2013-14 College Basketball Season Preview: Indiana

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Indiana Hoosiers (Last Year: 29-7, 14-4 in Big Ten)

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

F/C: Hanner Mosquera-Perea (Soph)/Luke Fischer (Fr)/Peter Jurkin (Soph)

F: Noah Vonleh (Fr)/Jeremy Hollowell (Soph)/Devin Davis (Fr)

SF: Will Sheehey (Sr)/Troy Williams (Fr)/Austin Etherington (Soph)/Colin Hartman (Fr)

SG: Evan Gordon (Sr)/Stanford Robinson (Fr)

PG: Yogi Ferrell (Soph)

Gone: SG-Victor Oladipo, C-Cody Zeller, G-Jordan Hulls, F-Christian Watford, PF-Derek Elston, G-Remy Abell (transfer-Xavier), SG-Maurice Creek (transfer-George Washington)

2013-14 Outlook:
By losing their top four scorers from last year’s Big Ten Championship team, the Indiana Hoosiers face a transition year. As a result, Tom Crean’s crew should take a bit of a step back after being one of the elite teams last season not only in their conference, but the entire country.

The lone returning starter is point guard Yogi Ferrell, who looks to build off a solid freshman campaign. He was used a true point guard last season as he didn’t need to score much due to all of the talent around him. This year, Ferrell needs to be a more aggressive scorer and a more consistent outside shooter to take the next step with his game.

With the losses of Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls along with Remy Abell and Mo Creek transferring, there was a huge void for Crean to fill in the backcourt. Luckily, he was able to snag Arizona State transfer Evan Gordon; the young brother of former Hoosier, Eric Gordon. Evan Gordon is a graduate student, so he becomes immediately eligible and adds needed scoring punch next to Ferrell. Due to a lack of a true backup point guard, Gordon should also see some time running the point. Out of necessity, freshman Stanford Robinson should also see immediate playing time in the backcourt.

One major question I have for Indiana this season is whether or not last year’s Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year Will Sheehey is ready to become “the guy” for the Hoosiers. He was obviously a terrific role player and glue guy, but he now gets thrust into a primary role. Sheehey can play a couple of different positions and is a capable outside shooter and athletic finisher at the rim, but he doesn’t really create for himself.

Sheehey certainly won’t have to do it all by himself. McDonald’s All-American Noah Vonleh is the cream of Crean’s 2013 recruiting class and is a versatile forward capable of scoring from the inside or outside. He is the best freshman in the Big Ten and should be a big time player from Day 1.

Sophomores Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Jeremy Hollowell are in line for the fifth and final starting spot. HM-P (does anyone call him that… I love acronyming hyphenated names) provides more of a true post presence with his rebounding and activity inside, though he was used sparingly last season. Hollowell is in the Christian Watford mold as he is a versatile forward who can play either forward position and even some center when pressed into that spot. If I were Crean, I’d start Mosquera-Perea and bring Hollowell off the bench.

With all the turnover on the roster, bench minutes are up for grabs. Top-60 recruits Luke Fischer and Troy Williams figure to earn immediate minutes. Fischer is a skilled big man, but he lacks the physicality to truly bang down low, while Williams is another versatile forward who provides Crean with flexibility in his rotation. Austin Etherington missed most of last season due to a knee injury and now healthy, could provide some three-point firepower off the bench.

With so many new faces taking on bigger roles this season, there will certainly be a feeling out process for the Indiana Hoosiers. Ferrell and Sheehey must emerge as the leaders and Vonleh has to be as good as advertised for Indiana to be a top-25 caliber program.

Player to Watch: Noah Vonleh, PF
As talented as Vonleh currently is, the 6-10 forward still has plenty of upside. He has already added muscle since arriving in Bloomington, which will help him since he is likely to see some minutes at the center position. His inside/outside ability makes him a tough matchup for opposing teams since he can go outside on bigger defenders and post up smaller ones. Indiana needs him to be a consistent double-digit scorer for the Hoosiers to exceed expectations.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/21 vs. Washington (2K Sports Classic)
  • 11/22 vs. Connecticut/Boston College (2K Sports Classic)
  • 12/3 at Syracuse (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
  • 12/14 vs. Notre Dame (in Indianapolis)

  • Predicted Big Ten Finish: 5th

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