Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
It's no lie that this year's team isn't as talented as the previous one. The players who led IU to a conference title no longer suit up for the Hoosiers.
Still, Indiana has enough talent to make some noise in the Big Ten. Assembly Hall is a great advantage on Indiana's side. It will defend home court and surprise at least one of the conference's predicted top teams (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State) when they come to Bloomington.
The absolute best case Hoosier fans can hope for is a top-three finish in the conference, and that's pushing it. This type of record would be a major success considering the brand-new roster and tough teams in the Big Ten.
As far as the NCAA tournament is concerned, Indiana making it to a third straight Sweet 16 would be a major accomplishment. This year, IU simply doesn't have the firepower to get the program to the next level.
If the young players Crean brought in don't mesh with Ferrell and Sheehey, or can't adjust to the college game, the Hoosiers are in trouble.
Putting all of the scoring duties on Ferrell and Sheehey wears them down throughout the season. Without more options, defenses key on them, and the offense struggles mightily.
The losses begin to pile up, and the team can't get any momentum. IU finishes in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings and is on the NCAA tournament bubble.
Without a signature win, the Hoosiers head to the NIT, and Crean heads back to the drawing board.