We are just three and a half months away from the start of the 2019-20 college basketball season, and national forecasts for the upcoming campaign have started to emerge.
One of the better known national voices in college basketball is CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, and he did a deep dive this week into the upcoming Big Ten basketball season.
It is always good perspective to hear what independent national voices are saying — although it might not always be something that you want to hear.
Speaking on his “College Hoops Today” podcast, Rothstein had this to say about the outlook for IU:
“Year three under Archie Miller. 19-16 a year ago. You lose Romeo Langford. You lose Juwan Morgan. How can Indiana be a better team than they were a year ago? That’s one of the interesting story lines to me in what should be an extremely balanced and extremely competitive Big Ten.”
Like many, Rothstein clearly has more questions than answers when it comes to the Hoosiers — and that is reflected in his power rankings below.
On the individual level, Rothstein does see several IU players emerging, whether it be transfers, freshmen or returning players having a breakout campaign.
Big Ten Offseason Power Rankings
We have yet to see Big Ten power rankings for the 2019-20 season that failed to put Michigan State on top, including our own.
Beyond the Spartans, there has generally been debate about No. 2 involving Maryland and Ohio State. Rothstein likes the Terrapins in the second spot and bumps Ohio State to No. 4, observing that the Buckeyes do not return any starting guards.
Rothstein slipped in Purdue at No. 3, noting that head coach Matt Painter is “the new Bo Ryan” in the Big Ten, and thus should always be expected to produce a high caliber team in the league. The Boilers join Penn State as teams that are surprisingly high in Rothstein’s rankings.
Clearly Indiana has much to prove in Rothstein’s mind. The Hoosiers and Michigan are on the lower end of the range of expectations that we have seen thus far.
- Michigan State
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Nebraska (sleeper team)
Big Ten Preseason First Team:
No real surprises here, with Cassius Winston clearly the man to beat at the top. Michigan’s Zavier Simpson and Maryland’s Jalen Smith are other names that are likely hovering near the first team. Rothstein mentioned Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp as someone else that could find his way here eventually.
Who from IU is closest to making this team? If anyone gets there it will be because the Hoosiers surprise folks and have a strong season. And that will likely mean that Devonte Green puts it all together and has a breakout senior season.
- Cassius Winston, Michigan State (player of the year)
- Anthony Cowan, Maryland
- Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois
- Lamar Stevens, Penn State
- Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State
10 Impact Big Ten Freshmen (in no particular order):
There are not a lot of high impact recruiting classes arriving on Big Ten campuses, but there are still some individuals that will make a splash in year one. Of course McDonald’s All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis is one of those names, as is a point guard that IU missed on — DJ Carton at Ohio State.
- Trayce Jackson-Davis, IU
- Rocket Watts, Michigan St
- Malik Hall, Michigan St
- Chol Marial, Maryland
- Makhi Mitchell, Maryland
- Donta Scott, Maryland
- D.J. Carton, OSU
- E.J. Liddell, OSU
- Kofi Cockburn, Illinois
- Samari Curtis, Nebraska
10 Under-The-Radar Big Ten Freshmen (in no particular order):
Rothstein included Jerome Hunter here, which must mean that he has baked his return into his power rankings forecast. Unfortunately, as Indiana fans know, there is still no clarity on whether that return will actually happen.
- Yvan Ouedraogo, Nebraska
- Tyler Wahl, Wisconsin
- Paul Mulcahy, RU
- Robbie Beran, NW
- Franz Wagner, Michigan
- Jerome Hunter, IU (redshirt)
- Seth Lundy, PSU
- Patrick McCaffery, Iowa
- Joe Toussiant, Iowa
- Brandon Newman, Purdue
10 Impact Big Ten Transfers (in no particular order):
Archie Miller is happy to finally have “Big Ten size,” and one of the main reasons for that is the addition of graduate transfer Joey Brunk. As Miller indicated however, Brunk is bringing much more than size to the Hoosiers.
- C.J. Walker, OSU
- Jahaad Proctor, Purdue
- Micah Potter, Wisconsin
- Izaiah Brockington, PSU
- Joey Brunk, IU
- Cam Mack, Nebraska (JUCO)
- Jervay Green, Nebraska (JUCO)
- Marcus Carr, Minnesota
- Jacob Young, RU
- Akwasi Yeboah, RU
10 Big Ten Breakout Players (in no particular order):
It was clear that injuries played a major role in Indiana’s 2018-19 demise, and no absence was more impactful than that of Rob Phinisee, who missed several games with a concussion and took several more contests to get back to full health. IU was simply a much better team with their freshman point guard at full strength.
If Phinisee can step up his offensive production to match his elite-level defense, it could go a long way in making IU a surprise team next year on the upside.
- Aaron Henry, Michigan State
- Trevion Williams, Purdue
- Aaron Wiggins, Maryland
- Luther Muhammad, OSU
- Nate Reuvers, Wisconsin
- Myles Dread, PSU
- Isaiah Livers, Michigan
- Connor McCaffery, Iowa
- Myles Johnson, Rutgers
- Rob Phinisee, IU
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