It offers no consolation, but Hoosiers fans have a lot to look forward to next year.
Indiana was bounced out of the NCAA tournament courtesy of the Syracuse Orange, 61-50, in the Sweet 16. The Hoosiers had struggled from three-point range in their previous two games, and it continued on Thursday night, only this time it came back to bite them.
The defeat is a bitter pill to swallow considering Indiana had held the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll for 10 weeks, including the preseason poll.
Fear not, though, as Tom Crean should be able to return the Hoosiers back to the elite of the Big Ten next season.
The Hoosiers will likely get gutted before the NBA draft. Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls are graduating, with Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo almost certainly leaving college early. That's 52.5 points per game walking out the door. It's hard to replace 66.0 percent of your offense from the previous season.
However, Crean will be able to make up the difference both with the players returning and those coming in next season.
Indiana had a very strong 2012 recruiting class, the stars of which were Kevin Ferrell, Hanner Perea and Jeremy Hollowell. Ferrell was a key player this season, but Hollowell and Perea should thrive when given more playing time next season.
Ferrell will be the floor general. He averaged 4.2 assists this season. With this year under his belt, Ferrell should be a much better player and stronger leader next season. Hollowell can be a scoring threat from everywhere around the court, especially from three-point range. Perea is a great athlete and should bring some defensive presence to the team.
Will Sheehey will bring the senior leadership in addition to some steady production. He's not going to wow anybody with his skills, but he's the kind of role player that every top team needs.
Then, of course, there's yet another strong recruiting class coming in this season.
Noah Vonleh is the headliner. He's very strong on the boards and a freakish athlete. Vonleh can get up and down the floor very quick, which should be great in Crean's system.
Troy Williams will be a very good athletic small forward. His shooting needs work, but he can get to the basket. Plus, with his size and length, Williams is a very good defender on the perimeter.
The third prize recruit is Stanford Robinson. He brings a much better perimeter shooting game. Much like Williams, he's also very strong on the defensive end of the floor.
Losing in the tournament with such a talented team is never fun. Indiana fans should take solace in the fact this team is ready to reload for next season.
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