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November 26, 2010

Big Ten could use more beef

MORE: Conference breakdown | No. 1 SEC | No. 2 Big East | No. 3 ACC | VOTE: Big Ten's top class?

Ranking the classes (national rank)
1. Ohio State (10)
2. Illinois (11)
3. Michigan State (16)
4. Indiana (27)
5. Michigan
6. Minnesota
7. Purdue
8. Iowa
9. Wisconsin
10. Penn State
11. Northwestern
Best by category
Best perimeter scorer: Tracy Abrams
Best low post scorer: Cody Zeller
Best passer: Tracy Abrams
Best shooter: Travis Trice
Best rebounder: Branden Dawson
Best shot blocker: Amir Williams
Best defender: Dwaun Anderson
Most versatile: Sam Thompson
Best in the clutch: Cody Zeller
Best pro prospect: Branden Dawson
Best speed: Shannon Scott
Best motor: Joe Coleman
Impact player: Cody Zeller
Biggest sleeper: Jarrod Uthoff
Best at each position (top overall player in bold)
PG Tracy Abrams, Illinois
SG Mycheal Henry, Illinois
SF Sam Thompson, Ohio State
PF Branden Dawson, Michigan State
C Cody Zeller, Indiana
Inside the Numbers
3 - Teams ranked in the top 30 nationally
28 - Rivals150 prospects coming to the Big Ten
2 - Five-star prospects coming to the Big Ten
10 - Four-star prospects coming to the Big Ten
6 - Three-star ranked prospects coming to the Big Ten
9 - States represented by Rivals150 Big Ten recruits
Thanks to the addition of four-star big man Amir Williams just as the signing period was coming to a close, Ohio State - which had already signed four-stars Sam Thompson, LaQuinton Ross and Shannon Scott, and three-star Trey McDonald - was able to creep into the top 10 classes nationally. The Buckeyes beat out Bruce Weber and Illinois, which inked a foursome of in-state four-stars in Mycheal Henry, Tracy Abrams, Mike Shaw and Nnanna Egwu. Led by five-star Branden Dawson and four-star Dwaun Anderson, Michigan State ranked 16th nationally.

Tom Crean and Indiana checked in at No. 27. The Hoosiers were the only conference school outside of Michigan State to ink a five-star by signing Cody Zeller. Michigan and Minnesota each landed two Rivals150 players while Purdue, Iowa and Wisconsin were able to land one member of the Rivals150.

Best recruiting battle

The race for Branden Dawson was easily the most hard-fought recruiting battle within the conference. For the longest time it looked as if Purdue would emerge as the victor thanks to proximity and an early start in recruiting him. Marquette came in from the Big East to muddy things up a bit before Tom Izzo and Michigan State sold Dawson on their tradition.

While it wasn't an inter-conference recruiting battle, the single most important recruiting victory was scored by Indiana when they secured Cody Zeller over a stiff challenge from North Carolina and Butler.

Where's the beef?

Outside of Zeller, who should arrive at Indiana as a polished low-post scorer, there doesn't appear to be many college-ready big men headed to the Big Ten. Illinois signee Mike Shaw is probably the next closest to being ready but he fancies himself more of a perimeter guy than a low post scorer. Ohio State's Amir Williams and Illinois' Nnanna Egwu are both shot-blockers who can run the floor, but they each need to add muscle and are still raw on the offensive side

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