With the 2016 NCAA Tournament wrapping up on Monday night after a thrilling game between North Carolina and Villanova, the offseason has officially set in for college basketball. For most, it's a depressing time that leaves fans having to look to things like the NBA and NHL for entertainment.
Still, there is some good news. There are still some major things to watch over the next few weeks that will have major implications on the Big Ten not only for next season, but for years to come. These decisions and developments will reshape rosters and really tell whether the Big Ten is set for a great season next year.
Here are the top storylines to watch the next few weeks.
1. Does Josh Jackson Pick Michigan State?
Although most of the recruiting for the 2016 cycle has already wrapped up, there is still one major decision hanging out there for the Big Ten and the country. Despite being rated as the No. 1 prospect in the country by 247Sports, Josh Jackson has yet to announce his college decision. Finalists include Arizona, Kansas, and Michigan State.
Obviously, considering Jackson is the No. 1 recruit in the country, it doesn't take a genius to realize that this is a decision with massive consequences. If Jackson picks MSU, it would be an enormous boost to an already loaded 2016 recruiting class. In fact, it would probably push the Spartans to No. 2 in the country heading into next season and the top contender to take down Duke.
Considering how much of a letdown the 2016 NCAA Tournament was for the Spartans, this would be a great way to get the momentum back heading into next season.
2. Who Declares For The Draft?
Many of the Big Ten's 2016 NBA Draft decisions have already been announced, but there are still a handful remaining, including a few from All-Big Ten players. I wrote about some of the most important remaining decisions for Today's U earlier this week and it's hard not to see these as having a major impact on next year for the entire conference.
Frankly, if the Big Ten has any real hope of regaining its reputation as one of the very best conferences in the country, it's going to need some of these decisions to fall favorably. Notably, if Peter Jok and Melo Trimble decide to leave Iowa and Maryland respectively, there's a decent chance both of those teams turn into bubble teams, or worse. The Big Ten needs teams like Iowa and Maryland to remain good and these decisions will have a huge impact on that.
3. Who Lands The Transfers?
As Big Ten fans are well aware by now, the transfer market has been wild so far this offseason. It's been a whirlwind over the last few weeks and the Big Ten has been no exception. Although the conference has avoided losing any major contributors so far, there have been plenty of notable departures around the Big Ten.
However, it's the opposite of this that becomes important to watch over the next few weeks. Rather than watching who leaves the respective teams, keep an eye on who joins the Big Ten this offseason. As can be seen in our offseason transfer list, there are already plenty of teams scouting transfers that could change each team's dynamic.
Many are often skeptical of transfers, but just take a look at this season for proof. Nearly every team at the top of the Big Ten relied heavily on at least one transfer, including Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Purdue. If the past is any indicator, keeping an eye on the incoming transfers for next season will tell fans a lot about what's to come.