The News previews the Big Ten basketball race
In predicted order of finish
Coach: Bo Ryan, 31st season (704-224 overall; 321-121 at Wisconsin)
2013-14: 30-8, 12-6 Big Ten (tied for 2nd)
Notable losses: Ben Brust
Notable newcomers: Ethan Happ
Opener: vs. Northern Kentucky, Friday
Conference opener: vs. Penn State, Dec. 31
Best nonconference game: vs. Duke, Dec. 3
Outlook: In recent years, Ryan has made some good runs with decent talent. This isn't one of those years — he'll have the weight of expectations after making the Final Four last season. He'll have most of those faces back, including preseason All-America Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, Traevon Jackson, Josh Gasser and Nigel Hayes.
Coach: Tim Miles, 20th season (317-251 overall; 34-31 at Nebraska)
2013-14: 19-13, 11-7 (4th)
Notable losses: Deverell Biggs
Notable newcomers: Moses Abraham
Opener: vs. Northern Kentucky, Sunday
Conference opener: vs. Indiana, Dec. 31
Best nonconference game: at Florida State, Dec. 1
Outlook: Last year wasn't a fluke. Miles led the Huskers to the NCAA Tournament after struggling his first year in Lincoln. Terran Petteway led the Big Ten in scoring (18.1 points) and Shavon Shields has been underrated. Walter Pitchford provides some toughness and rebounding. Their home-court advantage at Pinnacle Bank Arena — one loss last year — could be the difference.
Coach: John Beilein, 37th season (701-412 overall; 150-94 at Michigan)
2013-14: 28-9, 15-3 (1st)
Notable losses: Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford
Notable newcomers: Kam Chatman, D.J. Wilson, Ricky Doyle
Opener: vs. Hillsdale, Saturday
Conference opener: vs. Illinois, Dec. 30
Best nonconference game: at Arizona, Dec. 13
Outlook: The Wolverines have to replace three NBA picks, and most of the burden falls on Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin. With little frontcourt experience, they'll have big questions on defense and rebounding. With six freshmen, there will be growing pains, but Beilein does some of his best work in this area.
Coach: Tom Izzo, 20th season (468-187 overall)
2013-14: 29-9, 12-6 (tied for 2nd)
Notable losses: Gary Harris, Adreian Payne, Keith Appling
Notable newcomers: Bryn Forbes, Lourawls Nairn Jr., Marvin Clark, Javon Bess
Opener: at Navy, Friday
Conference opener: vs. Maryland, Dec. 30
Best nonconference game: vs. Duke, Tuesday (Indianapolis)
Outlook: The Spartans lost three of the top players in the Big Ten, two that were first-round NBA picks. Replacing that sort of offensive firepower will be difficult, but Izzo is counting on Branden Dawson to play the way he did last season in leading the Spartans to the Elite Eight. Plenty also will be expected of Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine.
Coach: Thad Matta, 11th season (377-114 overall, 275-83 at Ohio State)
2013-14: 25-10, 10-8 (5th)
Notable losses: Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith Jr., LaQuinton Ross
Notable newcomers: Anthony Lee, D'Angelo Russell, Jae'Sean Tate, Keita Bates-Diop
Opener: vs. Massachusetts-Lowell, Friday
Conference opener: vs. Iowa, Dec. 30
Best nonconference game: vs. North Carolina, Dec. 20 (Chicago)
Outlook: Ohio State is not only coming off a disappointing loss to Dayton in the NCAA Tournament, it must face life without Aaron Craft. As tough as that might be, Shannon Scott should be ready to step in and run the offense while freshman D'Angelo Russell likely will fill the scoring void. Transfer Anthony Lee will be valuable in the post.
Coach: Fran McCaffery, 19th season (325-240; 74-63 at Iowa)
2013-14: 20-13, 9-9 (6th)
Notable losses: Roy Devyn Marble, Melsahn Basabe
Notable newcomers: Trey Dickerson
Opener: vs. Hampton, Friday
Conference opener: at Ohio State, Dec. 30
Best nonconference game: at North Carolina, Dec. 3
Outlook: The Hawkeyes won't be quite as potent on offense without Marble, their leading scorer. But McCaffery still has plenty of talent left in Aaron White, Mike Gesell and Gabriel Olaseni. Big man Adam Woodbury has a chance to live up to the flashes of potential he's shown early in his career. They could contend if he's able to develop quickly.
Coach: Richard Pitino, 3rd season (41-27 overall, 23-13 at Minnesota)
2013-14: 23-13, 8-10 (7th)
Notable losses: Austin Hollins
Notable newcomers: Carlos Morris
Opener: vs. Louisville, Friday (Puerto Rico)
Conference opener: at Purdue, Dec. 31
Best nonconference game: vs. Louisville, today (Puerto Rico)
Outlook: Losing Hollins is a blow to the offense, but with big man Elliott Eliason and guards DeAndre Mathieu and Andre Hollins, they could be in the thick of the conference race. They've had more talented teams, but as Pitino continues to make an imprint on the program, the results will start to show with more postseason trips.
Coach: John Groce, 7th season (128-84 overall, 43-28 at Illinois)
2013-14: 20-15, 7-11 (tied for 8th)
Notable losses: Tracy Abrams (injury)
Notable newcomers: Ahmad Starks, Aaron Cosby, Leron Black
Opener: vs. Georgia Southern, Friday
Conference opener: at Michigan, Dec. 30
Best nonconference game: vs. Oregon, Dec. 13
Outlook: The Illini got a jolt losing Abrams (torn ACL), but Groce has plenty of firepower in Rayvonte Rice, Kendrick Nunn and Nnanna Egwu. They seemed a little disjointed at times last year, but Rice is a good lead guard, and if Cosby and Starks fill the void left by Abrams, the Illini might not miss a beat.
Coach: Mark Turgeon, 4th season (297-189 overall, 47-30 at Maryland)
2013-14: 17-15, 9-9 Atlantic Coast (tied for 7th)
Notable losses: Seth Allen, Nick Faust, Roddy Peters, Charles Mitchell, Shaquille Cleare
Notable newcomers: Richaud Pack, Melo Trimble, Dion Wiley, Jared Nickens
Opener: vs. Wagner, Friday
Conference opener: at Michigan State, Dec. 30
Best nonconference game: at Oklahoma State, Dec. 21
Outlook: Despite several transfers from last season, the Terrapins look like an NCAA Tournament team on paper. Trimble is a five-star recruit, while leading scorer Dez Wells is back after averaging nearly 15 points and 4.3 rebounds. Jake Layman and Evan Smotrycz should provide scoring while Pack could be the difference in ending Maryland's NCAA Tournament drought (four seasons).
Coach: Tom Crean, 7th season (291-194 overall, 101-98 at Indiana)
2013-14: 17-15, 7-11 (tied for 8th)
Notable losses: Noah Vonleh, Will Sheehey
Notable newcomers: James Blackmon Jr., Nick Zeisloft, Robert Johnson, Max Hoetzel
Opener: vs. Mississippi Valley State, Friday
Conference opener: at Nebraska, Dec. 31
Best nonconference game: vs. Louisville, Dec. 9 (New York)
Outlook: The tumultuous offseason will spill into at least the beginning of the regular season as sophomores Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams are suspended two games apiece for failing drug tests. A four-game suspension also was handed to freshman Emmitt Holt for his role in a car accident that left Devin Davis hospitalized with a head injury and no timetable for his return. On the court, Yogi Ferrell will be counted on for leadership and scoring while Blackmon and Johnson will be expected to live up to their billing.
Coach: Pat Chambers, 4th season (80-86 overall, 38-58 at Penn State)
2013-14: 16-18, 6-12 (tied for 10th)
Notable losses: Tim Frazier
Notable newcomers: Devin Foster, Shep Garner, John Johnson
Opener: vs. Morgan State, Friday
Conference opener: at Wisconsin, Dec. 31
Best nonconference game: vs. Virginia Tech, Dec. 6
Outlook: With Frazier gone, D.J. Newbill (17.8 points) will be asked to not only continue to score, but take over the point position. Foster and Garner likely will play the point as well. The Nittany Lions also will rely on experience, especially in the frontcourt. Ross Travis (6-7), Donovon Jack (6-9) and Brandon Taylor (6-6) started last season.
Coach: Matt Painter, 10th season (216-117 overall, 191-112 at Purdue)
2013-14: 15-17, 5-13 (12th)
Notable losses: Terone Johnson, Ronnie Johnson
Notable newcomers: P.J. Thompson, Isaac Haas, Vince Edwards, Jacquil Taylor, Dakota Mathias
Opener: vs. Samford, Friday
Conference opener: vs. Minnesota, Dec. 31
Best nonconference game: vs. Kansas State, Nov. 24 (Lahaina, Hawaii)
Outlook: The Boilermakers lost their top scorer and assist producer (Terone Johnson). The offense likely will focus on A.J. Hammons, who averaged 10.8 points and 7.4 rebounds last season. He'll need help, though, and sophomore Kendall Stephens should jump into a bigger role after averaging eight points. Rapheal Davis emerged late last season and should step in for Ronnie Johnson.
Coach: Chris Collins, 2nd season (14-19 overal)
2013-14: 14-19, 6-12 (tied for 10th)
Notable losses: Drew Crawford
Notable newcomers: Vic Law
Opener: vs. Houston Baptist, today
Conference opener: at Rutgers, Dec. 30
Best nonconference game: at Butler, Dec. 6
Outlook: Collins will have a crop of new freshmen who will take their lumps, but could pay dividends down the road. Tre Demps and JerShon Cobb will be a decent backcourt, and Law could contribute immediately.
Coach: Eddie Jordan, 2nd season (12-21 overall)
2013-14: 12-21, 5-13 American Athletic Conference (7th)
Notable losses: J.J. Moore, Wally Judge
Notable newcomers: D.J. Foreman, Shaquille Doorson, Bishop Daniels
Opener: vs. George Washington, Sunday
Conference opener: vs. Northwestern, Dec. 30
Best nonconference game: at Clemson, Dec. 1
Outlook: The Scarlet Knight will have a hard time staying out of the basement of their new conference after winning just five times in their only season in the AAC. Leading scorers Myles Mack (14.9 points, 4.3 assists) and Kadeem Jack (14.3 points, 6.8 rebounds) are back, but there isn't much after that — and Jack's status is in question (thumb).