfer)

(Related: very early 2016-17 Michigan State season preview)


2. (11 nationally). WISCONSIN BADGERS
Everybody returns for Wisconsin who should be in a good position to make their fourth straight Sweet 16.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Ethan Happ (So)/Charlie Thomas (So)
PF: Vitto Brown (Sr)/Alex Illikainen (So)/Andy van Vliet (Fr?)
SF: Nigel Hayes (Jr)/Khalil Iverson (So)
SG: Zak Showalter (Sr)/Brevin Pritzl (rs-Fr)/T.J. Schlundt (So)
PG: Bronson Koenig (Sr)/Jordan Hill (Jr)

Gone: nobody

greg gard

3. (12 nationally). INDIANA HOOSIERS
Thomas Bryant and Troy Williams have yet to announce what their future holds, but assuming both are back at IU next year, the Hoosiers should be near the top of the Big Ten. Replacing Yogi Ferrell will not be easy but getting James Blackmon healthy should help.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Thomas Bryant (So)/De’Ron Davis (Fr)
PF: Colin Hartman (Sr)/Juwan Morgan (So)
SF: Troy Williams (Sr)/OG Anunoby (So)
SG: James Blackmon (Jr)/Curtis Jones (Fr)/Grant Gelon (Fr)
PG: Robert Johnson (Jr)/Devonte Green (Fr)

Gone: PG-Yogi Ferrell, C-Max Bielfeldt, SG-Nick Zeisloft


4. (18 nationally). MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
Michigan returns six of their top seven scores, only losing Caris LeVert who missed half of the year due to injury. They should be a deep and balanced team.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Marc Donnal (Sr)/Moritz Wagner (So)/Jon Teske (Fr)/Austin Davis (Fr)
G/F: Zak Irvin (Sr)/Kameron Chatman (Jr)/D.J Wilson (So)
SG: Duncan Robinson (Jr)/Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman (Jr)
SG: Aubrey Dawkins (Jr)/Ibi Watson (Fr)
PG: Derrick Walton (Sr)/Xavier Simpson (Fr)

Gone: SG-Caris LeVert, PG-Spike Albrecht (transfer), C-Ricky Doyle (transfer)

michigan basketball

5. (21 nationally). OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
The Buckeyes have already been hit by the transfer bug which may affect their depth, but Thad Matta still returns his entire starting five and top six scorers.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Trevor Thompson (Jr)/David Bell (So)/Micah Potter (Fr)
F: Jae’Sean Tate (Jr)/Derek Funderburk (Fr)
SF: Keita Bates-Diop (Jr)
G/F: Marc Loving (Sr)/Kameron Williams (Sr)
PG: JaQuan Lyle (So)

Gone: C-Daniel Giddens (transfer), PG-A.J. Harris (transfer), F-Mickey Mitchell (transfer), SG-Austin Grandstaff (transfer-Oklahoma)

Ohio State basketball

6. Purdue

The unexpectedly early exit from the NCAA Tournament truly stung, but now next year’s outlook rubs salt in the wound. This past year really was to be “their year.” The Boilers will still be decent though. With a solid core group of guys returning, Purdue observers should expect a tourney berth.

Caleb Swanigan is doing the right thing by testing the NBA Draft waters, but he’ll be back; and be one of the main key guys next season.


7. Maryland

See Purdue, just not as good and more “closer to the bubble” than NCAA Tournament when juxtaposed against the Boilers. If Melo Trimble stays, we might have to move them up. If he goes, then we’ll drop the Terps. He really should come back and show us what kind of player he really is. Sometimes he’s Tyler Ulis; other times he’s Demetri McCamey.

Like the Boilers, they’re another wild card in the Big Ten basketball hierarchy.


8. Northwestern

Sure, this should be the year that NU rises, given how the whole roster is now pretty much Chris Collins recruits built to run Collins’ systems. They might be better too, despite the major questions in the front court, but who above them falls down? Maybe the Cats could bubble up but who above them will stumble? Is there any room for Northwestern to reach the top half of the league?

As it’s political primary season, we’ll use an election metaphor to better describe this situation- “there’s just no clear path to the nomination.”

(Related: Early 2016-17 Northwestern Season Preview)


9. Iowa

Most senior heavy team in the league will no doubt take a step down, but don’t count them out just yet. Peter Jok’s NBA Draft feedback will mandate that he returns, and we’ve seen that Fran has brought the Hawkeyes to a certain support level of respectability, each and every season now.


10. Illinois

It’s pretty much impossible for the Illini to not be significantly better next year; given that everyone is coming back…well, maybe. If all three of the players facing charges for violent criminal acts and currently kicked off the team are exonerated (more on all that here), and then reinstated, we could maybe move the Illini up to #8 or #7. Given all the uncertainties right now, we have to put them 10th for the time being.

However, we totally understand Athletic Director Josh Whitman’s decision to fix football first. He had to.

Football matters so much more, financially, to all power five schools. So while John Groce was a disaster hire of epic proportions, he still wasn’t as much of a disaster as Tim Beckman. You could say Groce was the biggest single beneficiary of football being a total house fire 2012-March 2016.

(Related: Illini Basketball 2016-17 Very Early Season Preview)


11. Penn State

Some good recruits coming, they might surprise you here and there during the Big Ten basketball season. PSU’s incoming class is ranked #22 by ESPNU.

12. Minnesota

See PSU; Sota’s incoming class is ranked #34 by ESPNU.

13. Nebraska

It seems like Tim Miles may have peaked; although there are some gems here and there in the latest couple of recruiting classes.


14. Rutgers


If you don’t have anything nice to say, then, well this article is over.

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.

He also consistently appears on numerous talk shows all across the country. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram

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