2012-13 Indiana Hoosiers College Basketball PreviewHead Coach: Tom Crean
2011-12: 27-9 (11-7 Big Ten), lost to Kentucky in Sweet 16
Odds to win NCAA Title: 13/2
Betting Odds from Bovada
Indiana is the No. 1 team in the country behind the strength of Cody Zeller and Christian Watford, both of whom could easily be in the NBA right now but instead chose to return to IU. The Hoosiers only got richer, bringing in a top-10 recruit class. The success is welcome after going 28-66 the three seasons prior to last year.
Last season, the Indiana offense was great in Big Ten play, ranking first with 77.3 points per game and shooting 49.2 percent from the floor. Their defense ostensibly could use some work, but when they are putting up scoring numbers and winning by an average of 11 per game, only so much fault can be found. Teams can’t keep up with IU scoring, so Zeller’s interior defense should be enough to ward off any surges by inferior opponents.
Zeller is the headliner for this team. He led the team in scoring and rebounding last year, and projects to be a top-3 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He could have already gone top 10 in 2012 but said he wasn’t ready to make the leap. He’s been training hard in the weight room to prepare his body for the next level, but his sights for the meantime remain on bringing Indiana an NCAA title.
Watford averaged 16.7 points and 7.7 rebounds over Indiana’s final seven games, and he averaged 12.6 and 5.8 over the season. He, like Zeller, should be a first round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and the Hoosiers will also have senior guard Jordan Hulls (11.7 points per game in 2011-12) and junior guard Victor Oladipo (10.8 points per game).
Hulls and Oladipo form a great backcourt, one which is interchangeable at the guard positions, as Oladipo took on more ball handling responsibilities last season. Oladipo led the Hoosiers in threes with 72 on the season, while hitting 49 percent from behind the arc. Phenom freshman Yogi Ferrell will make a big difference off the bench, too, only further strengthening the IU backcourt. Remy Abell should be much improved, and Will Sheehey will see an increase from last year’s 22 minutes per game.
Indiana will be there in March, but can they do it this year? It will hinge on how well they incorporate their newcomers, as well as remaining healthy of course. If Zeller and Watford both are at full strength, IU should contend, but will have to stave off a tough Kentucky Wildcats team—the same team that bounced them last March.