By Will Zeitler
NCAA Basketball season is less than a month away so without further ado, here is the second half of the Big Ten Basketball preview. Read part one here.
Ohio State: With top scorer D’Angelo Russell leaving the Buckeyes for the Lakers, the rest of the Ohio State roster is ready to pick of where he left. Finishing 24-11 last season and a good showing in the tournament, the Buckeyes are eager to take a major step this season. Coach Thad Matta has both Jae’Sean Tate and Marc Loving returning for another season. Along with a top 10 recruiting class the Buckeyes should be Big Ten title contenders.Embed from Getty Images
Purdue: Making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finishing 21-13, the hype is beginning to grow around Matt Painter’s boilermakers. With two seven footers in AJ Hammons and Isaac Haas, along with defensive player of the year Raphael Davis,its going to be very hard for anyone to score against the Boilermakers this season. If Hammons stays healthy he could easily be the Big Ten’s best player and Purdue could seriously compete for a conference title.
Iowa: Losing to Gonzaga in the third round of NCAA tournament, Iowa is looking to rebuild off of last year’s 22-12 season. The Hawkeyes lose Aaron White, and that will be a lot of production for returning starters Peter Jok and Jared Uthoff to make up. With a pretty easy out of conference schedule coach Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes hope to push for another tournament appearance.Embed from Getty Images
Illinois: Finishing last season at 19-14 the Illini limp into the 2015-16 season. After dismissing transfer guard Darius Paul, who had yet to play a game for the Illini, and losing 5th year senior Tracy Abrams to injury, The Illini lost size, experience, and scoring. Yet Coach John Groce managed to secure a top 20 recruiting class with three 4-star shooters, Jalen Coleman Lands, DJ Williams, and Aaron Jordan. While this season may be a building year for the Illini, they may sneak out some underdog conference wins.
Michigan: Caris Levert was a standout for the Wolverines last season who finished 16-16. The Wolverines are pretty much the same team from last year. With veterans like Spike Albrecht and Derrick Walton Jr., the Wolverines have the potential to turn some heads this season. With really disappointing loses last season to NJIT and Eastern Michigan, Coach Beilein hopes that with more experience his wolverines could make a run at the Big Ten title and the tournament.Embed from Getty Images
Penn State: Sometimes one can forget that Penn State has a basketball team. Last season the Nittany Lions surprisingly finished 18-16 overall but struggled in Big Ten play going 4-14 in conference. Even though they have a difficult schedule, Coach Pat Chambers has an experienced core of seniors that may help Penn State may some noise.
Rutgers: Finishing 10-22 last season Rutgers suffered a pretty miserable season. Not much will change between the Rutgers of last year and the 2015-16 season.