This article starts the probably premature preview of the top conferences in America for the next basketball season. While I realize that a lot can happen, the cores of the teams are pretty much set in stone. Here's my Big Ten top five teams.
One of the top conferences from last season looks to keep its competitiveness and great talent throughout.
Despite the loss of Chris Kramer, the defensive leader, Purdue will return stars Jajuan Johnson, E'tuan Moore and Robbie Hummel back from his injury.
Matt Painter will have his scrappy defense ready to go, and the inside-outside play of Johnson and Hummel looks to be unstoppable.
2. Michigan State
After last year's Final Four run, it seemed Tom Izzo was all but gone and ready to go to Cleveland.
However, he came back.
The Spartans return stars Kalin Lucas, Devin Roe, Draymond Green and Korie Lucious. Having the core of a Final Four team back is always a great sign. Look for Purdue and Michigan State to be in a tight race all season.
3. Ohio State
Despite losing the AP Player Of The Year in Evan Turner, the Buckeyes still return the likes of David Lighty and William Buford.
Ohio State also brings in one of the top recruits and my Big Ten Freshman of the Year prediction in Deshaun Thomas.
While Thomas was in the chase for Indiana High School's scoring record, he came up short because his team failed to go far in the tournament.
However, the addition of Thomas won't exactly be a replacement for Evan Turner.
Seven footer Mike Tisdale and Demetri McCamey, last season's leading scorer, come into the season with high expectations.
With another consistent scorer and rebounder in Mike Davis, the Illini will look to stay competitive throughout the Big Ten season.
Look for Bruce Webber to try and sneak into the NCAA Tournament after coming up just short last season.
While their style of play might be the most boring to watch in the NCAA, Bo Ryan always finds a way to keep them in contention and I doubt it changes next season.
The Badgers return their leading scorer, Jon Leuer, who shot 52% from the field last season while averaging 15 PPG.
The supporting cast will consist of foward Keaton Nankivil and guard Jordan Taylor.
It's hard to blow out a team like Wisconsin because of their defense and the way they use the shot clock. And, of course, good luck beating them at home.
Origianlly Written By Collin O'Connor on Bleacher Report