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Tuesday, Feb. 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

With ‘The Movement” on its way, questions remain for Indiana basketball next season

Will any freshmen crack the starting lineup?

After returning just 32 points to the roster four years ago, IU will bring back all five starters and 85 percent of its starting lineup next season. Based off those numbers, the answer to this question would seem like a pretty obvious “No.” However, IU Coach Tom Crean is bringing in a top-five recruiting class with multiple players ranked in the top 50 by various news organizations.

Unlike the past few seasons, the starting lineup remained relatively consistent throughout the season with the same five starting the final nine games of the season. Perhaps the most important factor regarding the freshmen class is if they can accept roles they might not have been used to in the past with an already established rotation.

Can Jordan Hulls and Yogi Ferrell mesh on the court together?

Ferrell, IU’s lone McDonald’s All-American, seems to be the most likely to start among the freshman class. He is coming off a near triple-double in the IHSAA 2A State Finals on Saturday and has been in the spotlight ever since being ranked the No. 1 fourth grader in the nation back in 2004.

Hulls, a captain this season, is the unquestioned leader heading into the offseason, and it would be hard to imagine a starting lineup without the Bloomington native in it. A starting backcourt of Ferrell and Hulls would give the Hoosiers two very capable ball handlers and allow for either to play off the ball. Whether the two can play together will probably depend on if either of them can defend the shooting guard position.

What is the status of Maurice Creek?

It’s hard to believe it was more than two years ago that Creek scored a game-high 31 points against Kentucky during his freshman season.

Injuries to each leg during the past two seasons have slowed his development. Creek is determined to make a recovery, and Crean has said repeatedly that he expects the junior guard to make a comeback.

With the potential loss of senior guard Matt Roth, Creek could give IU another shooter, and if he can return to being a player close to the form of his freshman season, IU will add yet another weapon to an already potent offense.

How will IU handle its scholarship situation?

Perhaps the most important question heading into the off-season is how IU will lose one scholarship before next fall. IU over-signed by one player in the 2012 class and therefore has to have one player leave the program between now and the summer.

It is hard to pinpoint one player as a possible transfer as everyone in the sophomore and junior classes played significant roles this season, and even freshman Remy Abell saw extended minutes late in the season. Flashback to 2008-09, when IU was scrambling to field a roster, and now the talent influx has put the coaching staff in a numbers crunch.

Is IU the preseason favorite in the Big Ten next year?

If forwards Christian Watford and Cody Zeller come back next season, one would expect IU to be near the top of the Big Ten next season. Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin all will lose All-Big Ten First Team players. After capturing a share of the Big Ten Regular Season crown this year, Michigan would seem to be the favorite.

However, the Wolverines had three players transfer this past week, and Co-Big Ten Freshman of the Year Trey Burke is considering turning pro. If Burke returns, the Wolverines will probably be the favorite thanks to a recruiting class that rivals that of Indiana. The Hoosiers made the climb from the basement of the Big Ten to fifth place this season, and one can expect another jump to the top next fall.

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