Final 2012-13 Big Ten Power RankingsPosted by KTrahan on April 19th, 2013
The Big Ten was the best conference in America this season, and as we close up shop here at the Big Ten microsite, it’s time to frame things with our final Power Rankings of the year.
- Michigan — After slumping for much of the end of the season and the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan finally played like the team it could be during March Madness. What’s amazing is how much the Wolverines benefited from players not named Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway, specifically Mitch McGary, who will be a favorite for Big Ten Player of the Year if he returns next season. Bottom line: Michigan lost to a better team, but the national runner-up has nothing to be ashamed of with its season performance.
- Ohio State — The Buckeyes found a legitimate second scorer in Aaron Craft when they needed him most, but ran into the buzzsaw that was Wichita State in the Elite Eight. No team’s progress looking forward will be as interesting as Ohio State’s as it continues to look for replacement scoring with the departure of Deshaun Thomas to the NBA. Craft showed he can make offensive plays when he needs to, but he still doesn’t fit the mold of a go-to scorer. It’s hard to believe he’s got another year left in Columbus.
- Michigan State — The Spartans had the misfortune of getting placed in the toughest region of the NCAA Tournament, and would have had to beat both Duke and Louisville to reach another Final Four for Tom Izzo. Still, it was another Sweet Sixteen berth (11 since 1998) for a team that could return almost every important piece next year save for Derrick Nix.
- Indiana — By all accounts, this year’s postseason was a disappointment for Indiana. The Hoosiers were in the National Championship discussion all season long, but never fully put things together in the NCAA Tournament, nearly falling to Temple and eventually losing to Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen. That’s unfortunate, considering next year’s team won’t have nearly the potential that this one did. All-American recruit Noah Vonleh is arriving and Yogi Ferrell will be back, but the Hoosiers lose the core of the team: Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Jordan Hulls, and Christian Watford.
- Wisconsin — After an impressive run through Michigan and Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament that earned the Badgers a #5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin was upset in its NCAA opener, ending a strong season early. Still, it doesn’t diminish how much the Badgers overachieved this year. Next year’s team will be very guard-oriented, but look for Sam Dekker to break out and have a big season.
- Iowa — Iowa was disappointed it wasn’t selected for the NCAA Tournament this year, but a run to the NIT championship game certainly increased the hype for the Hawkeyes next season. That Iowa team should be projected to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, as all five starters and three key bench players return, in addition to Wisconsin transfer Jarrod Uthoff. There’s a lot to be excited about for Iowa fans heading into 2013-14.
- Illinois — Despite struggling at the end of the season, this year has to be considered a success for first-year coach John Groce, who won a game in the NCAA Tournament in his first season in Champaign and pushed Miami (FL) to the brink in the Round of 32. However, next year could be difficult for the Illini. They add impressive recruits Kendall Nunn and Jaylon Tate from Chicago Simeon, but lose stalwarts Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and Tyler Griffey.
- Minnesota — Despite winning its opening round NCAA Tournament game, Minnesota’s season was fairly disappointing considering how much talent the Gophers had on board. Now, Minnesota heads into rebuilding mode under new coach Richard Pitino, and next year could prove difficult without Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams around, not to mention any current 2013 recruiting class members.
- Purdue — Purdue fans couldn’t be happier that they can now put this season behind them. It was a disappointment just about all the way around, with the team losing its home magic against opponents in the Big Ten. But the future is very bright. Terone Johnson and A.J. Hammons lead a group that should be much, much improved next season. Unfortunately, the same goes for most of the other bottom-half teams in the Big Ten.
- Nebraska — All things considered, Nebraska’s first season under Tim Miles was fairly successful. Next year’s team, like this one, lacks a great post presence, but it will have a solid guard trio with Benny Parker, Ray Gallegos and Shavon Shields. With a semi-successful season this year and a new arena on the horizon, there’s a lot of momentum surrounding Husker basketball.
- Penn State — The Nittany Lions really came on strong at the end of the season, exactly what you’d like to see from a team hoping for a bright future. They could be a real force next season, with Patrick Chambers starting to form an identity with this team, Tim Frazier returning, and D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall emerging as legitimate players.
- Northwestern — After all the injuries this season, Northwestern was certainly excited to get this season over with. Now, the Wildcats’ program gets a fresh start under new head coach Chris Collins, a longtime Duke assistant. Collins has drawn praise from basically everyone in the business, and he has arguably NU’s most talented team ever returning to Evanston next season. The program has a lot of hope and optimism surrounding it right now, but it remains to be seen if the program can get over the mental hump.