As always, Big Ten basketball will reload after NBA draft exits

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 15, 2013 - 12:21 AM

Though standouts depart for the NBA, their former teams will reload.


Michigan's Trey Burke, right, and teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. walk down the court during the second half of their NCAA Final Four semifinal game against Syracuse


The Big Ten Conference might be losing a handful of high-profile players to early entry in the NBA draft and dozens more to graduation, but it shouldn’t stop business as usual for the perennially strong league in 2013-14.

A few months ago, the 12-team conference was considered by most analysts to be the nation’s best, housing seven NCAA tournament teams and at least five top-25 squads through most of the season. While the Big Ten might lose that prestigious designation, it’s unlikely to fall far — after all, reloading and quickly developing stars is what the Big Ten does as proficiently as any league.

“Last year, they were clearly the best conference in the country,” CBS Sports basketball writer Jeff Borzello said. “This year, it won’t be as clear but they’ll still have multiple teams in Final Four contention.”

Elite players Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State), Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. (Michigan), Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo (Indiana) are all entering the draft early and will participate in the NBA combine starting Thursday in Chicago along with other pro basketball hopefuls. But there is still a plethora of talent in tow that will both keep the league competitive as a whole and most likely keep the typical league giants on top.

The Atlantic Coast Conference could end up being the consensus “best league,” NBC basketball writer Rob Dauster said, but that has more to do with the strengthening of the ACC — which adds Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh — than any weakening of the Big Ten.

While Michigan loses two of the best players in the country, the Wolverines keep rising stars Mitch McGary — who exploded to average 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds a game in the NCAA tournament — and Glenn Robinson III. Ohio State has cultivated the next wave with LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith Jr. while dynamic point guard Aaron Craft still has another year. Michigan State returns everyone except Derrick Nix, boasting a roster featuring Gary Harris, Adreian Payne and Keith Appling, all of whom decided to stay.

“They were definitely the big winner, I think in terms of the people they got back,” Dauster said of the Spartans. “Gary Harris is going to have a huge season next year. … But I think the key for them was getting Payne back — because they didn’t really have anyone else in the middle.”

Many analysts agree that Michigan and Michigan State will be in the national top 10 next year — Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn has them at No. 5 and No. 2, respectively, in his post draft deadline power ranking. Ohio State and Wisconsin should sit comfortably in the top 25.

The one top-five finisher from a year ago that seems most impacted is Indiana, which gets depleted not just by superstars Oladipo and Zeller declaring for the draft but also glue guys Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford graduating and role players Remy Abell and Maurice Creek announcing they will transfer. Even so, the Hoosiers have found themselves lingering in top-25 talk because their six-man recruiting class is ranked sixth in the nation. Indiana’s incoming brawn is one of four Big Ten recruiting classes ranked in the top 30 nationally by, with Michigan (12), Illinois (17) and Purdue (23) rounding out the rest.

“Indiana will take the biggest fall from this past year,” Borzello said. “They lose so much — and the top of the league is still going to be pretty good. But they do return guys that can contribute — Yogi Ferrell, Will Sheehey, guys like that — but they’re going to bank on their freshmen carrying a huge load.”

So what does this mean for the Gophers? Well, only that things won’t suddenly be easier just because some of the top players from other teams are leaving. With the usual contenders regrouping and the bottom half threatening to improve as well, the grind won’t lessen for new coach Richard Pitino’s crew.

But then, that’s the Big Ten.

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New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
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Brt Columbia
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




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