2018 Indiana Hoosiers Basketball Predictions with Odds and Expert Picks
This is the second year of the Archie Miller era in Bloomington. Tom Crean was in charge for a decade, so some transitional pain was inevitable. And, indeed, last year hurt a bit - they limped to a 16-15 record with a couple of ugly losses and didn't even make the NIT. They improved noticeably on defense from the previous year but were offensively horrible - the kind of play that can give you nightmares at times - and that is what got in their way too often. But the off year sure didn't hurt recruiting. A Top 10 class arrived in Bloomington this summer, and Indiana can't help but be improved. The question, though, is how much improvement there will be.
Indiana Hoosiers Additions/Losses
The team got lucky in what they didn't lose. Leading scorer Juwan Morgan, a forward, declared for the draft without an agent and then returned to school. But they did lose five seniors to graduation, and they made up a starting lineup of sorts - two guards, two forwards and a center. Second-leading scorer Robert Johnson, a guard, was the only player other than Morgan who scored in the double digits. Johnson was also the leader in minutes played by almost five minutes a game. Three other departed players were also members of the rotation, including Josh Newkirk, who narrowly led the team in assists.
The five-person recruiting class was ranked as high as seventh nationally by Rivals. It is headlined by Romeo Langford, the first five-star player Miller has ever recruited and the first at Indiana since Cody Zeller in 2011. Langford is the consensus seventh overall player in the class and second rated shooting guard behind only top overall player R.J. Barrett. He will step right into the starting lineup and has the potential to be one of the best players in the Big Ten this year. Also included in the class are forward Damezi Anderson and point guard Robert Phinisee. Anderson and Phinisee were the other two finalists for the Indiana Mr. Basketball award won by Langford, so Miller really did a great job of taking care of their home state. Forward Jerome Hunter is the third four-star. Anderson, Phinisee and Hunter all have a chance to contribute, but it isn't crucial that they do. And the final recruit is forward Jake Forrester, the lowest-rated recruit but still one with plenty of upside.
Also joining the team is Evan Fitzner, a grad transfer who started seven games at Saint Mary's last year. He'll get a chance to join the rotation.
Indiana Hoosiers Outlook
The starting lineup will likely feature Langford lining up beside junior point guard Devonte Green. The front court is experienced, with Morgan and junior center De'Ron Davis all but certain to start, and redshirt senior forward Zach McRoberts, who wasn't massively effective last year, most likely to start at SF as well. McRoberts' position isn't very secure, though, as he'll be pushed by two of the freshmen and by Justin Smith and Aljami Durham, who both played in 31 games last year. Miller has a lot of depth to work with and a fair bit of talent. The rest of the frontcourt is likely to be more of a short rotation, with the two starters and Fitzner likely to eat the bulk of the minutes.
Indiana Hoosiers Schedule
The nonconference schedule is tough but could be tougher. Their preseason tournament is the Hardwood Showcase right there in Bloomington. Because they are hosting it, they put together a laughably weak slate of games - Montana State, UT Arlington and UC Davis. The fourth opponent, and only road game in the tournament, Arkansas, is tougher than the others but not great. They also host Marquette during that stretch, which will be a tough game. And right after the tournament they play their toughest game of the nonconference season, and perhaps of the whole year, when they travel to Duke for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. They also have games against Louisville and Butler - two teams, like Indiana, that have a wide range of possible outcomes for their season.
The Big Ten schedule could certainly be tougher. They don't play more than two road games in a row, and they don't have two really tough games in a row at any time. The closest is when they play Wisconsin and Michigan State in five days, but both are at home and the Badgers aren't likely to be at their best this year.
Indiana Hoosiers Futures Odds
It's not a thing, but if it was the Hoosiers would be ranked 28th in the preseason poll based on the number of votes they received. Oddsmakers appear to be more optimistic. At +4000 to win the national title at Bovada , they are behind just 12 other teams.
Indiana Hoosiers Predictions
Langford is a special talent - a one-and-done type of guy who is capable of lifting this team on his shoulders. And he won't have to do it alone - Morgan is proven, and there is a lot of upside elsewhere. The team will have much more offense without necessarily sacrificing defense. Michigan State and Michigan should be the two best teams in the Big Ten, but it feels like Indiana should be in a tight battle for third with their neighbor Purdue. If I was forced to take sides, I'd take Indiana.
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