Big Ten lands 4 teams in ESPN's Way-Too-Early Top 25 college basketball rankings
Juwan Howard is expected to have one of the best frontcourts in the country next season, and that’s one reason why Michigan leads the Big Ten in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 college basketball rankings.
Overall, there are 4 teams in the ranking, which came out shortly after Kansas beat North Carolina to win the national championship on Monday in New Orleans.
Jeff Borzello wrote that he factored in projected departures and returnees in relation to the NBA Draft.
Here are the rankings:
“Hunter Dickinson nearly left Ann Arbor for the NBA draft last summer, and he could certainly take the next step this year, but latest projections have him going undrafted — so there’s a chance Juwan Howard gets him for another campaign. If he does return, Michigan will again have one of the biggest frontcourts in the country, with Howard hoping Caleb Houstan can become more consistent on the wing. It will be interesting to see how the Wolverines replace DeVante’ Jones and Eli Brooks; Frankie Collins showed flashes down the stretch, while Dug McDaniel is a tough, quick freshman entering the fold. Kobe Bufkin, a former McDonald’s All American, will also return on the perimeter.”
Illinois’ position appears to be solely based on its big man. “Another key pivot point in the preseason rankings for next season will be whether Kofi Cockburn comes back to Champaign for another go-round. Because he’s not projected to be selected, we have him returning — and that’s essentially the lone reason Illinois is ranked in the Top 25 right now.”
Trayce Jackson-Davis is in a similar position as Cockburn in terms of the NBA Draft.
As for Purdue, “Now Matt Painter has to replace All-American Jaden Ivey and four players who started at least 19 games — along with Trevion Williams, one of the best big men in the sport the past few years. The frontcourt should be OK with Mason Gillis, Caleb Furst and Zach Edey, but the backcourt has major questions.”