Streeter Lecka / Getty Images
Even with the return of players such as third-team All-Big Ten selection Denzel Valentine and the addition of one of the nation's top recruiting classes, the Spartans are a point guard away from challenging the Terps as the Big Ten's best team in 2015. A lack of one showed in the way Duke dismantled Tom Izzo's team at the Final Four, but without Travis Trice taking big shots next season and Branden Dawson being a force inside, the Spartans certainly need point guard Tum Tum Nairn to make a drastic jump between his freshman and sophomore year to make another deep tournament run. Izzo certainly pulled off a late recruiting coup in grabbing 6-foot-8, 275-pound center Caleb Swanigan, who at No. 9 overall by ESPN was ranked three spots below Maryland signee Diamond Stone. He and power forward Deyonta Davis (No. 22) should help the Spartans, whose class was ranked fourth nationally, overcome the departure of Dawson. West Virginia transfer Eron Harris, who averaged over 17 points a game two years ago as a sophomore, should help fill Trice's role. The key returnee is Izzo, who did perhaps his best coaching job ever in getting the Spartans to Indianapolis.
SEE MORE GALLERIES
Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press
The return of Ferrell (pictured) means that Tom Crean, like Beilein, is not losing a single impact player from last season's team. Ferrell and Maryland's Melo Trimble should wage an interesting battle for both preseason Big Ten player of the year as well as one during the season. On paper, the Hoosiers might be right behind Maryland in terms of talent coming back. James Blackmon Jr. was right up there with Trimble and D'Angelo Russell early last season for freshman of the year, until Russell took off and Trimble stayed more consistent. Sophomore forward Troy Williams and freshman guard Robert Johnson also showed flashes. The addition of 6-foot-10, 220-pound center Thomas Bryant (No. 22 overall) could improve what was a major problem last season, especially after 6-9 junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea got hurt. The signing of Bryant took some heat off Crean for a lackluster recruiting class. Keeping it off could be another story if the Hoosiers don't live up to their talent.
SEE MORE GALLERIES
With Sunday’s news that Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell will return for his senior year in Bloomington, one of the biggest remaining pieces in the Big Ten Conference puzzle for next season is in place. While Maryland still looks like it will be the preseason choice to win the league, the Terps will have several legitimate challengers. Here’s a look at which teams can win the league, besides the one in College Park.