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Indiana Basketball: How Hoosiers Match Up with Every B1G Team Right Now

Kyle GrandFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2013

Indiana Basketball: How Hoosiers Match Up with Every B1G Team Right Now

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    The Indiana basketball team finished the season on top of the Big Ten standings. It barely edged out Michigan State and Ohio State for its first outright regular-season title since 1993.

    Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, they are losing seven players from their championship team. Winning back-to-back regular-season championships will be a tough task.

    This slideshow will discuss how Indiana stacks up right now against every Big Ten opponent. Each matchup will be described as favorable towards Indiana, even, or the Hoosiers are outmatched.

Purdue Boilermakers (16-18, 8-10): Even

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    While the Purdue Boilermakers had a subpar 2012-13 season, they will be much improved next year. Led by the Johnson brothers of Terone and Ronnie as well as A.J. Hammons, look for Purdue to take teams by surprise.

    Purdue's incoming class is solid. The class is headlined by Kendall Stephens, who is ranked No. 65 in ESPNU's Top 100. He is a 6'9" shooting guard that can light it up from deep.

    When the Hoosiers face Purdue, they will have to figure out how to defend Hammons. Standing at 7'0", he will be a nightmare for undersized Indiana. This season, he showed what he is capable of when he scored 30 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked five shots against the Hoosiers.  

    IU swept the Boilermakers this season. Don't be shocked if Purdue causes problems for Indiana in 2013-14.

Northwestern Wildcats (13-19, 4-14): Favorable

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    Northwestern struggled this season, and next year should be more of the same. The conference is loaded with good teams, and they don't have the talent to compete. 

    What Northwestern has going in its favor is that Drew Crawford is returning. Crawford averaged 13.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game this season. New head coach Chris Collins will need to him to put up similar numbers for the Wildcats to compete.

    Outside of Crawford, the rest of the roster shouldn't cause Indiana any headaches. The Hoosiers will be young next year, but their talent is superior.

    IU should take care of business against the Wildcats.

Michigan Wolverines (31-8, 12-6): Outmatch

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    The Michigan Wolverines are going to be very dangerous in 2013-14. They may be losing Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., but Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary are returning. Michigan is adding the No. 12 ranked recruiting class, according to Rivals.com.

    The Hoosiers defeated the Wolverines twice this season in large part because of Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo. Those two, plus five more Hoosiers, are departing. IU is losing much more talent than Michigan.

    Because Robinson III, McGary and Nik Stauskas are coming back, Michigan retains a good portion of its 2012-13 team. The experience those three bring is a key difference-maker. 

    Indiana will have to find an answer for McGary. His energy is constant, and his size will make him a terror in the paint.

    Look for Indiana to struggle when they have to face the 2013 NCAA tournament runner-up.

Penn State Nittany Lions (10-21, 2-16): Favorable

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    There is a reason why Penn State is known for its football program. The basketball team had an abysmal 2012-13 season. They finished dead last in the Big Ten.

    What's good for the Nittany Lions is the only direction they can move in the standings is up. 

    Penn State loses four players but gains four with its recruiting class. One of the newcomers is Julian Moore. The 6'9" center is a raw talent but has plenty of potential. He should improve drastically throughout the season, giving Penn State a threat down low.

    This season, the Hoosiers demolished Penn State 74-51 in the first game and 72-49 in the second. Indiana is just going to be better a team than the Nittany Lions in 2013-14.

    Expect similar results when these two face each other.

Iowa Hawkeyes (25-13, 9-9): Outmatch

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    Iowa is poised for an excellent 2013-14 season. They finished sixth in the conference this season and are returning every player on the roster except one (Eric May). 

    The Hawkeyes are led by Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White. Look for this pair to be a deadly combination.

    The reason why they are a difficult assignment for Indiana is continuity. Returning that many players is going to work in Iowa's favor. The coaching staff only has to worry about developing the roster, not teaching schemes, because everyone there is already familiar. 

    IU has to integrate six freshmen into the program. This inexperience puts Indiana at a severe disadvantage. 

Wisconsin Badgers (23-12, 12-6): Even

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    Wisconsin might not always be the most talented team, but they always find a way to compete.

    The Badgers won’t have the nucleus of its team next year. Jared Berggren, Mike Bruesewitz and Ryan Evans are graduating.

    The recruiting class is solid but nothing to get too excited about. So, why will Wisconsin not be an easy opponent?

    Bo Ryan is the reason.

    The Wisconsin coach has Indiana’s number. The Badgers have won 12 straight against the Hoosiers. This year, Indiana had superior talent and lost to Wisconsin both times they played. Tom Crean has yet to beat Wisconsin. He still hasn’t figured out how to outsmart Ryan.

    It doesn’t matter that IU will once again have better players on paper. Ryan knows how to negate Indiana’s advantages, giving his team a chance to win.

Illinois Fighting Illini (23-13, 8-10): Favorable

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    Much like the Hoosiers, Illinois is losing its best talent. Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and Tyler Griffey are leaving. 

    Illinois is adding some quality players. Rivals.com thinks it has the No. 17 recruiting class in the country. Incoming guards Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill headline this class. While this is great for the Fighting Illini, IU's recruits are better.

    When these teams play, expect a ton of youth to be on the court.

    The guard play of IU will be the difference against Illinois. Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey should be able to take advantage of an inexperienced Illinois backcourt.  

Ohio State Buckeyes (29-8, 13-5): Outmatch

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    The Ohio State Buckeyes should yet again be a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten. This team has the makeup to be problematic for the Hoosiers.

    The only major loss for the Buckeyes is leading scorer Deshaun Thomas. While he was the team's best player, point guard Aaron Craft should be able to keep the OSU ship afloat.

    The Buckeyes bring back key contributors Lenzelle Smith Jr., Amir Williams and LaQuinton Ross. Joining them in Columbus are two ESPNU 'Top 100 recruits, No. 58 Kameron Williams and No. 62 Marc Loving.

    Ohio State will be experienced and deep. Craft leads a defense that has the size and speed to constantly bother a young Indiana squad.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (15-18, 5-13): Favorable

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    Nebraska's second year in the Big Ten didn't go so well. The Cornhuskers won just a single conference road game (at Penn State). They should be another team IU will handle with little trouble.

    Leaving Nebraska are two of its top three scorers. They will have to rely on its freshmen class to fill the void left by Dylan Talley and Brandon Ubel

    IU outclasses Nebraska in every way. The only thing that could hold the Hoosiers back against Nebraska would be having to play them on the road.

Michigan State Spartans (27-9, 13-5): Outmatch

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    Michigan State is capable of winning more than just a regular-season Big Ten title. They will be talented enough to win a national championship.

    The Spartans are losing just one player, Derrick Nix. Gary Harris and Adreian Payne decided to return to East Lansing. This gives Michigan State the most talented team in the Big Ten. 

    Indiana has exciting players entering the program, but they will be overshadowed by the Spartans. Michigan State has superior size and experience in the post with Payne and a dynamic playmaker in Harris.

    On top of this, Keith Appling is returning. He pairs nicely with Harris and brings valuable experience to the backcourt.

    Michigan State is set for a successful season, and unfortunately the Hoosiers will have to cross its path. 

Minnesota Golden Gophers (21-13, 8-10): Favorable

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    The Golden Gophers could be headed for a serious downturn. They replaced head coach Tubby Smith with Richard Pitino. Minnesota is also losing two of its most important players from last season, Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams.

    The loss of Mbakwe is costly. Minnesota now lacks size in the post. He was Minnesota's most efficient player with a player efficiency rating of 24.9, per sports-reference.com. The Hoosiers should be able to score in the lane with ease.

    The Golden Gophers program is in transition and has signed just one recruit so far for next season. The Hoosiers will take advantage of Minnesota's situation.  

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