Will this be the season Indiana returns to Big Ten relevance?
Indiana finished 10-21 overall and just 4-14 in the Big Ten last season and failed to beat a conference opponent with a winning record in Big Ten play. In fact, in the last two years combined, Indiana is 16-46 and has just five conference victories compared to 31 losses.
The good news is that the Hoosiers only lost one rotational player, senior Devan Dumes, to graduation. 6'5" guard Maurice Creek is returning from a fractured knee that cost him all but 12 games last season. However, when he went down, he was in fact the leading freshman scorer in the nation. He has been cleared to play this month so he'll have time to shake off some of the rust and develop as he heads into his sophomore campaign. Joining Creek will be guard Verdell Jones III and fellow sophomore Christian Watford; Watford excelled in Creek's absence on the offensive end, but ended the season on a rough patch- shooting just 16-for-59 from the floor in the Hoosiers' final six games (27.1%). Coach Tom Crean has secured a couple of solid wings in Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey. Joining this trio will be a 7'1" center transfer, Guy-Mare Michel, from North Idaho junior college. The 7-footer weighs in at about 275 pounds and is a bit of a project but he is a strong rebounder and will be willing to battle down against the league's bigs. He'll have his hands full with Purdue's JaJuan Johnson and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger.
In order to catch up to Ohio State, Michigan State, Purdue, Wisconsin and even Minnesota, Tom Crean will need to start pulling in some top recruits to make Indiana relevant again.