By now you’ve seen the predictions, Indiana is emerging as a favorite to win the Big Ten in 2022-23.
Several factors are contributing to that notion.
First, Indiana has a top ten national recruiting class coming in this fall, and it is viewed as one of if not the best in the Big Ten, right along with Ohio State, Illinois and Michigan. A least two members of the class, top-30 prospects Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau, are widely viewed as players who can come in and contribute meaningfully from day one.
Second, the Hoosiers are bringing back All-Big Ten forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who led the team in both scoring and rebounding as a junior and can legitimately be called a contender for national player of the year next season.
Third, head coach Mike Woodson has a year under his belt, implementing his system and recasting the program in his image. Under Woodson, Indiana got past a few speedbumps, got better as the season progressed, and they built some late season momentum. Indiana rallied around Woodson rather than fall apart when things looked bleak.
And finally, the amount of returning production IU has compared to the rest of the conference stands out. Indiana has more players “running it back” than anyone else in the league, and just about anyone in the nation.
According to data compiled by Bart Torvik (barttorvik.com), the Hoosiers return the second most minutes in the country (78.1 percent), and the most in the Big Ten by a wide margin. The measure is adjusted for injuries, meaning someone like Trey Galloway is viewed as having played the entire season.
Northwestern is next at 64.3 percent, and then Penn State at 56.4 percent.
Of course recruiting and returning talent does not paint the complete picture in this transfer portal era. Indiana did not add anyone via the portal during the offseason, while other programs have bridged the gap that way.
Among teams thought to be contenders, Illinois and Ohio State have both done well rebuilding via transfers, but it remains to be seen how well they can be integrated into a new system. Iowa, Michigan State and Purdue are in the same camp as IU, with no additions via the portal.
Here are the returning minutes, recruiting and transfer portal rankings for the Big Ten:
PERCENTAGE OF RETURNING MINUTES (via Bart Torvik)
- Indiana 78.1
- Northwestern 64.3
- Penn State 56.4
- Iowa 54.2
- Michigan State 54.1
- Wisconsin 52.4
- Rutgers 51.5
- Maryland 46.9
- Purdue 39.5
- Michigan 39.2
- Nebraska 38.3
- Ohio State 23.0
- Minnesota 20.9
- Illinois 16.5
2022 RECRUITING CLASSES (247Sports Composite)
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Michigan State
2022 TRANSFER PORTAL ADDITION RANKINGS (247Sports)
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue (no additions)
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