As Indiana basketball prepares for the 2013-14 season, it's fairly obvious that this year's team will be much different than the Big Ten champions of 2012-13. The familiar faces of Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls are gone. The Hoosiers will not be able to win games the way they did a season ago.
A refreshed roster means Indiana must devise a new strategy for picking up Ws. It's up to Tom Crean and his staff to figure out the new plan. Lucky for them, this article should provide some help.
This slideshow will identify five things the Hoosiers must do in order to be successful next season. The slides were ranked in order of how integral accomplishing the task is to Indiana's success.
All-American center Cody Zeller is gone, and 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game left with him. Tasked with replacing him is a trio of inexperienced bigs, sophomores Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin and freshman Luke Fischer.
The two sophomores don't inspire much confidence based on their first year in Bloomington. Mosquera-Perea only averaged 0.9 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Jurkin played in just three games, but in his defense, he missed most of the season because of a suspension and injury.
Freshman Luke Fischer looks solid on tape, but it's still unknown how he will adjust to bigger and better competition.
One of these players, or a combination of the three, must give IU a low-post presence.
Indiana has to find a quality big or it will be in big trouble.
Losing at home is a cardinal sin in college basketball. Because home court is such an advantage, not winning in your own arena is an enormous wasted opportunity.
Most likely, Indiana will not be as strong as it was last season. This means it won't be as good on the road (7-2 in 2012-13).
In order to combat that, the Hoosiers must be flawless in Assembly Hall.
The Big Ten is going to be incredibly competitive once again, and the Hoosiers are an enigma. With so many new players coming in, it's hard to predict how the team will perform.
An inexperienced Indiana will not fare well on the road. Defending home court could be the difference between an NIT appearance and an NCAA tournament bid.
Yogi Ferrell has to play at an all-conference level this year for the Hoosiers to be competitive. His most important stat won't be points, but assists.
Outside of him and Will Sheehey, the starting lineup will be most likely composed of inexperienced newcomers. As point guard, it's Ferrell's job to get them involved.
The best way to get new players adjusted to the heightened level of competition is by boosting their confidence. Confidence comes from making shots. Therefore, Ferrell must be an expert distributor and put his younger teammates in position for easy buckets.
He averaged 4.1 assists per game game last season. If Ferrell ups that number to around six or seven, the Hoosiers will be in good shape.
Senior guard and last season's Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year Will Sheehey is finally ready for his close-up. After years of being overshadowed Cody Zeller, Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo, Sheehey is in the spotlight.
He is the team's most experienced player and leading returning scorer (9.5 PPG). Tom Crean needs to put his faith in the explosive senior.
He has improved this summer. First, he made the United States team for the World University Games, which was no easy task. At the tournament, while playing against some of the best competition the world had to offer, Sheehey averaged 10.6 points per game.
He is poised for a breakout season. Crean must get the ball in his hands and give him opportunities to score.
Sheehey is the heart and soul of this team. Crean needs to support and instill confidence in him, which in turn should help him play to his potential. The younger players will follow his lead, and the Hoosiers will suddenly become a very dangerous team.
Sheehey is capable of carrying Indiana to a third straight NCAA tournament. He just needs the chance to do so.
The freshman has added pound after pound of muscle and now weighs 241. Combine that with his 6'9" frame and 7'4" wingspan, and the ingredients for a dynamic player are there.
Similar to what was stated in the last slide about Will Sheehey, Tom Crean must trust Vonleh. This youngster needs to be a featured part of Indiana's attack. He has enough talent to be an all-conference player. It's up to Crean to let the tiger out of the cage.
An offensive assault featuring Vonleh and Sheehey with point guard Yogi Ferrell distributing them the ball would be a nightmare for opposing teams. In order to create that scenario, Crean must constantly push Vonleh when he needs it and support him when things aren't going his way.
Vonleh will have his ups and downs as a freshman. It's important Crean is by his side during both. He is the type of player who can put Indiana on his back and help the Hoosiers make some noise.
It's up to Crean to make Vonleh an integral part of his system and get the most out of him while he's in a Hoosier uniform.