In an early look ahead to the 2012-13 college basketball season, we rank the top teams in the Big Ten. Is there a clear number one?
The Big Ten has been arguably the strongest conference in
college hoops over the past few seasons, with Ohio State, Michigan State and
Wisconsin among a number of others always finding themselves in the top 25
But, now there's a new king in town in the conference.
#1) Indiana (+750 to win the national championship)
It's a great time to be a Hoosiers fan as they're primed for
a huge season. So good in fact that they're second in the nation in the futures
odds, behind only Kentucky who's at +600.
Indiana, who actually beat Kentucky last season, enters as
the favorite in the Big Ten. They have all five starters coming back, led of
course by star soon-to-be sophomore Cody Zeller.
Zeller will be in contention for Player of the Year plaudits
this coming season after posting averages of 15.6 PPG and 6.6 RPG in his
freshman year. Look for him to guide the Hoosiers to another deep run in the
#2) Ohio State (+1750)
So Jared Sullinger's gone, as is trusty floor leader William
Buford, but all hope's not lost in Ohio State.
Thad Matta always has things under control and he'll be
thankful that Deshaun Thomas opted to return. Thomas quietly averaged 15.9 PPG
and 5.4 RPG last season and was fantastic in both the Big Ten and NCAA
Also coming back is Aaron Craft, a workhorse of a guard
who's probably the best defender in the conference and maybe even in the
#3) Michigan (+2500)
As soon as Trey Burke decided to skip the NBA draft, the
Wolverines immediately became a team to really look out for in 2012-13.
Burke did a little of everything in his freshman year,
averaging 14.8 PPG, 4.6 APG and 3.5 RPG. He'll pair with Tim Hardaway Jr. to
form one of the country's best backcourts.
This team also has some big-time recruits coming in, like
Glenn Robinson, Mitch McGary and Nick Stauskas, all of whom were ranked in the
top 100 nationally.
#4) Michigan State (+2800)
The Spartans lose do-it-all forward Draymond Green, but at
least Keith Appling is back. Appling will take over a large leadership role,
even as a junior.
In all actuality, a sizable chunk of Michigan State's roster
is sticking around. Adreian Payne, Derrick Nix, Branden Dawson and Travis Trice
should all assume larger roles on the team this coming season.
There's another thing to get extremely excited about for
Spartans fans and that's stud recruit Gary Harris, a five-star prospect who
should get a bunch of PT right from the beginning. Matt Costello and Kenny
Kaminski should also see time as freshmen.
#5) Minnesota (+7000)
We wonder how different the NCAA Basketball odds would be if Trevor Mbakwe
wasn't granted an extra year of eligibility.
Mbakwe hurt himself early on last season and the Gophers
missed him dearly. However, they've got to be thrilled that he decided to
return for his “second” senior season.
In fact, the only consistent contributor not coming back to
Minnesota this season is Ralph Sampson III. Rodney Williams (12.2 PPG and 5.6
RPG) will be around, as will Austin Hollins, Julian Welch and Andre Hollins.
#6) Wisconsin (+8000)
The final team we're breaking down in these power rankings
Bo Ryan no longer has Jordan Taylor running his offense and
clearly that's a big blow. But that doesn't mean the Badgers are going to fall
off the map completely.
Why? Ryan's got his four other starters all returning. Ryan
Evans, Jared Berggren, Josh Gasser and Mike Bruesewitz are back and so is
important reserve Ben Brust. Also, look out for fab freshman Sam Dekker.
Illinois (+11000), Iowa (+15000), Purdue (+22000) and
Northwestern (+30000) are further down on the list, while Nebraska and Penn
State don't even have odds listed. That tells you all you need to know about