The Indiana Hoosiers are coming off of a great season where they went 27-9 and lost to the eventual national champions Kentucky in the Sweet 16. They return all their key players and gain five more freshmen that are arguably one of the best recruiting classes in the country. With all the star power returning and dominate freshmen, the Hoosiers are the odds-on favorite to win next year’s national championship in Atlanta and enter the season as the No. 1 ranked team.
I think all the hype for the Hoosiers will be a good thing. With the upperclassmen leadership, I don’t think they will allow the hype to get to the team. The entire roster seems determined to make a run at the championship, and are more focused than ever before.
The juniors and seniors have played in big moments and have been through the highs and lows. They know what it’s like to be near the bottom, and now the top—and know what it takes to stay at the top.
That allows the younger guys to succeed and not have as big of a role off the bat.
Almost every other major program loses all their stars to the NBA draft and has to rebuild with incoming freshmen. It’s hard to win with such young immature players when you’re playing against a better all-around team. Indiana doesn’t have that problem as they return everyone and can let the freshmen mature and learn behind successful upperclassmen.
I think the hype also allows for the fans to get wild and give Indiana an even bigger homecourt advantage. We all know Assembly Hall in Bloomington was one of the toughest places to play last season, as the Hoosiers beat three Top 5 ranked teams there. This year, the hype and expectations of a national title will make it even crazier, as demand for season tickets is as high as it's ever been.
I think all the hype is not a good thing, but a great thing—as I don’t see anyone stopping the Hoosiers on paper. The only way someone beats Indiana next year is if they’re having an off night. Attitude, effort and hype won’t be a problem for coach Tom Crean and the Hoosiers.