Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: Way-too-early power rankings for 2024-25 season

Indiana v Maryland
Indiana v Maryland / G Fiume/GettyImages
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13. Northwestern Wildcats

2023-24 season record: 22-12 (12-8 Big Ten)

Northwestern made history in making the NCAA Tournament for consecutive seasons for the first time ever. But it’s going to be hard to make it a third straight, losing the most important player (next to Zach Edey) in Big Ten Basketball. Star guard Boo Buie (19.0 ppg and 5.0 apg) is moving on, leaving a giant hole in the offense, along with losing starter Ryan Langborg.

The Wildcats do bring back two key scorers that’ll have even larger roles next season. Brooks Barnhizer (14.6 ppg and 7.5 rpg) is an all-conference candidate to watch, while Ty Berry will be back after suffering a season-ending leg injury. The addition of 16 ppg scoring guard Jalen Leach (Fairfield) adds to the backcourt depth.

Outside of Blake Preston, Northwestern brings back the underrated frontcourt group. Nick Martinelli, Luke Hunger, and Matthew Nicholson are one of the top interior defensive groups in NCAA Basketball and even if they can’t score, they’ll still be hard to score on.

Ultimately, the Wildcats will need to find a way to overcome not having one of the best players in program history. Coach Chris Collins has shown that he can build a good enough roster but with four new opposing programs coming, it’s going to be even more difficult now.