If you follow IU basketball it's easy to see that they are on the up and up and will be back in title contention very soon.
Tom Crean has built up tons of buzz around Hoosier State that has fans, and more importantly, recruits, believing the Hoosiers are National Championship bound in the near future.
This year, Crean was able to land his best recruit to date, Cody Zeller, who definitely has All-Big Ten potential. He will be the first true big man IU has had since DJ White and will have tons of playing time in his Freshman year to show what he can do.
Crean also has built a recruiting class for next year that is currently #1 in the country including 5 star prospects, PF Hanner Parea and PG Kevin "Yogi" Ferell. On top of that, Crean has also had 4 of the top recruits in the country, who won't even step foot on a college campus until 2013 or 2014, already commit to play their college ball in B-Town, including HS Freshman phenom Tre Lyles.
Since the future looks so bright for IU, it's easy to write off the present, but here are 5 goals IU should have for this season that will help them get back to the promise land as soon as possible.
Since taking over as head coach of the Hoosiers three seasons ago, Crean has only been able to pull off one Big Ten road win, and that was at Penn State.
With so many great teams in the Big Ten, it is vital that you take care of your “must win” games versus weaker opponents, ex. Penn State, Iowa and Northwestern.
This season is crucial for IU to gain experience playing on the road because it’s nearly impossible to go from one road win in three seasons to seven or eight in one season. If IU wants to compete with the big guns in the conference sooner rather than later, winning a couple road games versus quality Big Ten opponents is a necessity this season.
Since joining IU two seasons ago, Watford has had to play the power forward position because of IU’s lack of frontcourt depth. Even though he’s been IU’s most productive player over that time, scoring 16 ppg last season, you can tell he’s built like a small forward and plays like one too.
Next season, when he’s playing with PF Hanner Parea and C Cody Zeller, Watford will be able to move back to where he belongs.
His 6-9 height and almost 7-foot wingspan will cause many mismatches at the SF position on both ends of the floor. His above average outside shot and driving ability will greatly benefit from him getting matched up with small forwards as appose to bigger power forwards.
One of the biggest reasons IU has had trouble closing out close games recently is because of their lack of a dominant perimeter defender.
The Hoosiers need to find that guy who will lock down the opposing teams best scorer in crunch time.
Maybe it’ll be Oladipo, Sheehey or Watford or maybe it will turn out to be one of the freshman, Abell or Etherington, but either way the Hoosiers need to know who they can count on to step it up defensively during the big moments of close games if they want to leave those games with Ws and not Ls.
Before going down with a season ending knee injury two seasons ago, Mo was performing at an extremely high level. He was leading all freshmen in scoring, including John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, with 16.4 ppg, and was shooting an astounding 45% from three.
Watching him last season though, you can tell he was still working on getting his confidence back and didn’t play anything like the Mo Creek we all fell in love with during his freshman season.
Being over a full year removed from surgery, Mo will hopefully be able to regain that elite scoring ability that the Hoosiers definitely need from the guard position.
I know this one’s pretty obvious, but with one scholarship still open, the Hoosiers should look to add another highly touted recruit to their recruiting class that’s already #1 in the country.
Adding a player like Gary Harris or Mitch McGary to their already star studded recruiting class would solidify that #1 ranking as well as have fans calling this group the new “Fab 5”.