#13 Indiana Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Indiana Hoosiers

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #13
Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten

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At one point last season Indiana was sitting at 15-4 overall and 5-1 in Big Ten play. But after that the Hoosiers had trouble finding consistency. After January 22nd, the team was never able to string two wins together. And most of the wins they did manage were not all that impressive. A win over Northwestern and a close loss to Maryland at the Big Ten Tournament gave IU some hope heading into the NCAA Tournament, but as a ten seed they lost to Wichita State in the second round. Coach Tom Crean has certainly turned this program around though and the return of Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell gives him a squad that can make a lot of noise in March. Ferrell could have been off to the NBA, but opted to return for his senior season. He led the team with 16.3 points and 4.9 assists per game last season. Opposing point guards have a tough time defending him since he is so quick to the basket and a dangerous outside shooter.

2014-15 Record: 20-14, 9-9
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tom Crean
Coach Record: 121-111 at Indiana, 311-207 overall

Who’s Out:
Hanner Mosquera-Perea is the big loss for IU. He averaged just 6.5 points and 4.3 rebounds, but the 6-9 forward was the interior presence for the Hoosiers on both ends of the floor. Emmitt Holt and Max Hoetzel were also regulars in the frontcourt rotation and are not returning. The expectations were high for Holt, but he is off to the junior college ranks. The lone loss on the perimeter is Stanford Robinson, who transferred to Rhode Island after averaging 3.0 points and 1.2 assists during his sophomore season.

Who’s In:
The obvious need here is in the frontcourt and the addition of Thomas Bryant should answer that problem. At 6-10 and 245 pounds, he is physically ready to compete in the Big Ten and that is huge for the Hoosiers. Indiana does not need him to score, they just need him to play solid defense and help on the glass. Those are two things Bryant will be able to do. The frontcourt also adds Michigan transfer Max Bielfeldt. Biefeldt battled injuries throughout much of his career as a Wolverine, but he was a regular contributor last season and should be for IU this year. Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby are a couple of incoming freshmen who will compete for minutes off of the bench due to the complete lack of interior options. The last of the newcomers is walk-on point guard Harrison Niego.

Who to Watch:
James Blackmon, Jr., Robert Johnson and Troy Williams figure to remain in the starting lineup. Blackmon had a superb freshman campaign, averaging 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. He is a tough 6-4 guard who can knock down shots with consistency and finish around the rim. He does need to work on his defense, but that should come with a year of experience. There is no denying his pure scoring abilities, so Coach Crean will be working hard on his defensive game. Johnson was the overlooked starter on the team last year. He was just a freshman, but started all but one game and averaged 8.9 points and 2.3 assists. Williams is a great talent and started to put it all together during his sophomore season. The 6-7 forward averaged 13.0 points and a team high 7.4 rebounds as a sophomore and he has the athleticism to make some amazing plays in transition. Once his game is refined, Williams will be one of the best players in the Big Ten.

Final Projection:
Collin Hartman and Nick Zeisloft are the two returning players who will be asked to provide the experienced depth off of the bench. Hartman was a pleasant surprise last season, averaging 4.8 points and 3.1 rebounds during nearly 20 minutes of play per game. He is a versatile 6-7 forward who can play just about anywhere. When in the frontcourt, he can stretch the defense with his shooting ability and when on the wing, he can add more size and rebounding ability to the team. Zeisloft will again be the team’s shooter off of the bench. Nearly all of his shots last year came from beyond the arc, but he made 45.0 percent of his 140 three-point attempts as a junior. When IU needs an offensive spark, Zeisloft will be ready. Just how good this team can be will depend largely on Bryant. His development and chemistry with Williams in the paint will be the difference between just another NCAA Tournament team and a team that can make a serious run in March.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Yogi Ferrell, Senior, Guard, 16.3 points per game
Robert Johnson, Sophomore, Guard, 8.9 points per game
James Blackmon Jr., Sophomore, Guard, 15.7 points per game
Troy Williams, Junior, Forward, 13.0 points per game
Thomas Bryant, Freshman, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.4 (17th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.7 (296, 14)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.4 (46, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.3 (294, 14)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.4 (8, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.6 (6, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.9 (81, 7)
Rebound Margin: 3.0 (78, 5)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (80, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (77, 8)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#34 Yogi Ferrell
#37 Troy Williams

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#19 Thomas Bryant
#99 Juwan Morgan


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