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Thursday, November 3, 2011

2011-12 BIG Basketball Preview: Indiana

Coach: Tom Crean – 28-66 (.298)
Lost:  G Jeremiah Rivers, G Maurice Creek (injured)
Returning: F Christian Watford (Jr), G Jordan Hulls (Jr), F Tom Pritchard (Sr), G Verdell Jones III (Sr), G Victor Oladipo (So), F Will Sheehy (So), F Bobby Capobianco (Jr), F Derek Elston (Jr), G Matt Roth (Sr), G Daniel Moore (Sr)
New faces: F/C Cody Zeller(15), SG Remy Abell, SF Austin Etherington
Cody Zeller is already the big man on campus and
he hasn't even played a game yet. Oh, fickle IU fans.

Preview: While head coach Tom Crean wasn’t given much to work with initially, his tenure has been underwhelming to say the least.  Characterized by underperforming (overrated?) recruits, Indiana has taken a firm backseat to instate rivals Purdue and Butler.  Fortunately for Crean this may be the year Indiana pulls themselves out of the doldrums of the Big Ten and into NCAA bubble consideration.  Before the season even began the Hoosiers realized they will be without dynamic guard Maurice Creek.  As tough as it is to lose such a good player, this injury may turn out to be a blessing in disguise in the long run for the program. Freshmen Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehy were both effective players last season but neither averaged more than 20 minutes a game.  Now each of these two should offer nice compliments to the team’s best player Christian Watford.  Additionally, IU hopes to benefit greatly with the addition of freshman big man Cody Zeller who coaches (and the national media) say will make an impact in the post immediately.  Also returning is Jordan Hulls a Damon Bailey type guard who can shoot the lights out but is a little too small and slow to be utilized when his shot’s not falling.  It’s hoped the younger players will improve enough to allow Hulls to become more of a role player and less a focal point on the offensive end. With success in this regard the Hoosier offense could be lethal. But the biggest issues this team has in the upcoming season lie on the defensive end.  Indiana allowed opponents to make over 36% of their three point attempts and allowed opponents to shoot free throws on over half of their field goal attempts which ranked 333 out of 345 Division I programs.  A year of growth should enable IU to improve enough in this area otherwise it will be off to the NIT.
Shot in the dark at the starting 5:
G Jordan Hulls
G  Victor Oladipo
F Will Sheehy
F Christian Watford
F Cody Zeller
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