Big Ten Key Offseason Questions: Part III

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on April 8th, 2016

We continue to address key questions for each Big Ten team as they head into the offseason. Today we will tackle Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Parts I and II can be found here and here.

Michigan (23-13, 10-8 Big Ten)

John Beilein will need a dominant presence in the paint to compete for the Big Ten title. (Lon Horwedel/

John Beilein will need a dominant presence in the paint to compete for the Big Ten title. (Lon Horwedel/

Will the Wolverines have any presence at all in the paint?

With the unexpected departure of Ricky Doyle, John Beilein suddenly has a dearth of big men on his roster. The Wolverines ranked 12th in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding percentage and badly need a big man who can consistently hold his own on the defensive glass. Michigan returns a lineup of athletic wings with excellent range on their jumpers, but it won’t rise to the top of the Big Ten standings without better rebounding — particularly on the defensive end of the floor.

Iowa (22-11, 12-6 Big Ten)

Can the Hawkeyes fill the huge void left by their four well-traveled seniors?

Jarrod Uthoff, Mike Gesell, Anthony Clemmons and Adam Woodbury were the foundation of a Hawkeyes’ squad that spent over a third of this season ranked among the top 10. Peter Jok will be the team’s primary offensive weapon next season, but the rest of the roster will be very inexperienced. Dom Uhl showed good range in shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc; he is in line for a big increase in minutes and production.

Ohio State (21-14, 11-7 Big Ten)

Marc Loving (USA Today Images)

Marc Loving Needs to Become a More Complete Player Next Season (USA Today Images)

Can Marc Loving round out his offensive arsenal to become more than a purely long-range shooter?

Loving took a whopping 165 shots from beyond the arc this season — making only 34 percent of them — and his athleticism is too good to be wasted around the three-point line. At 6’7″ and 220 pounds, the rising senior can create mismatches in the paint when he chooses to attack the basket. Thad Matta’s team has an excellent shot at returning to the NCAA Tournament a year from now if Loving diversifies his offensive game and emerges as an All-Big Ten player. A supporting cast highlighted by Keita Bates-Diop and JaQuan Lyle will definitely draw defensive attention, helping to free Loving to finish his up-and-down career in Columbus on a high note.

Wisconsin (22-13, 12-6 Big Ten)

Will Nigel Hayes choose to return for his senior season in Madison?

Hayes submitted his name for the upcoming NBA Draft to receive feedback from the scouts, but it would seem unlikely he elects to stay in after a disappointing junior season. His decision by the end of May, however, could make the difference between a #3 seed and a #8 seed for a Wisconsin team that appears once again on the rise. If he rejoins Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig for Greg Gard‘s first full season, Hayes will round out arguably the most talented offensive trio in the Big Ten. Regardless of that decision, the Badgers should remain a factor in a Big Ten that will be filled with a number of retooling perennial powers.

Deepak Jayanti (270 Posts)

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