We are a long way from the start of the 2017-2018 season. However, most rosters have been filled enough to make an early prediction of what the Big 10 may look like in 2017-2018.

The Boilermakers are the defending regular season champs and are expected to remain a solid team even after the departure of Caleb Swanigan.

Michigan State will be looking to fix the problems that caused them to have a slow start last season.

Minnesota and Northwestern will be looking to crown a new king in the Big Ten. Both of these teams are ranked in almost every sports writer and blogger’s early top 25 picks for the 2017-2018 season. It’s going to be fun to see how far the two (2) teams will go in 2017-2018.

With that said, here is a prediction of what the Big ten may look like in 2017-2018:

1. Purdue Basketball

Coach: Matt Painter

Off Roster:
Players possibly turning Pro: Caleb Swanigan
Graduated: Spike Albrecht, Basil Smotherman, John Mckeeman

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Vince Edwards (SF), Isaac Haas (C), P.J. Thompson (PG), Carsen Edwards (PG), Dakota Mathias (SG), Matt Haarms (C, Red Shirt) and Ryan Cline (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Eden Ewing (SF, Tyler)
Key Freshmen added: Nojel Eastern (SG), Matt Haarms (PF) and Aaron Wheeler (SF)

Purdue will come in as the defending regular season champs. The scary part about this team is that they had only lost one player from the 2016-2017 season, Caleb Swanigan. All of the remaining key players are returning and they’re going to be much more experienced.

In addition to many key players returning, Purdue will add some very good recruits to the roster. Big man Matt Haarms, from the Netherlands, redshirted last season and will be ready to play this season. This big man can not only play inside, he can also shoot from long range. Top 100 freshman recruit, Nojel Eastern loves to take the ball to the rim, which will give Purdue many options.

2016-2017 Record: 27-8 Overall (14-4 Conference) NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Finish
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 14+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Finish or greater

2. Michigan State Basketball

Coach: Tom Izzo

Off Roster:
Graduated: Eron Harris, Alvin Ellis III and Matt Van Dyk

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Miles Bridges (SF), Nick Ward (C), Lourawls Nairn Jr. (PG), Joshua Langford (SG), Kenny Goins (PF), Matt McQuaid (SG), Cassius Winston (PG), and Kyle Ahrens (SF)
Key Freshmen added: Jaren Jackson (PF) and Xavier Tillman (PF)

Michigan State will return several key players from the 2016-2017 season. However, their lack of scoring was the reason for the team’s roller-coaster season. Michigan State put, on average, 71.9 points per game last season, which ranked them 202nd nationally in points per game. As a result, the Spartans had a difficult time beating ranked opponents. The team only won two (2) out of eight (8) games against top 25 ranked opponents. Hopefully, the addition of top 10 recruit, Jaren Jackson and top 100 recruit Xavier Tillman will help alleviate that problem.

2016-2017 Record: 20-15 Overall (10-8 Conference) NCAA Tournament 2nd Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 13+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Finish or greater

3. Minnesota Basketball

Coach: Richard Pitino

Off Roster:
Graduated: Akeem Springs

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Nate Mason (PG), Jordan Murphy (SF), Amir Coffey (SF), Dupree McBrayer (SG), Reggie Lynch (C), Eric Curry (PF), Bakary Konate (C), and Davonte Fitzgerald (SF)
Key Role Players Possibly Returning: Michael Hurt (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Davonte Fitzgerald (SF, Texas A&M)
Key Freshmen added: Isaiah Washington (PG) and Jamir Harris (SG)

Minnesota will be returning all five (5) starters from their successful 2016-2017 season. Expect this team to be very good on both ends of the court this coming season. They had the best rebound per game average in the Big Ten behind Rutgers.

Their bench gets stronger with the addition of top 100 recruit Isaiah Washington and Texas A&M‘s graduate transfer Davonte Fitzgerald.

We are looking for Minnesota to go deep into the NCAA Tournament this coming season.

2016-2017 Record: 24-10 Overall (11-7 Conference) NCAA Tournament First Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 12-
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Finish or greater

4. Northwestern Basketball

Coach: Chris Collins

Off Roster:
Graduated: Nathan Taphorn and Sanjay Lumpkin

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Bryant McIntosh (SG), Scottie Lindsey (SG), Vic Law (SF), Aaron Falzon (PF), Dererk Pardon (C), Gavin Skelly (PF), Isiah Brown (PG), Barret Benson ( C), and Jordan Ash (SG), and Rapolas Ivanauskas (PF, Red Shirt)
Key Freshmen added: Anthony Gaines (SG)

Northwestern will have five (5) starters returning. Aaron Falzon started in 2015-2016 but sat out the 2016-2017 season due to a knee injury. Falzon averaged 8.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game that season. Northwestern will need Falzon’s point production in order to take the team to the next level.

Northwestern struggled to put teams away last season due to lack of point production. The wildcats barely beat some mid-majors in pre-conference competition such as Eastern Washington, Chicago State, and Dayton. Northwestern scored on average 71.1 points per game, making them the 3rd worst offensive team in the Big Ten above only Rutgers and Nebraska.

Great defense can alone only get a team so far.

2016-2017 Record: 24-12 Overall (10-8 Conference) NCAA Tournament 2nd Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 12 -
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament 2nd Round Exit or greater

5. Maryland Basketball

Coach: Mark Turgeon

Off Roster:
Players possibly turning Pro: Melo Trimble
Graduated: Damonte Dodd and L.G. Gill
Transferred: Jaylen Brantley (Massachusetts)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Anthony Cowan (PG), Justin Jackson (SF), Kevin Huerter (SG), Ivan Bender (PF), Jared Nickens (SF), Dion Wiley (SG), Michal Cekovsky (C) and Joshua Tomaic (PF, Red Shirt)
Key Transfer(s): Sean Obi (C, Duke)
Key Freshmen added: Darryl Morsell (SG) and Bruno Fernando (C)

Melo Trimble left for the pros. However, Maryland won’t miss a beat without his presence. Two (2) out of three (3) of Maryland’s top scorers are returning in Anthony Cowan and Justin Jackson. The Terps has also added two (2) top 100 freshmen recruits to the team in Darryl Morsell and Bruno Fernando.

2016-2017 Record: 24-9 Overall (12-6 Conference) NCAA Tournament First Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 11+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament 1st Round Exit or less

6. Indiana Basketball

Coach: Archie Miller

Off Roster:
Players possibly turning Pro: James Blackmon Jr., Thomas Bryant, OG Anunoby

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Robert Johnson (SG), Josh Newkirk (PG), Juwan Morgan (PF), Juwan Morgan (PF), De'Ron Davis (PF), Curtis Jones (SG), and Devonte Green (SG)
Key Freshmen added: Clifton Moore (PF), Justin Smith (SF), and Al Durham (SG)

Indiana has a new coach in Archie Miller. Coach Miller will have a lot of good pieces to work with this coming season. Starters, Robert Johnson, Josh Newkirk, and Juwan Morgan will be returning. The three (3) were instrumental in making Indiana the 2nd best offensive team in the Big Ten last season. But what kept them out of the NCAA Tournament was their defense.

Indiana was one of the worst defensive teams in the Big Ten. Hopefully, that will all change with the new coach and new recruits.

2016-2017 Record: 18-16 Overall (7-11 Conference) NIT 1st Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 10 +
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament first round exit or less

7. Penn State Basketball

Coach: Pat Chambers

Off Roster:
Transferred: Terrence Samuel, Payton Banks, and Isaiah Washington

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Tony Carr (PG), Shep Garner (SG), Lamar Stevens (SF), Josh Reaves (SF), Mike Watkins (C), Julian Moore (PF), Nazeer Bostick (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Satchel Pierce (C, Virginia Tech)
Key Freshmen added: Trent Buttrick (PF), amari Wheeler (PG), and John Harrar (PF)

Penn State is returning all five (5) starters from the 2016-2017 season. With chemistry improving this team could end up being a very dangerous team to play. However, Penn State will need to find a way to put some more points on the board.

2016-2017 Record: 15-18 Overall (6-12 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 10-
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NCAA Tournament appearance 1st Round Exit or less

8. Iowa Basketball

Coach: Fran McCaffery

Off Roster:
Graduated: Peter Jok and Dale Jones

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jordan Bohannon (PG), Tyler Cook (PF), Isaiah Moss (SG), Ahmad Wagner (PF), Dom Uhl (PF), Cordell Pemsl (PF), Nicholas Baer (SF), Christian Williams (PG), Brady Ellingson (SG), and Ryan Kriener (PF)
Key Freshmen added: Connor McCaffery (SG), Jack Nunge (PF), and Luka Garza (C)

Iowa should build on the success of the 2016-2017 season with return of several key players, which includes one of the best point guards in the Big Ten, Jordan Bohannon. Because of his production, Iowa was ranked 5th in the nation in points per game.

Iowa’s Achilles Heel was defense. Iowa had the worse scoring defenses in the Big Ten. Their opponents scored on average 78.1 points per game. The fact that this team was able to put up a lot of points prevented them from having a losing season. Iowa scored on average 80.5 points per game, making them one the best offensive teams in the nation.


2016-2017 Record: 19-15 Overall (10-8 Conference) NIT 2nd Round Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 10 -
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NIT 2nd round Exit or greater

9. Michigan Basketball

Coach: John Beilein

Off Roster:
Players possibly turning Pro: D.J. Wilson
Graduated: Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton Jr., Mark Donnal, and Sean Lonergan
Transfer(s): Mark Donnal (Clemson)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Moritz Wagner (PF), Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (SG), Duncan Robinson (PF), and Xavier Simpson (PG)
Key Transfer(s): Jaaron Simmons (PG, Ohio) and Charles Matthews (SF, Michigan)
Key Freshmen added: Jordan Poole (SG, Ranked #107), Eli Brooks (PG), Isaiah Livers (SF), and Austin Davis (PF)

Michigan has lost several players to either graduation, transfer or to the Pros. However, Coach John Beilein did a great job patching up the holes from the losses. Michigan has brought in Ohio’s graduate transfer, Jaaron Simmons to lead the team at the point guard position. Simmons averaged 15.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game in his final season at Ohio.

Michigan will look to Duncan Robinson to step up his production at the power forward position.

The only concern now is Michigan’s Bench. What will it look like with all of the players gone?

2016-2017 Record: 26-12 Overall (10-8 Conference) NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 8+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NIT 2nd Round Exit or greater

10. Ohio State Basketball

Coach: Chris Holtmann

Off Roster:
Players possibly turning Pro: Trevor Thompson
Graduated: Marc Loving
Transferred: David Bell (Jacksonville)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jae'Sean Tate (SF), Kam Williams (SG), C.J. Jackson (PG), Micah Potter (C), Andre Wesson (SF), Joey Lane (PG), Keita Bates-Diop (SF), and Derek Funderburk (PF, Red shirts)
Key Freshmen added: Kaleb Wesson ( C ) and Braxton Beverly (PG)

Ohio State is going through a lot of changes right now. Legendary Coach Thad Matta was replaced on June 6, 2017. Rising star, Coach Chris Holtmann is the new head coach.

But, before all of the changes there were problems in Columbus, Ohio. JaQuan Lyle, one of their top three (3) scorers left the team for off the court issues and Keita Bates-Diop was injured at the start of Conference competition.

If Keita Bates-Diop is healthy and red shirt Derek Funderburk develops into highly productive player Ohio State should do fine.

2016-2017 Record: 17-15 Overall (7-11 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 7+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NIT 1st round exit or less

11. Wisconsin Basketball

Coach: Greg Gard

Off Roster:
Graduated: Vitto Brown, Nigel Hayes, Zak Showalter, and Bronson Koenig
Transferred: Jordan Hill (Seattle)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Ethan Happ (PF), Brevin Pritzl (SG), Aleem Ford (SF, Red Shirt), Khalil Iverson (SF), D'Mitrik Trice (PG), Charles Thomas IV (PF), and Alex Illikainen (PF)
Key Role Players Possibly Returning: Andy Van Vliet (PF)
Key Freshmen added: Brad Davison (PG), Nathan Reuvers (PF), and Kobe King (SG)

Wisconsin will be without their top two (2) point producers Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig in 2017-2018. The Badgers will have to rely on Ethan Happ to lead them through the next season. Happs was not only the third best point producer on the team; he was also the 3rd best rebounder in the Big Ten behind Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan and Ohio State’s Trevor Thompson. He is also an excellent defender. In 2016-2017 he averaged 1.81 steals per game, which was the 2nd best average in the Big Ten behind Iowa’s Peter Jok.

Happs will be joined by two (2) top 100 recruits in point guard Brad Davison and power forward Nathan Reuvers. Davidson is a floor general who has the ability to score at will and see the floor. Reuvers has the ability to spread the floor as a big man.

2016-2017 Record: 27-10 Overall (12-6 Conference) NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 7+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: NIT 1st Round Exit or less

12. Illinois Basketball

Coach: Brad Underwood

Off Roster:
Graduated: Malcolm Hill, Tracy Abrams, Maverick Morgan, Jaylon Tate, Mike Thorne Jr. and Alex Austin
Transferred: Jalen Coleman-Lands and D.J. Williams

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Te'Jon Lucas (PG), Leron Black (PF), Michael Finke (PF), Aaron Jordan (SG, Redshirt), and Kipper Nichols (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Mark Alstork (SG, Wright State)
Key Freshmen added: Mark Smith (PG), Trent Frazier (PG), and Da'Monte Williams (PG)

Illinois will start the season with a new coach in Brad Underwood. Coach Underwood is slowly putting his roster together for this new era. He has added a very good graduate transfer from Wright State, Mark Alstork. E also added three (3) top 100 freshmen recruits, Mark Smith, Trent Frazier, and Da'Monte Williams.

Alstork led Wright State in scoring in his final season, averaging 19 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game.

He will join two (2) returning starters, Te'Jon Lucas and Leron Black, in the lineup. This guard heavy team will probably put a lot of points next season.

2016-2017 Record: 20-15 Overall (8-10 Conference) NIT Quarter Finals Exit
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 6+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: No Appearance

13. Nebraska Basketball

Coach: Tim Miles

Off Roster:
Graduated: Tai Webster
Transferred: Michael Jacobson, Jeriah Horne (Tulsa), Ed Morrow (Marquette), and Nick Fuller (South Dakota)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Glynn Watson Jr. (PG), Evan Taylor (PG), Jordy Tshimanga (C), Jack McVeigh (SF), Isaiah Roby (SF), and Anton Gill (SG)
Key Transfer(s): Duby Okeke (C, Winthrop), Isaac Copeland (PF, Georgetown), and James Palmer Jr. (SG, Miami)
Key Freshmen added: Nana Akenten (SF) and Thomas Allen (SG)

Nebraska’s main problem in 2016-2017 was ball movement. There was no true floor general there. As a result, Nebraska had the second worst assist per game average in the Big Ten, only above Rutgers. There was only one player on the team to average above two (2) assists per game, Glynn Watson Jr.

There doesn’t seem to be any indications that this problem will be fixed in 2017-2018.

2016-2017 Record: 12-19 Overall (6-12 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 6-
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: No Appearance

14. Rutgers Basketball

Coach: Steve Pikiell

Off Roster:
Graduated: C.J. Gettys
Transferred: Nigel Johnson (Virginia), Jonathan Laurent (Massachusetts)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Corey Sanders (PG), Deshawn Freeman (SF), Mike Williams (SG), Issa Thiam (PF), Shaquille Doorson (C), Eugene Omoruyi (SF), Candido Sa (PF), and Issa Thiam (PF)
Key Transfer(s): Soufiane Mensah (PG, Marshalltown)
Key Freshmen added: Myles Johnson (C) and Geo Baker (PG)

Even though Rutgers will be without their 2nd best scorer, Nigel Johnson, they will have several starters returning from the 2016-2017 season. Unfortunately, Rutgers had one of the worst offensive scoring averages in the nation with this group.

Rutgers held their opponents to an average 67.1 points per game last season, but only scored on average 65.5 per game. This team had a dismal scoring margin of -1.6 points per game- don’t’ see much changing this season.

2016-2017 Record: 15-18 Overall (3-15 Conference)
Projected Conference Wins 2017-2018: 4+
Projected Post Season Finish 2017-2018: No Appearance

Jack Williams, D1caochcorner.com
6-15-2017

*This prediction is the sole view of d1coachcorner.com and should be seen as for entertainment purposes only. As for stats, all stats were taken from NCAA statistics via ncaa.com and the from the National Junior College Athletic Association statistic via NJCAA.com.

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Jack Williams, D1CoachCorner.com June 15, 2017, 7:00am
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Big 10 Basketball: 2017-2018 Very Early Predictions
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)