The offseason is here and the transfer portal has already made headline after headline just over a week after the season ended.
There’s plenty to replace in the Big Ten, so we went through every team to find an ideal fit:
ILLINOIS: Bring back Andre Curbelo
Our guy. Bring him back.
Illinois was weird this season because Brad Underwood, who is Brad Underwood, stuffed a bunch of vibes into a pot and hoped they’d mix. They did not, but there was clearly a basketball team under all that Monster Energy and nightly drama.
But I have an argument: he didn’t go far enough. He combined and pushed together a bunch of loud vibes that pushed back. But just a few more vibes could’ve unlocked that team’s true potential.
Throw in the king, Andre Curbelo, and watch the fireworks. It’s either going to be fun or incomprehensible to the human eye. That, at its core, is Illinois basketball.
It’s either this or a guy from the Champaign Pizza Hut.
INDIANA: Someone interested in actually playing basketball
Yeah if you aren’t all that familiar with the league these days, that’s about how it goes.
Indiana is one of the few teams interested in playing actual basketball, along with sometimes Maryland, Iowa on offense and Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament to name a few.
There’s a reason the highest rated recruits in the conference have started flocking to Bloomington. These are talented guys who want to play ball under a guy who coaches it, and that’s Mike Woodson.
IOWA: a new offensive coordinator for the football team
Look man here’s the deal: Iowa it was it is as a men’s basketball program and it’s always gonna be Like That. No transfer is gonna change it.
But Iowa City is a cool town and the fanbase deserves better than whatever their football team does when the defense jogs off the field.
Literally anything would be better, so Fran McCaffery should act in the interest of the greater good here and just give some coach a scholarship to coach Iowa’s offense on a shadow basis.
MARYLAND: The Cuban Center
Look, it’s no secret that my peers in IU’s sports media program are some of the best in the game.
The Cuban Center blows the competition out of the water when it comes to graphics and in-game content to such an extent that it almost seems to easy for them. They need a new challenge, and the state flag of Maryland provides just that.
I need exclusive locker room footage of Kevin Willard being showered in Old Bay after a big win like I need to breathe. Get those interns full-time to College Park, and get ‘em there fast.
MICHIGAN: A new podcaster
Hunter Dickinson has entered the transfer portal and is taking his podcast with him, what a shame anyway let’s just reset and add another guy who does that.
Why not. There’s not a real direction to this team in the immediate future without him, I wouldn’t put it past Juwan Howard to try and recapture that energy but doing it the wrong way by adding a podcaster instead of a guy who can play basketball.
For Michigan it was either this or guy in khakis wearing a dress shirt with a hoodie tied around his neck.
MICHIGAN STATE: Probably nobody, tbh
Alright let’s get this out of the way: Michigan State will both win the league and have the Big Ten’s best run in March again.
There’s too much on that roster and Izzo is too good at what he does. This year’s team was good and next year’s team has a much higher ceiling with the freshman class the Spartans are bringing in.
Nothing wrong here, no need to add. Just play basketball I guess.
MINNESOTA: You, the reader
That’s right, reader.
You, yes you, could probably help out Minnesota in some way shape or form on the basketball course next season. The Gophers aren’t exactly known as a resounding success on the court but the Ben Johnson era appears to be on a clear downturn that I’m not sure anyone could pull them out of.
Jamison Battle is off to Ohio State and Minnesota’s prized recruit is off to Louisville, one of the few high major teams who were in a worse spot than the Gophers last season. No good!
But also like who cares at this point, just throw something at the wall. Pull a Mike Leach and get somebody out of the crowd on the court. Get the group that wears the Goldy Gopher suit into the gym and run them out there.
If you can’t be good at least be fun!
NEBRASKA: It doesn’t matter
(look at this photo lmao)
Fred Hoiberg has been a big proponent of the transfer portal, relying on it heavily every year since he was hired in Lincoln in 2018. And the result has been the exact same, every year.
Looking back to an article from Busting Brackets in 2019, I found the following quote, “When Coach Hoiberg took the job, he flipped the entire roster. In a short period of time Hoiberg and staff were able to put together a roster that has talent. The roster has virtually no size and has never played together in a game that counts.”
Nebraska went 2-19 in the Big Ten that year and has basically run back the same transfer-heavy roster every season to mostly the same results. Last year was an anomaly, with Hoiberg able to double his conference win total, but I wouldn’t count on lightning striking twice in Lincoln.
NORTHWESTERN: Darren Rovell
So you see there were a few problems with NU this past season.
Firstly, they were good at basketball. Ominous.
Secondly, they were uhhhh kinda likable? Couldn’t really find myself disliking that team. Boo Buie was fun and Chase Audige was rightfully named as one of the best defensive players in the league. There was also a center/forward that was straight out of Letterkenny, so that’s always good.
I have just the thing to solve that: noted Medill alum Darren Rovell!
You know him, the guy who deletes tweets after the quotes vastly outpace both the likes and standard retweets combined? The guy who filmed his television because he was incredibly mad online at a women’s basketball ad?
The guy who gets in fights with each side of seemingly every argument? Who doesn’t like that.
Anyway here’s him getting put in a blender by literally Kristaps Porzingis:
Likability gone, problem solved. Bring on the ‘Cats.
OHIO STATE: Pure, white hot rage
It’s no secret that last season didn’t go as planned for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes just had no direction and plummeted to the bottom of the conference before a weird bounce in the Big Ten Tournament that happened far too late to salvage their Tournament hopes.
Ohio State just had nothing going, nothing to fire them up. All due respect to Chris Holtmann, but he doesn’t strike me as a serious yeller and the one time he really tried to fire up his team by going after the refs he got tossed in a loss. Ugh.
It might not be on the roster right now, but Ohio State can probably find that ever-fueling pure Buckeye rage in the portal. There’s probably a good amount left around the shoe from last year’s edition of The Game.
If that’s not enough, just hang around an Ohio State football forum or uhh anywhere in Columbus long enough and I’m sure there’s some to be found.
PENN STATE: Literally anyone
Congratulations to Penn State on going from the fun basketball team that everyone liked to watch to falling right back down to the mud of playing Big Ten basketball because of a failure to commit to Micah Shrewsberry.
All those players? Gone lol. No more Jalen Pickett to do literally everything as the most unsung guard in the entire country. In steps Mike Rhoades. VCU! Which he’ll probably have to bring with him to field a team next year.
Penn State has cemented its status as a stepping stone at best and a dead end at worst. If you aren’t going to commit to one of the better up and coming coaches in college basketball, who will you commit to?
Woe to ye who enter the Bryce Jordan Center, either as an opposing player on a cold January night or a guy who plays for Penn State now I guess. Speaking of guys, it’s not a joke that they really, really need them.
They’re gonna be weird next year and not like Illinois weird that at least results in a few wins and an NCAA Tournament bid.
PURDUE: A guard!
Okay forget all the jokes above and below we’re gonna get serious here for a minute.
Matt, buddy. As a guy who has to watch your basketball team play at least twice a year, more than that if I wanna understand the conference, please add a real playmaking guard to your lineup, man.
Both Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer will be fine Big Ten players when it’s all said and done, but I fear we’ve already seen the floor for each of those guys and the ceiling ain’t much higher.
Purdue. You guys lost to Indiana twice because your backcourt couldn’t hang. You lost to Fairleigh Dickinson because, again, your backcourt couldn’t hang. Edey was the whole team, no matter how mad you get at “take him away and what is Purdue” arguments. It was going to happen at some point.
I’m well aware that Purdue added a depth piece at guard. That guy is replacing this year’s depth piece at guard. You’re gonna need more than that. Get dynamic, someone who can drive and shoot on a reliable basis while also playing sound defense. It’s either that or staring in the face of a 14-seed or something.
WISCONSIN: M. Bison from Street Fighter II
Ignore the fact that Wisconsin just added a guy who is apparently unranked in any of the major recruiting databases and might not even have scholarship room to begin with.
Greg Gard man I know your style, everyone who watches Big Ten ball does. It sure ain’t pretty and it sure isn’t resulting in a deep run in March anytime soon but hey it wins in the conference. Just wearing down the clock and getting some huge dude to get into the paint, sometimes a 3-pointer here and there.
Do I have the perfect guy for you, Greg: Street Fighter 2’s M. Bison.
This guy has definitely annoyed you after your brother or friend picks him after a few losses and you can’t do much if anything about the little sweep thing he does when he goes for the legs, so M. Bison will fit right in here in the league.
Just imagine him standing over an opposing big, looking down and saying “You had me cornered, but in the end evil prevails!”
He’ll average 36 elbows a game and approximately two fouls as Wisconsin cruises to a share of the Big Ten regular season title before losing to VCU in the first round.