There is no power conference more stable than the Big Ten. It retained its membership amid realignment chaos, and enough of its best players stayed out of the 2012 NBA draft to ensure that the league will have three Final Four contenders and at least six NCAA tournament teams.
Did the initial breadth of UW's transfer-ban list even matter? And, given Uthoff or any related third parties were restricted from communicating with Iowa before or during the transfer process, are we supposed to believe that a top-100 recruit chose to turn down scholarship offers from Creighton, Florida, Iowa State and Marquette in favor of paying his way at Iowa, without having exchanged a single word with the staff, or getting any assurances of how he fit into the Hawkeyes' plans for 2013-14 and beyond? That's about as difficult to digest as the notion that the NCAA's transfer rules have student-athletes' best interests in mind.
(But given that the Badgers'
The league is lagging in early Class of 2013 recruiting, but that may be in part because only four of
In the meantime, would you believe that Northwestern, of all Big Ten teams, has landed the biggest Class of 2013 game-changer to date? That would be New Jersey point guard Jaren Sina, the first four-star recruit of the 13-year Bill Carmody era. New NU assistant Fred Hill, formerly seen at Rutgers, did the heavy lifting on Sina, who plays for his father in a Princeton offense similar to what the Wildcats run. Sina and David Sobolewski should give NU a seriously good point-guard duo in 2013-14.
In late March, the NCAA granted a sixth year of eligibility to Minnesota power forward Trevor Mbakwe, who tore his ACL in the ninth game of what he expected to be his senior season. If Mbakwe gets back to his old form -- he's still rehabbing from December surgery, but was a 14-and-9 guy when healthy -- he'll be the league's dominant four-man and make Minnesota a strong candidate for an NCAA tournament bid. He is, at the moment, the Big Ten's biggest X-Factor.