2017-18 forecast for Iowa women's basketball: 5th in Big Ten

Ohio State is the clear team to beat

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With the exception of Michigan’s run in the WNIT, the 2016-17 Big Ten women’s basketball season is completed.

Here is one guy’s opinion on the pecking order for next season:

1.

Ohio State

2016-17 record: 28-7. Big Ten: 15-1 (T-1st). Postseason: NCAA Sweet 16

After sharing the title this season with Maryland, Buckeyes are the favorite to claim it solo. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 87.8.
 
2.

Michigan

2016-17 record: 26-9. Big Ten: 11-5. (3rd). Postseason: WNIT (still playing, in semifinals).

Wolverines were a curious absence when the NCAA field was announced. They’ll make it with ease next year. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 87.8.
 
3.

Maryland

2016-17 record: 32-3. Big Ten: 15-1 (T-1st). Postseason: NCAA Sweet 16.

Terrapins have good young talent, but graduation of Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones will sting. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 56.7.
 
4.

Penn State

2016-17 record: 21-11. Big Ten: 9-7 (T-6th). Postseason: WNIT.

After a couple down years, the Lady Lions rebounded this season. Expect the climb to continue. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 68.0.
 
5.

Iowa

2016-17 record: 20-14. Big Ten: 8-8 (T-8th). Postseason: WNIT.

Two-year WNIT rut should come to an end. Megan Gustafson is arguably the league’s best returning post. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 73.2.
 
6.

Minnesota

2016-17 record: 15-16. Big Ten: 5-11 (10th). Postseason: None.

Here’s your dark horse. Gophers could make a strong run from sub-.500 to NCAA. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 91.1.
 
7.

Indiana

2016-17 record: 23-11. Big Ten: 10-6 (T-4th). Postseason: WNIT.

Hoosiers lose a lot of their supporting cast, but the return of Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill keeps them in the mix. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 58.7.
 
8.

Purdue

2016-17 record: 21-11. Big Ten: 10-6 (T-4th). Postseason: NCAA 2nd round.

Boilers very nearly were a surprise Sweet 16 team, but lose their top two scorers (Ashley Morrissette and Bridget Perry). Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 60.0.
 
9.

Michigan State

2016-17 record: 21-12. Big Ten: 9-7 (T-6th). Postseason: NCAA.

Top three scorers depart — Tori Jankoska, Branndais Agee and Taya Reimer, and that will be a lot to overcome. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 42.5.
 
10.

Illinois

2016-17 record: 9-22. Big Ten: 3-13 (T-11th). Postseason: None.

Illini have a new coach, and are the most likely of the four 3-13 teams to make a climb. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 98.6.
 
11.

Wisconsin

2016-17 record: 9-22. Big Ten: 3-13 (T-11th). Postseason: None.

Badgers showed some life late in the season, and return their nucleus. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 78.3.
 
12.

Rutgers

2016-17 record: 6-24. Big Ten: 3-13 (T-11th). Postseason: None.

Virtually everyone returns, but this once-proud program has nosedived recently. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 99.9.
 
13.

Northwestern

2016-17 record: 20-11. Big Ten: 8-8 (T-8th). Postseason: None.

Wildcats lose by far the most of anybody in the league. Hard to imagine anything other than a big drop. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 27.3.
 
14.

Nebraska

2016-17 record: 7-22. Big Ten: 3-13 (T-11th). Postseason: None.

If it wasn’t bad enough that Huskers free-fell this season, Jessica Shepard is transferring. Percentage of scoring returning for next season: 56.3.
 

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