Ohio State, Michigan Battle for Big Ten Title in 2011-12?
Given their returnees and incoming freshman class, Ohio State is expected to take the Big Ten next year. Jared Sullinger, William Buford, Deshaun Thomas, Aaron Craft- all tremendous impact players for Thad Matta's Elite 8 squad, will reunite in uniform next year, joining two high school All-Americans. It's not surprise the Buckeyes are the favorites.
A little more surprising is that Michigan, (no, not Michigan State) could take up second place. If point guard Darius Morris, who led the Big Ten in assists per game with 6.7 per game, and his team-leading 15 points per game return, expect the Wolverines to be more than competitive. Second-leading scorer, Tim Hardaway Jr., hit double-figures the last 16 games of the year, averaging 17.2 points in that span. As Morris and Hardaway continue to work together and develop some consistency from their perimeter shooting, this backcourt should be one of the best in the country.
Forward Evan Smotrycz also came on late after a cold-shooting first half of the season. Smotrycz was Jim Beilein's top recruit a year ago and still has ways to go. Another year with Morris and fellow-wing Zack Novak should do him wonders in terms of development.