Roundup: Updated way-too-early preseason top 25s for 2016-2017

  • 05/29/2016 1:36 pm in

With last Wednesday’s deadline to withdraw for the NBA draft, updated top 25s for the 2016-2017 college basketball season are beginning to trickle out.

In recent weeks, we’ve learned plenty about Indiana’s roster for next season. Troy Williams is off to the NBA draft, but OG Anunoby, Thomas Bryant and James Blackmon Jr. are all staying in Bloomington. Freddie McSwain joined the five-man 2016 recruiting class. And the Hoosiers had just one transfer – walk-on Harrison Niego.

Here’s a look at where the Hoosiers stand in several updated preseason top 25s for the 2016-2017 season:

Eamonn Brennan of No. 11

The biggest announcement of Indiana’s offseason came long before May 25. For months, it seemed certain freshman centerThomas Bryant, a potential first-round pick, would be done after one. Not so much. Bryant’s return was the cornerstone, an implicit guarantee of baseline success. From there, IU had two more decisions to resolve. By May 25, both were foregone conclusions: James Blackmon Jr., still recovering from injury and merely gathering NBA info, was always going to return, and Troy Williams was determined to stay in, long-shot projections be damned. Even so, Blackmon and Robert Johnson will let Tom Crean surround his elite big man with another ball-moving, pace-pushing perimeter, and the result should be as fun as ever.

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports: No. 8

Outlook: Indiana emerged as one of the big early-entry period winners because the Hoosiers lost only one of their four potential draft prospects. Yes, they said goodbye to the talented but erratic Williams. But keeping Bryant, Anunoby and Blackmon was huge, especially considering Bryant showed enough as a freshman that he likely would have been taken in the first round and Anunoby had flashed enough raw potential to be a potential second-round flier for a franchise willing to develop him. With those two back, Indiana’s strength should be in the frontcourt, as Hartman, Morgan and the promising freshman Davis are also capable of making an impact. There’s no single player who will replace everything that Ferrell did for Indiana this past season, but Indiana has options in the backcourt too. Newkirk, a Pittsburgh transfer, should compete for playing time at point guard with Johnson. A healthy Blackmon is likely to start at wing and Jones should also see playing time as well.

Rob Dauster of No. 14

Why they’re here: The Hoosiers are another team that is very up in the air at this point, even with Thomas Bryant back in the fold. Blackmon and Anunoby should be key, but Williams’ loss hurts and Yogi’s graduation is a massive void.

Gary Parrish of No. 11

It’s always difficult to project how a team will respond to losing a top-shelf point guard like Yogi Ferrell. But there are enough good pieces returning at Indiana — Thomas Bryant, OG Anunoby, James Blackman, etc., — to make it reasonable to expect the Hoosiers to not slip much, if at all, especially if Pitt transfer Josh Newkirk is as solid as Tom Crean’s staff believes. No. 17

Yogi Ferrell (graduation) and Troy Williams (early entry) are both gone, but OG Anunoby, Collin Hartman and Thomas Bryant should make up one heck of a frontcourt. James Blackmon returns as a high-level scorer, and Pitt transfer Josh Newkirk is eligible and waiting for Ferrell’s spot.

The Big Lead: No. 10

The good news – star center Thomas Bryant is back. The bad – Troy Williams went to the NBA. Depending on what Hoosiers fans you talk to, there’s no bad news there. Anyway, OG Anunoby and James Blackmon should be difference-makers, but this team really needs a point guard, but replacing Yogi Ferrell is going to be impossible.

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  • pcantidote

    Villanova was 9th in last year’s pre-season coaches poll. Proven wrong.

  • BL4IU

    Following are Yogi’s stats in the biggest games last year through the end of the BIG season. Data is as follows: FG’s made and attempted; 3FG’s made and attempted; Assists to TO’s.

    Duke 6/16; 1/5; 5/0
    ND 2/7; 2/4; 2/5
    Wiscy 6/14; 1/4; 2/5
    Wiscy 12/20; 5/6; 1/4
    Mich 6/10; 3/6; 9/1
    PSU 3/12; 1/6; 5/5
    Iowa 2/12; 2/9; 1/2
    MSU 3/10; 1/6; 7/2
    PU 7/13; 3/7; 4/2
    Iowa 7/19; 4/8; 5/5
    Mary 5/11; 1/5; 4/2

    Funny, when you said “Yogi shows up in big games for the most part”, I immediately thought, that’s not my recollection. In fact, that was always a major concern of mine. As the above stats illustrate, he was downright awful in 6 of the 11 games and Michigan was the only game where his stat line was good across the board.

    Didn’t go back and look at JBJ’s stats but my recollection is you’re correct; he too has had problems against the better teams.

  • TomJameson

    I think JBJ gets a bad rap also. That’s a strong word when talking about weak vs better teams. “Horrible”?? He probably didn’t play enough teams last year to get any meaningful statistics, so one would have to go back to his freshman year, and that’s not quite fair.

    I also think that his defense gets a bad rap. Not saying it was good, because it wasn’t, but everybody was playing bad defense. Don’t mean to open that can of worms again because it’s been debated way too much (and nobody changes their minds — lol).

    I was saying that the leadership qualities from Yogi will be missed the most. The offensive production will get back to what it was, it’ll just be different and spread out more. Just my take on things, plenty of other opinions out there, and that’s great!

    Good to hear from you OceanArcher!

  • Which 6 would you consider to be downright awful? His stats were awful against Iowa, but hit the game sealing 3 at the end.

    The best kids last year like Hield and valentine had off nights too (more than Yogi) Can’t dominate every game like vs Michigan. Playing well enough to lead your team to victory is what counts.

    JBJ had some forgettable 1/14 and 1/12 shooting nights + lazy D.

  • Good points. Hard to compare JBJ freshman performances on the road to a senior Yogi.

  • BL4IU

    C’mon OA, look at the stats. Take your pick. Awful shooting and in many games, as many or more TO’s than assists.

  • Hoosier Hall

    It’s definitely a crapshoot. They had us around 15th last season and that looked way off at the beginning of the year but by the end, that was pretty accurate. Plus, you have to leave the top 4 spots for UK, Duke, UNC and Kansas… as usual.

  • Hardwood83

    I’m all for that scenario- and agree IU has a very solid team with no glaring weaknesses. Many are pointing out lack of PG depth, but you’re right that’s related to losing Yogi. Think MSU is going to miss Valentine too? Is this the best (projected) depth during CTC’s tenure? Sure seems like it to me.

  • Hardwood83

    Both of IU’s most recent B1G champion teams had above average Centers…..coincidence? I don’t think so. Lots that goes into a successful team, but I don’t buy the ‘positionless’ stuff entirely.

  • Hardwood83

    I think this season’s team will be very solid, but they don’t strike me as an elite- top 5 quality. Still, come NCAA time rankings only loosely translate, see Mich State & Syracuse from last year. IU needs to make a deep run, but with a single elimination tourney and all, any particular season is a crap-shoot.

  • John Martinek

    Everyone is touting the ascension of OG this year. Don’t get me wrong, love the guy and the potential leap is exciting! But the guy who has fallen off the radar is Juwan Morgan. He is my dark horse difference maker for the coming season assuming he is healthy. He doesn’t seem to possess the same level of athleticism of OG, but whats not to love about the way this guy plays!!

  • cooper

    Big difference being a piece of a team and now being someone defenses will focus on

  • You’re looking at very limited stats. I can only find 2 games where awful would describe his play. Not 6. In some games where those stats looked bad, he was still the best player on the court, and led his team to victory. Free throws, steals, deflections, timing of big shots, etc., also need to be considered in the player’s overall impact to the game. That’s the misleading part about only looking at a limited number of stats.

  • Bill Graham

    Dont forget about Saint Mary’s of the Woods! (those guys are good).

  • I won’t put up a fight about Johnson being a better all around player than Zeisloft. JBJ isn’t in the same league as senior Yogi. Leadership, passing, creating own shot, shooting well on the road, shooting well in big games. Those are all attributes JBJ doesn’t have yet. As Tom Jameson said earlier, no one played defense before JBJ’s injury, so I’ll leave that one alone.

  • Bill Graham

    Bamba seems slightly raw…freakishly long and athletic…but raw. I’d rather have a polished guy like Porter.

  • Bill Graham

    Easy killer…I’m an E.L.A. teacher and you don’t see me criticizing your lack of a hyphen in between ‘spell’ and ‘check.’…..oh wait…I guess I just did criticizing your lack of a hyphen….man this is awkward and ironic.

  • Bill Graham

    I vote we put up a wall around Bloomington to keep Hanner out. Yes we’re going to build a wall and Hanner is going to pay for it!

    That should keep the summer issues to a minimum.

  • Bill Graham

    Hopefully he’s like Creek…The kid averaged 14 pts a game at GW after everything that happened to him.

  • Ole Man

    Had forgotten that! Thanks for that wonderful memory jolt!

  • BL4IU

    Poppycock 🙂

  • BL4IU

    I’ll take either but would love both.