Today I sit here as the Hoosiers are coming off a Big Ten Title for men’s basketball and a sweet 16 run. The Hoosiers off season has had injuries across the board and the team has not always practiced together. That is why I think it is going to take a little bit of time for this team to jell to begin the year. I will take a look at the Hoosiers and give some thoughts on what to expect.
I believe the Hoosiers will make the tournament once again. How far depends on how much they jell during the season. I also expect them to finish in the top five of the Big Ten.
Thomas Bryant is my number one player to watch this year. Will he improve on defense and will his offense continue to grow? I think both of these things will happen. He is going to be the anchor of the offense on the inside.
One thing to watch out for is how IU replaces Troy Williams in the front court. Helping Bryant with this effort will be freshman DeRon Davis. He is a out of Colorado. Juwan Morgan figures to help out and then there is OG Anunoby. Anunoby was huge defensively down the stretch last year, especially against Kentucky in the second round of the NCAAS. The NBA has their eye on Anunoby. His growth on the court this year will be huge for the Hoosiers. Also looking to contribute is transfer Freddie McSwain.
The big miss on the inside will be IU’s lone senior Collin Hartman. Unfortunately, he had a knee injury early in preseason and will miss a big chunk of the season. He is the Hoosiers glue guy.
Another key to the season is how will the Hoosiers replace point guard Yogi Ferrell. Josh Newkirk, a transfer from Pittsburgh figures to help out. James Blackmon Jr. will be back coming off a knee injury. His key will be to get better on the defensive end. He will definitely help out with his three point shooting. Then there is Robert Johnson, who was definitely missed in the loss to North Carolina in the Sweet 16. A freshman I am excited about to see how he plays is Curtis Jones. Another freshman looking to get into the mix is Devonte Green.
The identity of this team will be fun to watch to see how it develops I don’t know if the Hoosiers will have the three point barrage they have had in the past. That will be something to look for. Will they be a running team or will they attack on the inside?. These are questions that will be answered shortly.
Whatever the case, this should be a fun season for the Hoosiers and ones that fans enjoy as IU builds towards getting beyond the Sweet 16.