Nearly all the polls of every sports publication, magazine, Internet and TV show are out, and Indiana is the unanimous No. 1-ranked team in all of them. The Hoosiers have arguably the most hype and attention to win the national championship as any team in recent memory.
In the past, no one could point to a clear title favorite. Teams were constantly rebuilding with freshmen every year. Granted, they would reload, but it's hard to put a team as a title threat with freshmen.
Another reason why no one could pinpoint a clear title threat is because college basketball is so even among top programs and mid-majors. The Butler Bulldogs made it to two straight title games and many top teams were upset every year.
This season is different.
Indiana not only returns all five starters, but it returns many of the players from last year's Sweet 16 team. The Hoosiers beat three top-five-ranked teams last season and their core guys return. They also brought in a talented group of four freshmen.
With all that talent, how do you pick against them?
The Hoosiers will not only live up to the hype, but should go through the season with ease. Yes, they will at some point lose a game, but this team is just too deep, talented and well coached to struggle.
When it comes time to play in the tournament, they should win like Kentucky did last year. Not one team is as deep as the Hoosiers, and not one team is as talented. The Hoosiers will wear teams down with their depth and get many teams in foul trouble. When teams are going to their benches, Indiana can bring off guys that could start at any other program to play against them.
I don't think this team will have any issues this year. If they were all freshmen and other teams had the depth coming back, I'd say they could struggle some, but this isn't the '90s anymore. I'll take a talented, deep team with experience over a team filled with freshmen any day.