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NCAA Basketball Big 10 Basketball

Projecting Big Ten Basketball’s Order of Finish in 2014-15

Projecting Big 10 Basketball's Order of Finish in 2014-15

Big Ten Basketball
Bradley Leeb -- USA TODAY Sports

With two newcomers this season, the Big Ten will be even more crowded than ever, but it will be just as exciting. Here is a look at the projected order of finish for the Big Ten schools entering the new basketball season.

14. Northwestern

Northwestern men's basketball
David Banks - USA TODAY Sports

14. Northwestern

NCAA Basketball: Brown at Northwestern
David Banks - USA TODAY Sports

The addition of two new schools will push this school even further toward the bottom. It managed a 14-19 record a year ago, but the conference is just too strong for Northwestern to overcome its tough schedule.

13. Rutgers

Rutgers mens basketball
Jim Cowsert - USA TODAY Sports

13. Rutgers

Rutgers mens basketball
Jim Cowsert - USA TODAY Sports

New Jersey enters the Big Ten this season, but this program has nowhere near the stature of the women's basketball squad and should be a non-factor in its first Big Ten season. Expect the Scarlet Knights to finish near the bottom.

12. Purdue

Purdue basketball
Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

12. Purdue

Purdue basketball
Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

The Boilermakers have hit a cold streak in the Big Ten, and a last-place finish a year ago doesn't bode well for the future. There should be a bit of improvement, but not much, entering the 2014-15 campaign.

11. Penn State

Penn State basketball
Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

11. Penn State

Penn State basketball
Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

Penn State's 6-12 finish in the Big Ten masked a 16-18 overall record, and the Nittany Lions lost four players (three to graduation and one to transfer). The team should recover a bit and maybe finish around .500 overall.

10. Illinois

Illinois basketball
Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

10. Illinois

Illinois basketball
Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

The Fighting Illini went 20-15 a year ago but fell short in the Big Ten race. Illinois was 7-11 in conference play, but only two graduates and the addition of a few key recruits will push this team up the ladder a bit.

9. Indiana

Indiana basketball
Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

9. Indiana

Indiana basketball
Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

This could be a make-or-break season for Tom Crean. Several Hoosiers departed the program in the offseason, some due to graduation and others due to departure. The team's 17-15 record last season resulted in Indiana famously declining a CBI tournament bid, which made the team look a bit foolish in some people's eyes.

8. Iowa

Iowa basketball
Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

8. Iowa

Iowa basketball
Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

Five players are gone from the team that finished 20-13 overall and lost a First Four game to Tennessee. The Hawkeyes should hold their own in the Big Ten, but they may be pushed down a bit by the arrival of some programs.

7. Maryland

Florida State vs. Maryland
Bob Donnan - USA TODAY Sports

7. Maryland

Florida State vs. Maryland
Bob Donnan - USA TODAY Sports

One of two newcomers to the Big Ten, the Terrapins finished 17-15 overall and lost in the ACC tournament to Florida State. Maryland should find the going a little easier in the Big Ten, but not much.

6. Minnesota

Minnesota basketball
David Banks - USA TODAY Sports

6. Minnesota

Minnesota basketball
David Banks - USA TODAY Sports

Five players graduated from the team that swept to the NIT championship, but second-year coach Richard Pitino put his recruiting skills to work and brought in some key recruits. The Golden Gophers should be just outside the conference race this season, but could play spoiler.

5. Ohio State

Ohio State basketball
Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports

5. Ohio State

Ohio State basketball
Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports

The Buckeyes did very well in the recruiting department, bringing in several blue chips to offset losses from a 25-10 team. Ohio State's first order of business will be to erase the bitter memories of a team that lost its first tournament game to Dayton.

4. Nebraska

Nebraska basketball
Soobum Im - USA TODAY Sports

4. Nebraska

Nebraska basketball
Soobum Im - USA TODAY Sports

A 19-13 record resulted in Nebraska's first trip to the NCAA tournament in 16 years. It was a short stay, but the Cornhuskers are a revitalized program and should be among the Big Ten leaders this season.

3. Michigan

Michigan basketball
Bob Donnan - USA TODAY Sports

3. Michigan

Michigan basketball
Bob Donnan - USA TODAY Sports

A heartbreaking loss to Kentucky in the Elite Eight stopped this team's title dreams cold. Departures of players like Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary are offset by a ton of blue-chip talent coming into this program. Look for the Wolverines to be among the leaders again.

2. Michigan State

Michigan State basketball
Robert Deutsch - USA TODAY Sports

2. Michigan State

Michigan State basketball
Robert Deutsch - USA TODAY Sports

The Spartans dropped an Elite Eight contest against eventual champion Connecticut, and with that game players like Adreian Payne and Keith Appling played their final game at MSU. Never count out a Tom Izzo-coached squad, though.

1. Wisconsin

Wisconsin basketball
Robert Deutsch - USA TODAY Sports

1. Wisconsin

Wisconsin basketball
Robert Deutsch - USA TODAY Sports

Last year's Final Four team will have Frank Kaminsky back, as well as other stars from a squad that competed for the Big Ten title all season long. Wisconsin will be among the favorites once again and could even take the title outright.