John Beilein breathed an enormous sigh of relief when his point guard, Trey Burke, announced today he won’t be going to the NBA, and instead will return to Ann Arbor for his sophomore season.
Without Burke (14.8 ppg, 4.8 apg), Beilein was looking at a sweet, street-ready vehicle with all the trimmings … except a point guard. The Wolverines lose one starter (Novak) to graduation, another guy who started 17 games and is out of eligibility (Douglass) and another to transfer (Evan Smotrycz).
How does a team that was bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament lose three of its top six players and still warrant a Top 10 ranking and the label of Final Four contender? Easy: Burke’s back, the recruiting class is loaded, and there’s some decent basketball roots in a few of the players.
My super early guess at the top five in the Big Ten: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State and Minnesota. If I had to pick a deep sleeper, it’d be Iowa. The Hawkeyes return five of their top six players.