Very early Big Ten basketball power rankings for 2021-2022

The end of the college basketball season has been over for quite some time after Ohio State had a very disappointing finale. In fact, most of the Big Ten decided to not show up in the postseason. Since then, there have been guys enter their names in the NBA draft, and a few transfers both in and out of programs.

It all leads to a puzzling picture on how to determine the pecking order for next season, but we’re going to peer into the cloudy crystal ball and try to figure it all out. We know some of the guys that will be leaving because of graduation and hiring of an agent, but not all, so this could and probably will change as rosters become more solid.

Here is our best stab at reading the tea leaves and looking at the Big Ten hoops power rankings for next season as we sit here in May.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Mar 11, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Marcus Carr (5) reacts after he is fouled in the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota is going to have to go through a significant rebuild. It fired head coach Richard Pitino and many players have entered the dreaded transfer portal. Things will not be feeling Minnesota this upcoming basketball season.

Penn State Nittany Lions

Ohio State basketball lands Penn State transfer guard Jamari Wheeler

Feb 26, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Jamari Wheeler (5) dribbles the ball as Purdue Boilermakers guard Eric Hunter Jr. (2) defends during the second half at Bryce Jordan Center. Purdue defeated Penn State 73-52. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

New head coach Micah Shrewsberry has his work cut out for him this upcoming season. Many Nittany Lions departed the program via the transfer portal and it’s going to be tough to put a competitive roster together in year one.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Jan 2, 2021; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Fred Hoiberg watches action against the Michigan State Spartans in the second half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Story continues

There is reason to believe Nebraska could be better in 2021-2022 but there’s still a long way to go. If some of the newcomers can add significant impacts, the Huskers could surprise even more. However, there are still too many unknowns.

Northwestern Wildcats

WATCH: What Penn State coach Jim Ferry said about Ohio State postgame

Jan 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions interim head coach Jim Ferry signals from the bench during the first half against the Northwestern Wildcats at Bryce Jordan Center. Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern is always a wildcard it seems, and things were looking better with a more seasoned team than this year before Miller Kopp and Anthony Gaines decided to transfer. That will probably set the development of this team back.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

WATCH: What Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said about Ohio State postgame

Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell calls out to player during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

A lot of Rutgers’ fate depends on whether or not Roger Harper, Jr. and Geo Baker decide to do with the NBA. Even if those two come back, there were some defections that will limit the team’s ability to build upon an upward trajectory the last couple of years.

Iowa Hawkeyes

Ohio State vs. Iowa preview, prediction, and odds – Buckeyes Wire

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon (3) takes the ball up court as Ohio State forward Justice Sueing, left, defends during a NCAA Big Ten Conference men’s basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

Iowa obviously loses a lot with Luka Garza off to the NBA. Jordan Bohannon looks to be coming back, but Joe Wieskamp is also flirting with going to the next level. Also, Jack Nunge decided to go the transfer route. There doesn’t seem to be any way Iowa is anything near what it was the last couple of years.

Wisconsin Badgers

Jan 23, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Greg Gard watches his team in the game with the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half at the Kohl Center. Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin seems to always figure it out, so maybe we’re giving the Badgers too much credit here. Brad Davidson is returning, but he’s not the type of guy you can completely build around. Youth looks to be served in Madison, but the system always seems to work.

Indiana Hoosiers

Feb 13, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (23) is defended by Ohio State Buckeyes guard CJ Walker (13) and forward Seth Towns (31) during the first half at Value City Arena. Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana got huge news with Tracye Jackson-Davis deciding to return to Bloomington. He’ll be a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate to build around with new head coach Mike Woodson to build around. However, a serious program transition and lack of perimeter game could keep the Hoosiers from being an upper-division team.

Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois guard Andre Curbelo, left, goes up to shoot in front of teammate center Kofi Cockburn, center, and Ohio State forward Zed Key during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, March 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

Ayo Dosunmu is off to the NBA, and we’re going to make an educated guess that Kofi Cockburn is too. That makes the Illini a shell of what they were last season, but there’s still some decent talent with the likes of Trent Frazier and Andre Curbelo on the perimeter. We might see Brad Underwood work the transfer market. All bets are off if Cockburn decides to return.

Michigan State Spartans

Ohio State listed as slight favorite over Michigan State by BetMGM

Dec 25, 2020; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo talks to his players during action Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State had a very disappointing 2020-2021 campaign, at least for Spartan standards, and the team still might not be ready to climb back among the contenders this coming season with defections into the transfer portal. However, Max Christie should provide a significant boost to this team. There are just not as many pieces to play with. Can Tom Izzo work his magic is the real question?

Maryland Terrapins

WATCH: What Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said about Ohio State postgame

Feb 8, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon react during the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland is a bit of a question with a lack of offensive consistency last season, but as long as Erik Ayala and Aaron Wiggins return, this team could be a very dangerous one, even a contender for the league title. There are transfers on the way, and it all depends on how well the roster can come together.

Purdue Boilermakers

Ohio State guard Duane Washington Jr. (4) makes a pass around Purdue guard Jaden Ivey (23) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big Ten Conference tournament in Indianapolis, Friday, March 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Purdue was a young team that overachieved last year, and most of that talent returs with guys like Jaden Ivey, Zach Edey, and company. This squad could also contend for a Big Ten title, especially if Trevion Williams decides to come back for one more season.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State basketball’s 2021-2022 Big Ten opponent breakdown announced

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 12: The Ohio State Buckeyes huddle up during a time out in the game against the Purdue Boilermakers during the second half in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 12, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Ohio State has two big stars it’s waiting on when it comes to roster management. Do both E.J. Liddell and Duane Washington return? If so, this team is loaded and one of the favorites to win the Big Ten title. If not, it’s still a dangerous one, especially with the news of Kyle Young returning. Newcomer Malaki Branham will be an immediate difference-maker that’s probably not being given enough credit in the offseason.

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard calls out instructions against Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, March 13, 2021, during the men’s Big Ten basketball tournament from Lucas Oil Stadium.

There’s no question losing Franz Wagner to the NBA is a big hit, but Hunter Dickinson returns down low to build around. Isaiah Livers is gone, but Eli Brooks returns on the perimeter. Add that to an outstanding recruiting class and Michigan will be right there again. [listicle id=49555] Contact/Follow us @BuckeyesWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes and opinion.

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Published: 2021-05-16 19:25:37

Tags: #early #Big #Ten #basketball #power #rankings

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