John from the Hoosier Report agreed to do a season preview of Indiana’s season, as depressing as it may be. Reading the IU outlook on the season I can’t help think of Rich Rodrgiuez’ situation here with the football team. Don’t forget to check out the other previews: Michigan State and Minnesota.
Like all other Indiana fans, I have absolutely no idea what to expect from what will be the strangest season that any of us have ever experienced. Of IU’s current scholarship players, I had heard of exactly three of them when IU played its last game. All other players, including most of the incoming players, are Crean recruits. For any Michigan fans who aren’t up to speed, between graduation, early entry to the NBA, removal from the team because of academics and discipline, and one garden variety transfer (Detroit’s Jordan Crawford), IU returns one scholarship player. Yep, the Kelvin Sampson era was an overwhelming success. And even that single returning scholarship player merits an asterisk: Kyle Taber, now a redshirt senior, played meaningful minutes last season for the first time in his career and played well, but he came to IU as a walk-on. Therefore,new IU coach Tom Crean essentially will be starting over. Crean, of course, is a disciple of your good friend Tom Izzo, but this IU team will be more perimeter-oriented than the typical MSU-style team (not that Crean is an Izzo clone, but he certainly emphasizes rebounding, like Izzo does). I ran down the roster here, but briefly, IU has very little size: Taber, freshman Tom Pritchard, and juco project Tijan Jobe are the only scholarship players taller than 6-5. The rest of the roster is full of guards: juco transfer Devan Dumes (he averaged 8 points a game as a freshman at Eastern Michigan before transferring to Vincennes JC), and freshmen Nick Williams, Malik Story, Matt Roth, and Verdell Jones. Crean also added several walk-ons, and guard Daniel Moore, an Indiana All-Star who had originally intended to attend Division I Boston University, seems to be the most likely to contribute.
The outlook for the season is poor. Anything approaching a .500 record, either overall or in conference, would be unexpected. I have two goals for the season: neither Penn State nor Northwestern has ever won at Assembly Hall. I want to continue those streaks. Beyond that, I have no real hopes or expectations for this season, but it will be interesting, both to IU fans and to rubberneckers from around the country.