big-ten-power-rankings

The 2018-19 college basketball season has officially concluded. So what are the biggest lessons from a Big Ten perspective? First of all, never count out Michigan State in March, (or April for that matter). Secondly, Carsen Edwards put on the one of greatest individual performances in NCAA Tournament history, and will forever be remembered. Thirdly, to end the season, Wisconsin ended with a fairly disappointing thud. Here are how the teams stacked up as we prepare for off-season fun.

Big Ten Power Rankings: 2018-2019 End of Season

1

Michigan State

25-6 (16-4)

Last: 2
Even though they fell victim to Texas Tech’s stifling defense, the Spartans had an incredible season, especially considering the injuries that plagued them all year. If first team AP All-American Cassius Winston returns, the Spartans will be the favorite to win the conference in 2019-20 and be one of the strongest teams in the country.

2

Purdue

23-8 (16-4)

Last: 3
What a ride it has been for the Boilermakers in the past month. From losing to Minnesota twice in a two-week span to nearly making the Final Four, the 2018-19 season for Purdue was simply a roller coaster. If Mamadi Diakite’s mid-range jumper to force overtime in the Elite Eight didn’t go in, you can’t help but wonder just how far Carsen Edwards could have led the Boilermakers.

3

Michigan

26-5 (15-5)

Last: 1
Out of Michigan’s 5 conference losses this year, 4 of them were on the road and only 1 of them was at home. John Beilein is surely now considered as an elite basketball coach, as since he’s taken over, he’s led the Wolverines to 2 Final Fours, 2 Big Ten Tournament championships, and 2 Big Ten regular season championships. If Michigan didn’t lose 3 times to their rival up in East Lansing this year, Beilein would have 3 conference tournament and 3 regular season titles. This team played so well this year, yet fell short during the critical games against MSU. Losing to Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 seems to make more sense, as they made the finals; however, seeing Michigan’s offense struggle so badly was hard to see. As long as coach Beilein is in Ann Arbor, Michigan will contend every year. Fans have nothing to worry about; their team is in good hands.

4

Wisconsin

22-9 (14-6)

Last: 4
An outstanding season and collegiate career for Ethan Happ ended in disappointment with a first round NCAA Tournament loss to Oregon. 2018-19 marked the fourth straight season that the Badgers failed to make it further than the Sweet Sixteen.

5

Maryland

22-10 (13-7)

Last: 5
With a team as talented as the Terrapins, a fifth place finish this year might not have met the fans’ expectations. With players like Cowan, Fernando, Smith and other ESPN top 100 players, this team could have definitely finished in the top 3. Maryland also failed to make the sweet 16, after a heartbreaking loss to LSU. It will be interesting to see which current members of the team declare for the draft. Specifically, Smith and Cowan Jr., because Fernando is projected to be a first round pick in many mock drafts, so surely he’ll end up declaring. If Smith and Cowan Jr. decide to stay, Maryland might be the favorite to win the Big Ten next year.

6

Iowa

22-10 (10-10)

Last: 8
It is surely safe to say that Iowa exceeded expectations this year. Prior to the start of the season, the Hawkeyes weren’t even in the conversation as a potential conference contender. They proved many wrong and almost squeaked their way into the sweet 16. The season might have been even more impressive if coach McCaffery kept his cool and didn’t get suspended, which could’ve led to a better seed in March. Iowa fans shouldn’t worry, however, as many of their players are staying, and their only graduating player is Nicholas Baer. Unfortunately, Tyler Cook is declaring for the draft, yet Fran McCaffery is bringing in two solid freshman, specifically hometown hero and his own son Patrick. Iowa should yield high expectations next year.

7

Minnesota

20-12 (9-11)

Last: 6
Richard Pitino’s crew had a strong ending to the season, knocking off Purdue twice and beating Louisville in the NCAA Tournament. The biggest concern for the Gophers going into next year will be figuring out how to replace the production of seniors Jordan Murphy (14.4 PPG, 11.0 RPG) and Dupree McBrayer (8.9 PPG). Junior Amir Coffey (16.6 PPG) has declared for the NBA Draft as well, but he might return to Minneapolis after the draft evaluation process.

8

Ohio State

19-13 (8-12)

Last: 10
The Buckeyes were among the seven Big Ten teams to win an NCAA Tournament game, as they knocked off Iowa State in a minor upset. Ohio State will lose senior guard CJ Jackson to graduation, but head coach Chris Holtmann brings in 4-star point guard DJ Carton to run the show, along with 4-star forwards Alonzo Gaffney and EJ Liddell. OSU will likely be a fixture in the Top 25 from start to finish next season.

9

Indiana

17-15 (8-12)

Last: 7
Inconsistency and injuries wreaked havoc on the Hoosiers this year, as they missed the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row. Expectations were decently high this year, with five-star recruit Romeo Langford joining a team of veterans like Juwan Morgan, De’Ron Davis, and Devonte Green. Unfortunately, even though the team started 12-2 with significant victories over Louisville, Marquette, and Butler, they faltered considerably by losing 12 of their next 13 games. There was still a chance of making the NCAA tournament by defeating OSU in the Big Ten Tournament. However, the Hoosiers lost, dropping them to the NIT. The biggest takeaways from this disappointing season were injuries and inconsistency. Injuries affected the Hoosiers in a major way, forcing four-star freshman Jerome Hunter to redshirt, freshman standout Robert Phinisee to miss 3 games, and causing other key players like Davis and Green to miss time. Even Langford had issues with his hand, bowel movements, nose, and lip during the year, leading to absences within games as well. These injuries to key players led to inconsistency, preventing coach Miller from using his bench if some players were struggling during games. Even though this year was rough, IU could potentially bounce back next year with the additions of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Armaan Franklin, while players like Phinsee, Hunter, Davis, Smith, and Green could definitely improve.

10

Nebraska

18-15 (6-14)

Last: 14
After a turbulent second half of their season, Nebraska sent shockwaves throughout the college basketball landscape by hiring former Iowa State and Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to replace Tim Miles. Hoiberg has some work to do; the Huskers went 6-14 in conference play, and could lose a startling 87.5% of their scoring from this past season, if junior forward Isaiah Roby keeps his hat in the ring for the NBA Draft.

11

Penn State

14-18 (7-13)

Last: 9
The Nittany Lions easily would have been a little higher in the rankings if it would have defeated Minnesota in the second round of the Big Ten tournament. However, the overtime loss in addition to victories against both Michigan and Maryland were just small bright spots in what easily can be considered a disappointing season. If leading scorer junior Lamar Stevens returns next season, Penn State might make a little more noise in 2019-2020.

12

Rutgers

14-17 (7-13)

Last: 11
In 2017-18, the Scarlet Knights won three games in Big Ten play. In 2018-19, that total was increased to seven with two of the victories coming against ranked opponents. Yes, Rutgers finished the year with a losing record. Could one still argue, however, that this season was a success?? Without a doubt.

13

Illinois

12-21 (7-13)

Last: 12
At first, you look at the Illini’s 12-21 record and feel disappointed. However, things should get better as Dosunmu, Bezhanishvili, and Frazier still have plenty of time before graduating (assuming none of them declare for the NBA draft). The Big Ten was arguably the best conference this year, so it’s understandable that this team lost 21 games. Illinois can definitely win 20 games next year and get back to being a force in the Big Ten like it once was.

    14

    Northwestern

    13-19 (4-16)

    Last: 13
    No one expects Northwestern to top the league on a year-to-year basis, but the team’s regression the last three seasons has to be discouraging for Wildcats fans. Only Dererk Pardon and Vic Law received any recognition during the Big Ten’s end-of-season awards (honorable mention), and they both just played their senior season. Head coach Chris Collins is bringing in the 4th-ranked recruiting class in the conference next season, according to 247Sports.