The 2021-22 college basketball season officially tips off in just over a week on November 9. While last year’s season was truncated with COVID-19, fans are expected to pack arenas once again and bring college basketball to life.
College basketball saw tons of change this offseason, especially in the Big Ten Conference. But, after having nine teams make the NCAA Tournament last season, the Big Ten is expected to be just as deep in the 2021-22 campaign.
Here’s what to expect from the 14 teams in the conference this season.
Michigan Wolverines (Preseason AP No. 6)
2020-21 record: 23-5 (14-3 Big Ten)
Conference finish: First
2021 NCAA Tournament seed: 1 (Elite Eight)
Head coach: Juwan Howard (Third season)
Notable returners: C Hunter Dickinson, G Eli Brooks, F Brandon Johns Jr.
Notable newcomers: G DeVante’ Jones (Coastal Carolina), G/F Caleb Houstan (five-star), F Moussa Diabate (five-star), G Frankie Collins (four-star), G Kobe Bufkin (four-star), Isaiah Barnes (four-star)
Notable departures: G Franz Wagner (NBA, Orlando Magic), F Isaiah Livers (NBA, Detroit Pistons), G Mike Smith (NBA), G Chaundee Brown (NBA), C Austin Davis (Polish Basketball League)
Michigan had a massive amount of production leave Ann Arbor to the professional ranks after its Big Ten regular season championship and Elite Eight trip last season. The Wolverines arguably lost the most production of any team in the conference.
But, leave it to 2020-21 Big Ten Coach of the Year Juwan Howard to bring in the No. 2 recruiting class in the country and the best in the Big Ten. With the additions of two five-star prospects in Caleb Houstan (No. 10 overall) and Moussa Diabate (No. 16 overall), accompanied with three four-star recruits in Kobe Bufkin (No. 45 overall), Frankie Collins (No. 46 overall) and Isaiah Barnes (No. 115 overall), the Wolverines are not rebuilding and are rather reloading.
Michigan is going to be loaded with young talent this season. Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year Hunter Dickinson tested the NBA Draft waters this offseason but is returning to Ann Arbor with considerable expectations. Guard Eli Brooks, who has played in 128 games in four years, announced this offseason that he would use his extra year of eligibility with the Wolverines. Brooks and forward Brandon Johns Jr. will be the veteran presences for Michigan this season and Dickinson will likely have to lead like a veteran to help the young players grow.
Dickinson was named a unanimous Preseason All-Big Ten Team selection and Houstan was also a member of that list. Michigan has the talent and enough experience to make another run towards the conference championship and in the NCAA Tournament this season.
Purdue Boilermakers (Preseason AP No. 7)
2020-21 record: 18-10 (13-6 Big Ten)
Conference finish: Fourth
2021 NCAA Tournament seed: 4 (First Round)
Head coach: Matt Painter (17th season)
Notable returners: G Jaden Ivey, F Trevion Williams, G Eric Hunter Jr., C Zach Edey, G Sasha Stefanovic, G Brandon Newman, F Mason Gillis, G Isaiah Thompson
Notable newcomers: F Trey Kaufman (four-star), F Caleb Furst (four-star)
Notable departures: G Aaron Wheeler (St. John’s)
Each of the top eight scorers from last year’s Boilermakers team has returned for 2021-22, headlined by senior forward Trevion Williams and sophomore guard Jaden Ivey, who is one of college basketball’s biggest breakout candidates. Ivey, who was selected to the All-Big Ten Freshman team last year, was unanimously selected to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team and Williams also made the list. Williams, who was a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree last year, is returning as one of the most experienced big men in the Big Ten, after testing the NBA Draft waters.
Head coach Matt Painter has also brought in two four-star recruits for a top-40 recruiting class in the nation. With just two top-65 recruits coming in, experience is clearly going to be the key for Purdue to get over the hump. Seven-foot-four center Zach Edey, another All-Big Ten Freshman Team honoree from last year, is back for his sophomore year and will likely play a major role in the paint this season.
The Boilermakers have gotten past the first weekend in three of the last four NCAA Tournaments. With all of the experience that it is bringing back, Purdue is a threat for the Final Four this season.
Illinois Fighting Illini (Preseason AP No. 11)
2020-21 record: 24-7 (16-4 Big Ten)
Conference finish: Second (Big Ten Tournament Champions)
2021 NCAA Tournament seed: 1 (Round of 32)
Head coach: Brad Underwood (Fifth season)
Notable returners: C Kofi Cockburn, G Trent Frazier, G Da’Monte Williams, G Andre Curbelo
Notable newcomers: F Omar Payne (Florida), G Alfonso Plummer (Utah), F Luke Goode (four-star)
Notable departures: G Ayo Dosunmu (NBA, Chicago Bulls), F Giorgi Bezhanishvili (NBA, Denver Nuggets), G Adam Miller (LSU)
Perhaps no other team in the country had its plans changed in the offseason during the NBA Draft process as much as Illinois. Center Kofi Cockburn surprisingly withdrew from the NBA Draft and even after spending time in the transfer portal and narrowing his choices down to Kentucky, Florida State and Illinois, he elected to return to Champaign for his third season. Cockburn returns as one of the most ferocious and dominant big men in the entire country and was named the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, along with a Preseason AP All-American.
Illinois possesses one of the best inside-out duos in the conference with Cockburn and sophomore guard Andre Curbelo. The Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year from a year ago will move into a starting role for head coach Brad Underwood this year and he is poised for one of the biggest jumps in the sport. Curbelo landed on the Preseason All-Big Ten Team.
Underwood returns a good chunk of Illinois’ talent from last season, including guard Trent Frazier for his fifth season. Though the departure of unanimous First Team All-Big Ten guard Ayo Dosunmu to his hometown Chicago Bulls in the NBA could be the most impactful departure in the conference. Curbelo is expected to take a massive second-year jump in place of Dosunmu and Frazier will still have to be the veteran leader.
Coming off a Big Ten Tournament Championship and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Illinois has the same aspirations heading into the 2021-22 season. It will be one of the most dynamic teams in the Big Ten.
Ohio State Buckeyes (Preseason AP No. 17)
2020-21 record: 21-10 (12-8 Big Ten)
Conference finish: Fifth
2021 NCAA Tournament seed: 2 (First Round)
Head coach: Chris Holtmann (Fifth season)
Notable returners: F E.J. Lidell, F Kyle Young, F Justice Sueing, F Justin Aherns, F Zed Key, F Seth Towns, G Eugene Brown III, G Meechie Johnson Jr.
Notable newcomers: C Joey Brunk (Indiana), G Jamari Wheeler (Penn State), G Malaki Barnham (four-star)
Notable departures: G Duane Washington Jr. (NBA, Indiana Pacers), G C.J. Walker (German ProA)
Last season, Ohio State had 10 players appear in at least 25 games and just three are not returning to Columbus this season.
Junior forward E.J. Lidell declared for the NBA Draft after last season when he was an All-Big Ten First Team selection, but he withdrew from the process and is returning to Ohio State for his third year. Liddell was a unanimous selection to this season’s Preseason All-Big Ten Team. In addition to Lidell, Kyle Young, Justice Sueing and Justin Aherns are all returning players who started in over half of their appearances last season.
With the departures of Duane Washington Jr. and C.J. Walker, head coach Chris Holtmann brought in two major newcomers through the transfer portal from other Big Ten schools. Center Joey Brunk missed all of last season at Indiana but will play his sixth year of eligibility at Ohio State, his third college (Butler and Indiana). Brunk averaged almost seven points and over five boards per game in his last full season in 2019-20 for the Hoosiers.
Additionally, guard Jamari Wheeler graduated and transferred from Penn State. He was an All-Big Ten Defensive Team selection in each of the last two seasons and will play a big role in the backcourt for Holtmann’s squad.
Ohio State was a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season but was upset by No. 15 seed Oral Roberts in the First Round. The Buckeyes have the experience and depth, but most importantly the talent, to make a run in the tournament this year.
Maryland Terrapins (Preseason AP No. 21)
2020-21 record: 17-14 (9-11 Big Ten)
Conference finish: T-Eighth
2021 NCAA Tournament seed: 10 (Round of 32)
Head coach: Mark Turgeon (11th season)
Notable returners: G Eric Ayala, F Donta Scott, G/F Hakim Hart
Notable newcomers: G Fatts Russell (Rhode Island), C Qudus Wahab (Georgetown), G Ian Martinez (Utah), G Xavier Green (Old Dominion), F Pavlo Dziuba (Arizona State), F Julian Reese (four-star), G Ike Cornish (four-star)
Notable departures: G Aaron Wiggins (NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder), G Darryl Morsell (Marqutte), F Jairus Hamilton (Western Kentucky), F Galin Smith, G Aquan Smart (Florida International)
After overachieving in the 2020-21 season, Maryland welcomes several newcomers that have helped put the program in the Preseason AP Top 25 for the 22nd time in program history. The Terps went on a four-game winning streak toward the end of last season and knocked off Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament, which cemented them into the NCAA Tournament field. Head coach Mark Turgeon signed a three-year contract extension in April.
Turgeon used the transfer portal to the Terps’ benefit and landed veteran graduate transfer point guard Fatts Russell from Rhode Island and center Qudus Wahab from Georgetown. Russell left Rhode Island as the program’s all-time steals leader (213) and finished 13th on the all-time scoring list. Wahab was a 2021 Big East All-Tournament Team selection for the champion Georgetown Hoyas and landed on the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Watch List.
With the addition of Russell and Wahab, Maryland will be a lot more traditional and talented this season. Senior guard Eric Ayala, a Preseason All-Big Ten selection, returns after testing the NBA Draft process as one of the most experienced guards in the country. Ayala led the team in scoring last season with over 15 points per game and averaged over 19 points and six boards in the postseason. Ayala is the heart and soul of the Terrapins and will use Russell, Wahab, Hakim Hart and Donta Scott as major complements to his game.
The next step for this program is going deeper into the NCAA Tournament than the Terps have in recent years. Maryland has not reached the Sweet 16 since 2016. It is looking to change that this season.
Michigan State Spartans (Preseason AP Receiving Votes)
2020-21 record: 15-13 (9-11 Big Ten)
Conference finish: T-Eighth
2021 NCAA Tournament seed: 11 (First Four)
Head coach: Tom Izzo (26th season)
Notable returners: F Joey Hauser, F Malik Hall, F Marcus Bingham Jr., F Gabe Brown, F Julius Marble, G A.J. Hoggard
Notable newcomers: G Tyson Walker (Northeastern), G Max Christie (five-star), G Jaden Akins (four-star), G Pierre Brooks (four-star)
Notable departures: F Aaron Henry (NBA, Philadelphia 76ers), G Joshua Langford, G Rocket Watts (Mississippi State), G Foster Loyer (Davidson), F Thomas Kithier (Valparaiso)
Michigan State managed to make its 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament last season, despite falling to Maryland in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Without a true point guard and issues on the court that plagued the Spartans all season, head coach Tom Izzo’s team got hot late in the season, like it usually does, and it earned a spot in the First Four where it fell to UCLA, an eventual Final Four team.
With veteran guard Joshua Langford graduating and guard Rocket Watts transferring to Mississippi State, Izzo turned to the transfer portal to bring in a true point guard. Northeastern transfer Tyson Walker chose to play in East Lansing over other viable options. The CAA Defensive Player of the Year from a year ago will start at the point guard position for Michigan State this season.
Izzo also landed five-star recruit Max Christie, the No. 1 shooting guard and No. 19 overall player in the 2021 recruiting class.
The question for Michigan State is if anyone will separate themselves as a star in the Big Ten to help carry the Spartans. Forwards Malik Hall, Marcus Bingham Jr., Gabe Brown and Julius Marble are all returning and if one or more of them take a leap as an elite Big Ten player this season, Michigan State will be in a position to contend at the top of the Big Ten.
Indiana Hoosiers (Preseason AP Receiving Votes)
2020-21 record: 12-15 (7-12 Big Ten)
Conference finish: T-10th
Head coach: Mike Woodson (First season)
Notable returners: F/C Trayce Jackson-Davis, F Race Thompson, G Rob Phinisee, G Khristian Lander
Notable newcomers: F Miller Kopp (Northwestern), G Xavier Johnson (Pittsburgh), C Michael Durr (South Florida), G Tamar Bates (four-star), C Logan Duncomb (four-star)
Notable departures: G Aljami Durham (Providence), G Armaan Franklin (Virginia), C Joey Brunk (Ohio State)
After failing to make the NCAA Tournament last season, Indiana fired head coach Archie Miller and hired former Indiana basketball star Mike Woodson. Woodson, who comes with NBA coaching experience, convinced several players to stay in Bloomington after the coaching change, although three main pieces of the Hoosiers’ roster last season have transferred.
Woodson built around junior forward/center Trayce Jackson-Davis. Jackson-Davis was a First Team All-Big Ten selection last year and was unanimously named to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team this year, along with earning Preseason AP All-American honors.
Woodson hired an experienced staff of assistant coaches in Dana Fife and Yasir Rosemond, who helped land transfers Miller Kopp from Northwestern and Xavier Johnson from Pittsburgh. Kopp, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged over 11 points per game at Northwestern last season and provides good length and scoring ability to the Hoosiers this season. Indiana is also bringing in two four-star prospects, one being Tamar Bates who has a chance to get important minutes this year.
Former five-star recruit and No. 6 overall point guard Khristian Lander is returning for his sophomore season. He had a very minor role last season, but if he makes a big jump the Hoosiers would be in a position to compete and win. This talent that the Hoosiers have in 2021-22 already looks a lot better than it did last season.
Middle of the Pack
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Preseason AP Receiving Votes)
2020-21 record: 16-12 (10-10 Big Ten)
Conference finish: T-Sixth
2021 NCAA Tournament seed: 10 (Round of 32)
Head coach: Steve Pikiell (Sixth season)
Notable returners: G/F Ron Harper Jr., G Geo Baker, G Paul Mulcahy, C Cliff Omoruyi, G Caleb McConnell
Notable newcomers: F Aundre Hyatt (LSU), G Jalen Miller (3-star)
Notable departures: C Myles Johnson (UCLA), G Jacob Young (Oregon), G Montez Mathis (St. John’s)
Rutgers not only made the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 1991, but it picked up its first win in the tournament since 1983, which was a massive step for head coach Steve Pikiell’s program.
The Scarlet Knights are returning just two of their top five scorers from last season in 2021-22 Preseason All-Big Ten guard/forward Ron Harper Jr. and 2020-21 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention Geo Baker. Three of last year’s starters transferred out of the program this offseason in point guard Jacob Young, center Myles Johnson and guard Montez Mathis. Harper and Baker will be heavily relied on this upcoming season and will likely carry most of the production.
If Rutgers wants to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season, it is going to need production from players other than Harper and Baker. Junior guard Paul Mulcahy, senior guard Caleb McConnell and sophomore center Cliff Omoruyi — who all played in at least 20 games last season — will need to take a big jump this season.
2020-21 record: 22-9 (14-6 Big Ten)
Conference finish: Third
2021 NCAA Tournament seed: 2 (Round of 32)
Head coach: Fran McCaffery (12th season)
Notable returners: G Jordan Bohannon, G Connor McCaffery, F Keegan Murray, F Patrick McCaffery, G Joe Toussaint
Notable newcomers: F Filip Rebrača (North Dakota), F Payton Sandfort (three-star), C Riley Mulvey (three-star)
Notable departures: C Luka Garza (NBA, Detroit Pistons), G Joe Wieskamp (NBA, San Antonio Spurs), G CJ Fredrick (Kentucky), F Jack Nunge (Xavier)
Iowa, which was a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season, lost center Luka Garza who was the 2021 Naismith Player of the Year and a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year. Garza was picked in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. Without Garza, Iowa is going to change completely. In addition to Garza, sharpshooter Joe Wieskamp was drafted in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs meaning that Iowa lost one of its best scorers and shooters, too.
Starting guard C.J. Fredrick transferred to Kentucky and forward Jack Nunge transferred to Xavier, but on a positive note for the Hawkeyes, guard Jordan Bohannon is returning for his sixth season. Bohannon holds the Iowa record for career three-pointers made (364), games played (143), assists (639), and free throw percentage (.887). His 364 three-pointers rank the second-most in Big Ten history.
The Hawkeyes will lean on Bohannon, sophomore forward Keegan Murray who was a Preseason All-Big Ten selection and made the All-Big Ten Freshman Team last season, guard Connor McCaffery, guard Joe Toussaint and forward Patrick McCaffery. The recruiting class and transfer portal did not help McCaffery and his staff as much as they could have, which is why the returning players will be important this season.
2020-21 record: 18-13 (10-10 Big Ten)
Conference finish: T-Sixth
2021 NCAA Tournament seed: 9 (Round of 32)
Head coach: Greg Gard (Seventh season)
Notable returners: G Brad Davison, F Tyler Wahl, G Johnny Davis, G Jordan Davis
Notable newcomers: C Chris Vogt (Cincinnati), G Isaac Lindsey (UNLV), G Jahcobi Neath (Wake Forest), G Chucky Hepburn (three-star), F Markus Ilver (three-star), F Matthew Mors (three-star), F Chris Hodges (three-star)
Notable departures: F Micah Potter (NBA, Miami Heat), G D’Mitrik Trice (LNB Pro A), F Aleem Ford (Puerto Rico), F Nate Reuvers (Croatia)
Wisconsin was one of the oldest teams in the nation last season and snuck into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 9 seed. Four starters, and four of the top five scorers from last season, departed Madison to play in the NBA or professionally overseas, but guard Brad Davison is returning for his fifth season under head coach Greg Gard.
Junior forward Tyler Wahl played in every game last season and will have to be just as durable and even more productive this season if Wisconsin wants to get back to the tournament. Sophomore guard Johnny Davis, who played in all 31 games last year, averaged seven points per game and will look to take a huge leap forward in his second season. He is one of the bright young stars in the Big Ten and he and Wahl will be major factors in the success that the Badgers have this season.
Wisconsin is far less experienced than it was a season ago, but with the proper production, it has the chance to reach the NCAA Tournament again.
2020-21 record: 7-20 (3-16 Big Ten)
Conference finish: 14th
Head coach: Fred Hoiberg (Third season)
Notable returners: G Trey McGowens, F Lat Mayen, F Derrick Walker
Notable newcomers: G Alonzo Verge Jr. (Arizona State), G Keon Edwards (DePaul), G C.J. Wilcher (Xavier), G Bryce McGowens (five-star), C Wilhelm Breidenbach (four-star), G Quaran McPherson (three-star), F Oleg Kojenets (three-star), G Keisei Tominaga (three-star)
Notable departures: G Dalano Banton (NBA, Toronto Raptors), G Teddy Allen (New Mexico State), F Thorir Thorbjarnarson (Iceland)
Nebraska might still be a little far from being a contender in the Big Ten, but it certainly will be better than its last-place finish from a season ago. Several players are returning to the Cornhuskers with just two main pieces departing in 6-foot-10 guard Dalano Banton and guard Teddy Allen.
Guard Trey McGowens returns and will help welcome his brother and five-star recruit Bryce McGowens. Bryce was ranked the No. 4 shooting guard and the No. 28 overall player in the 2021 class. He led the Cornhuskers in scoring in the team’s private scrimmage last week and will have a gigantic role as a true freshman.
Head coach Fred Hoiberg and his staff landed a five-star, a four-star and a few three-star recruits and they utilized the transfer portal to his program’s advantage.
Arizona State transfer Alonzo Verge Jr. is a 6-foot-3 senior who was the 2019-20 Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year and averaged double figures in points in his two seasons in Tempe. He is using his final year of eligibility in the Big Ten with Nebraska and will likely hold a starting role.
2020-21 record: 9-15 (6-13 Big Ten)
Conference finish: 12th
Head coach: Chris Collins (Ninth season)
Notable returners: G Boo Buie, F Pete Nance, G Chase Audige, G Ryan Greer, C Ryan Young, F Robbie Beran
Notable newcomers: G Casey Simmons (four-star), G Julian Roper II (four-star), G Brooks Barnhizer (three-star)
Notable departures: F Miller Kopp (Indiana)
Head coach Chris Collins returns for his ninth season as the leader of Northwestern and with him, several players are returning from last year’s squad.
The only major key that has departed from last season was Kopp, who transferred to Big Ten foe Indiana. Junior point guard Boo Buie, redshirt junior guard Chase Audige and senior forward Pete Nance headline a group of returning players. Audige was the team’s leading scorer in 2020-21 with over 12 points per game.
Collins landed a four-star in guard Casey Simmons, the No. 26 shooting guard in the country. The three upperclassmen in the backcourt will mentor Simmons, as Northwestern will look to continue its stride towards the middle of the conference and potentially an NCAA Tournament bid. It is not out of the question based on how many close losses Northwestern has had over the last few seasons. If they win more of the close games this season, the Wildcats have a chance to get a bid into the tournament.
Penn State Nittany Lions
2020-21 record: 11-14 (7-12 Big Ten)
Conference finish: 11th
Head coach: Micah Shrewsberry (First season)
Notable returners: G Myles Dread, F Seth Lundy, G Sam Sessoms, F John Harrar
Notable newcomers: F Greg Lee (Western Michigan), G Jalen Pickett (Siena), G Jaheam Cornwall (Gardner-Webb)
Notable departures: G Jamari Wheeler (Ohio State), G Myreon Jones (Florida), G Izaiah Brockington (Iowa State)
Head coach Micah Shrewsberry enters his first year as the head coach at Penn State after leading Purdue’s offense on head coach Matt Painter’s staff. Shrewsberry takes the reins from Pat Chambers. Some of Chambers’ players are returning and Shrewsberry also added a few veteran transfers.
Penn State will be an experienced team this season. Six of its potential top seven players in its rotation this season will be playing in either their fourth or fifth season of college basketball. The one exception is junior Seth Lundy, who is returning after averaging the third-most points on the team last season (10.1).
The Nittany Lions will likely be sitting towards the bottom of the Big Ten standings, but it’ll look to transfer point guard Jalen Pickett to help steer Shrewsberry’s style of offense. Pickett comes from Siena and will be placed in a starting role immediately with the departures of three guards in Jamari Wheeler, Myreon Jones and Izaiah Brockington.
Also, if Lundy can make a big jump this season then it is possible the Nittany Lions surprise some people. Lundy was last year’s leading scorer among returning players. Forward John Harrar and guard Sam Sessoms will also be major factors in the success that a somewhat rebuilding Penn State squad has in Shrewsberry’s first season.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
2020-21 record: 14-15 (6-14 Big Ten)
Conference finish: 13th
Head coach: Ben Johnson (First season)
Notable returners: F Eric Curry, F Isaiah Ihnen (out for 2021-22 season)
Notable newcomers: F/C Charlie Daniels (Stephen F. Austin), F Parker Fox (Northern State), F Jamison Battle (George Washington), G Sean Sutherlin (New Hampshire), G Eylijah Stephens (Lafayette), G Luke Loewe (William & Mary), G Payton Willis (Charleston), C Treyton Thompson (three-star)
Notable departures: G Marcus Carr (Texas), C Liam Robbins (Vanderbilt), G Gabe Kalscheur (Iowa State), G Both Gach (Utah), F Brandon Johnson (DePaul), G Tre’ Williams (Oregon State), G Jamal Mashburn (New Mexico)
Minnesota will enter a new phase of its program under first-year head coach Ben Johnson, who is a former Golden Gophers men’s basketball player.
With the departure of Richard Pitino and with how poorly Minnesota played, nearly all of its pieces from last season also exited the program to play elsewhere through the transfer portal. One of the most electrifying point guards in college basketball, Marcus Carr, transferred to Texas and seven-footer Liam Robbins is now at Vanderbilt.
Each of the top seven scorers from Minnesota’s team last year has departed. They combined to average 70 points per game last year for the Golden Gophers, a team that totaled 72.5 points per game.
Returning forward Isaiah Ihnen will miss the entire 2021-22 season due to a knee injury, it was announced in July. This is a massive blow for Johnson’s crew as Ihnen was one of the most talented returning players. Instead, Minnesota will have a ton of new faces who will all look to help the Golden Gophers remain out of the last place spot in the Big Ten.