Indiana Basketball: Complete Roster, Season Preview for 2013-14 Hoosiers
After months of waiting, Indiana basketball returns to action this week. The 2013-14 season starts when Chicago State visits Assembly Hall on November 8.
With the start of the season only days away, this slideshow will serve as a complete guide to this year's squad.
Inside, you will find a roster breakdown, discussion of the team's X-factors, predictions and more.
Let's take a look at what head coach Tom Crean and his Indiana Hoosiers have in store for us this year.
Indiana's roster is chock-full of new players, and the two most important are freshman Noah Vonleh and senior Evan Gordon, who transferred from Arizona State.
The 5-star recruit Vonleh, via Rivals.com, is a lock for IU's starting lineup. His versatility is going to be key this season. He can play on the wing or down low, and his ridiculous length (7'4" wingspan) will make him a defensive nightmare.
Expect Vonleh to make his presence known on defense while his offense adjusts to the college game. He may not lead IU in scoring, but there will be games when he carries the Hoosiers offensively.
Evan Gordon is a seasoned vet, and his presence will be valuable seeing as Indiana is a young team.
The Hoosiers need a new sixth man with Will Sheehey moving to the starting lineup, and Gordon is definitely a candidate. He can play point or shooting guard and is a proven scorer.
This season, when IU needs a spark, look for Tom Crean to count on Gordon to get the Hoosiers going.
The conversation on who are Indiana's key returners starts and ends with Yogi Ferrell and Sheehey. These two are the team's most experienced players and its de facto leaders.
Being such a young team, IU will go through its fair share of ups and downs. Ferrell and Sheehey need to be the constants throughout. If they show any doubt during the season, the other Hoosiers are likely to follow suit.
Expect these two, especially Ferrell, to carry IU offensively. Ferrell is Indiana's best creator. He averaged more than four assists per game last year, and that number should increase.
Because he's one of the main cogs in Indiana's wheel, don't be surprised to see him look for his own shot more than he did a season ago.
Sheehey is used to being the first player off the bench, but his role has changed. Now he's a starter, and he faces the pressure to produce on a nightly basis.
Sheehey needs to stick to what he knows. He must attack the basket and knock down mid-range jump shots.
If he does those two things consistently, he and the Hoosiers will be just fine.
Roster and Projected Rotation
Indiana's rotation is going to be completely different than it has been the past two seasons, including a massive overhaul to the starting lineup.
Projected Starters: Yogi Ferrell (G), Will Sheehey (G), Troy Williams (F), Jeremy Hollowell (F) and Noah Vonleh (F).
This is the lineup Tom Crean has used during the exhibition season. It's very nontraditional with Noah Vonleh as the "big man." Williams has impressed Crean enough to earn a spot as a starter, and Jeremy Hollowell is poised for a breakout season.
Don't get too attached to this starting five. Depending on how things go in the beginning of the season, this group could easily change.
Off the Bench: Evan Gordon (G), Hanner Mosquera-Perea (F), Luke Fischer (C), Stanford Robinson (G) and Austin Etherington (F).
Gordon and Robinson have each looked impressive at least one time during the exhibition season. Their scoring touch will be needed throughout the year. The Hoosiers need a true inside presence and are hoping Mosquera-Perea or Fischer can provide it.
Reserves: Colin Hartman (F), Andrew Calomeris (G), Devin Davis (F), Peter Jurkin (C), Jonny Marlin (G), Taylor Wayer (G), Joe Fagan (G) and Jeff Howard (F).
Click here to view the team's roster.
The Hoosiers' biggest X-factors this year are Mosquera-Perea and Troy Williams.
Mosquera-Perea came to IU with a lot of hype attached to his name. As a freshman, he was a letdown, averaging just 0.9 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
The Hoosiers are desperate for someone who can play down low since the departure of Cody Zeller. If Mosquera-Perea can play to the potential he showed in high school, the Hoosiers may have found the answer to their low-post questions.
Like Mosquera-Perea, the freshman Williams is a big-name recruit. The 4-star recruit by Rivals.com is super athletic, but his shooting is a concern.
He can be a prolific scorer, but his superior athleticism will only take him so far. Can Williams be effective at the college level?
If he can make defense worry about him, he will open up scoring opportunities for his teammates. With a reliable jump shot, Williams will do just that, and the Hoosiers will be a much more dangerous team.
If Williams struggles, expect Crean to have auditions for his spot in the rotation.
Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios
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.
Regular-Season Prediction: Fifth in Big Ten Conference
The Hoosiers fall down the Big Ten standings but not by much. They won't be in the running for a second straight Big Ten title, but they will finish in the top half of the conference. Teams such as Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State are just too good for Indiana to retain the Big Ten crown.
Postseason Tournament Prediction: Third Round of NCAA Tournament
Indiana will make the NCAA tournament with ease. The program is definitely back to the point where anything less than the NCAA tournament is a failure, and this team won't backslide.
Once in the tournament, however, getting to a third straight Sweet 16 will be difficult. The youth and lack of a true go-to option like Cody Zeller or Victor Oladipo will cost Indiana in March. Unless someone on the current roster shows they can perform in crunch time, Indiana will struggle late in games.
IU will win one tournament game before losing in an attempt to get back to the Sweet 16.