You shouldn’t have to read this until next weekend. Or the week after that.

But that’s been the 2020s in the Big Ten so far, which means we’re already talking about next year instead of the Final Four.

Let’s take an optimistic view looking ahead to 2024, though. Early exits mean early head starts on getting better next year!

Did I do a good job selling it?

Things can change rapidly given who decides to enter and commit from the transfer portal, but as of this final weekend before the Final Four, this is what each Big Ten team needs to find this offseason.

Illinois: Shooters of every stripe

It’s a good thing Brad Underwood added transfers Terrence Shannon Jr. and Matthew Mayer last offseason. If everyone else on the roster played without those 2, there would be a brand-new brick building somewhere on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

With the possible exception of Luke Goode, who only played the final 10 games, no one else on the team can shoot. The Illini are 336th nationally in 3-point shooting and 309th in free throw shooting.

Underwood will likely need to dip back into the portal to replace Shannon and Mayer.

Indiana: Transfer portal infusion

Mike Woodson has a pair of freshman guards coming in, but that’s not going to be enough to recoup Indiana’s likely roster turnover.

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Race Thompson and Miller Kopp are gone. It’s only a matter of time before Jordan Hood-Schifino declares for the NBA Draft. Xavier Johnson, at least, will be back so long as the NCAA approves an injury hardship waiver.

But there’s a lot of production leaving Bloomington. And there’s no point wasting a 5th-year senior point guard without surrounding him with some win-now veterans. Woodson should hit the portal hard this offseason.

Iowa: A star to replace the star who replaced the star who replaced the star

The Hawkeyes have done a tremendous torch relay the past 3 years, with Luka Garza passing the baton to Keegan Murray, who then passed it to twin brother Kris.

With Kris likely to join Keegan in the NBA next year, and no Murray triplet in sight, the question is who will become Iowa’s next offensive star. This year’s Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, Payton Sandfort, is the most likely candidate.

But it’s a big jump from Sixth Man to The Man. Sandfort needs to dedicate this offseason to that transition.

Sports Betting in Big Ten Country

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Maryland: Point guard

Jahmir Young was an all-Big Ten wonder in his first and only season as a Terp, giving Kevin Willard some local juice that Mark Turgeon whiffed on in recruiting. Young withdrew his name from the Draft last year when he decided to transfer home to Maryland from Charlotte, but this season showed he should stay in the mix this year.

Backup Jahari Long can defend, but Willard needs to find someone to run the offense.

Michigan: Leadership

If Hunter Dickinson continues down the Drew Timme/Tommy Callahan “Never Graduate” route, he’ll need to do a better job leading a team that’s likely to be talented but young again next season.

This season, Michigan had 5 freshmen and a sophomore in Kobe Bufkin who saw a huge jump in playing time. The Wolverines didn’t jell until it was too late to save themselves.

Bufkin and Jett Howard are going to be pros next year. It’s on Dickinson to get this team back to the NCAA Tournament should he elect to come back.

Michigan State: Inside men

Statistically, this was the worst offensive rebounding team Tom Izzo has ever coached. The Spartans also blocked their lowest percentage of shots on defense since 2005.

Though Izzo has the right philosophy in building backcourt-first, it would help if there wasn’t a total void in the paint.

The signing of Xavier Booker, a 5-star center out of Indianapolis, will probably address the issue. From Zach Randolph to Branden Dawson to Jaren Jackson, Izzo has a pretty good track record when fortifying his frontcourt from the Indiana high school ranks.

Minnesota: Guards, guards, guards

The Gophers had one of the most horrendous backcourts in the country. That’s got to change. Hosting next year’s Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis as the 14th seed won’t cut it.

Minnesota was 282nd nationally in turnovers, 345th in creating turnovers, 261st in 3-point shooting, and dead last in free-throw shooting.

You’re on scholarship in the Big Ten, dudes. You cannot be 363rd nationally in free-throw shooting. Be better.

Nebraska: Keisei, come back

Honestly, it doesn’t even matter if the Cornhuskers are any good next year. All that matters is whether the Cornhuskers are fun. And if Keisei Tominaga exercises his 5th year of eligibility, the Huskers will have the most fun player in the Big Ten on their roster. That’s never happened before.

Tominaga walked on senior day, and will obviously have major offers to go home to play in the Japanese League.

Nebraska — well, the 3rd party representing Nebraska, anyway — will try to find a loophole that permits Tominaga to profit off his name, image and likeness while on a student visa from another country. Fortunately, precedent has already been established with some other foreign-resident athletes.

Northwestern: The next core

This isn’t going to happen every year. Sorry. Especially at a school where the transfer portal is an academic challenge. But maybe the Wildcats have another NCAA Tournament run in them 2-3 years from now.

Chris Collins needs to find his next core to develop into the next Boo Buie, Chase Audige and Robbie Beran.

Ohio State: Practice

Unfortunately, the Buckeyes went on a foreign tour last summer, and you’re only permitted 1 of those every 4 years. But as Ohio State’s run in the Big Ten Tournament demonstrated, the Buckeyes have some promising freshman pieces that are on the cusp of becoming something special. They just need to keep practicing together.

Even if Brice Sensabaugh goes pro, Ohio State has the nucleus in place to potentially do something next season. It just needs continued refining.

Penn State: A coach

As of now, the Nittany Lions have no identity, because they have no coach.

Our suggestion? Florida Atlantic coach Dusty May.

Purdue: Shooters

The Boilermakers were 278th nationally in 3-point shooting, and it was their undoing in an unseemly First Round defeat to 16th-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson.

If that doesn’t improve, it’s irrelevant whether or not Zach Edey elects to come back for another year.

Rutgers: Scorers

So, turns out Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker were definitely historically great players in Rutgers history.

The Scarlet Knights were among the nation’s top defensive teams, but their struggles scoring likely proved a fatal blow in their NCAA Tournament snub. Rutgers fell from 181st in effective field goal percentage last year to 299th this season.

Cliff Omoruyi is a great finisher of dunks, but the Knights need to find shot creators.

Wisconsin: You guessed it …

Frank Stallone.

Kidding. It’s the same thing you see eluding most other Big Ten teams these days: shooters.

Wisconsin, though it still might win the NIT, is supremely offensively challenged. The Badgers are 288th in effective field goal percentage, 319th in 2-point shooting percentage, 278th in free-throw percentage, and 312th in percentage of shots blocked.

The Badgers are 132nd in adjusted offensive efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy, which makes this Wisconsin’s least-efficient offensive season since 1998.