I've started looking over rosters and who is coming back from previous years in anticipation of the coming season. I'll wait until I get to see the teams play before passing judgment, but here are a few things that I'll be looking for/interested in.
If T-Rank is reasonable, and I don't think it's probably too far off, it's going to be a wild and crazy year. No Big Ten team in the top 8 of T-Rank, but 8 teams between 9-35. Throw in Minnesota, NW and IL who may not be NCAA tourney teams, but should all be competitive, and this should be a season chock full of great games.
Last year was a coming out season for freshman guards, especially point guards. These freshman all got major PT last year:
D'Angelo Russell (NBA now), Bryant McIntosh, Melo Trimble, Nate Mason, Robert Johnson, James Blackmon, Lourawls Nairn, Shep Garner and Kam Williams.
Those are just some of the the Freshman, and there are other young guards like Koenig, Walton Jr, and Zach Irvin who also played big roles. Which of these young guards takes their game to the next level will be interesting.
Last season the Big Ten lacked talented big men outside of Kaminsky. This was probably part of what allowed all those young guards to break out and play so well so soon. What last season was for guards, this season will be for big men. The following players will all have an opportunity to make an immediate impact as freshman:
Diamond Stone- Maryland
Caleb Swanigan- Purdue
Thomas Bryant- Indiana
Deyonta Davis- MSU
Daniel Giddens- OSU
Aaron Falzon- NW
Mike Watkins- PSU
Ethan Happ- UW
Some of these guys won't be ready in year 1, but some of them will. Most of these big men are also on teams with very high expectations. There are going to be some fans that want them to be one and doners and carry their already very good teams to the greatest heights. Doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that one or two of these guys turns out to be great right away. We'll see.