Indiana A Year Away
Shooting guard Maurice Creek will begin the 2011-12 season in the same way that he has finished his first two seasons at Indiana- injured; in a non-basketball related injury, Creek has torn his Achilles and will likely be out until Big Ten conference play. His freshman and sophomore seasons ended abruptly with knee injuries, limiting the junior Hoosier to 30 career games. The loss is a big one- with Creek in the lineup, Indiana is 16-14 and just 6-27 without him.
The loss hurts the Hoosiers overall depth and talent- losing a career-11.5 point per game and 37 percent marksman from 3-point range is not easy, but Tom Crean has gotten used to playing without his injury-prone guard. Four starters return including starting forward Christian Watford (16.0 points) and wing Verdell Jones III (12.5 points). The fifth starter will be prized-recruit, center Cody Zeller. Zeller and Watford in the frontcourt will create plenty of mismatches with their versatility to score both inside and out.
Crean will count on sophomores Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey, two part-time starters after Creek when down; both were inconsistent down the stretch, especially from the perimeter, but have significant minutes ahead of them.
The Hoosiers look to be another year away before they can return to the NCAA Tournament again, the first time since 2008. While they will almost certainly be more competitive than they have in the past few seasons, Crean has five-man recruiting class coming in next year, highlighted by three Top 100 players.
By President Corey Ruff - 10 - 11 - 11