Offseason storylines: Expectations for next season

  • 08/16/2013 8:06 am in

042913edcWelcome to offseason storylines, a look into some of the biggest storylines surrounding the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers. Next up, we tackle this question: What will expectations for next season’s team look like?

When Tom Crean took the Indiana job in April of 2008, there was an understanding from the school’s administration and from the fan base that he would need time to build the program back where it previously been.

In the last two seasons, those that patiently waited with Crean and his team through the dark days were rewarded with back-to-back trips to the Sweet Sixteen, a Big Ten title, and more than a few big wins.

The expectations grew to such an extreme level last year, however, that any time Indiana lost a single game, it was viewed as a letdown and a disappointment by some. Beat Michigan at home, and well, that’s what you were expected to do. But lose to Wisconsin and Ohio State, and suddenly, the sky was falling.

Now, with a roster full of freshmen and lacking most of the guys responsible for bringing the program back, where will those expectations go? Will they remain high because the program has been restored and the standards have been reestablished? Or will they lower a bit to match the team’s relative inexperience?

I asked Indiana Athletics Director Fred Glass that exact question a few weeks ago.

“Regardless of the program, you gotta take it year by year and calibrate your expectations,” Glass told Inside the Hall. “I tried real hard not to set any arbitrary expectations that ‘this season is gonna be a bust if we don’t win X number of games, don’t qualify for postseason play.’

“I’m looking for improvement with what we’ve got, not necessarily improvement from year to year but improvement from the team that comes in throughout the season.”

My guess is the expectation level will be more in line with the 2011-2012 rather than last season. Few people expected much from that team before it beat No. 1 Kentucky in December, and that could again be the case this season.

Truth be told, that’s probably the best thing for Indiana. Last year’s team didn’t always handle the pressure of the giant expectations all that well. If they fall back a bit in the rankings this season and play the role of an underdog, maybe they’ll just surprise some people again.

Previously:

· The evolution of Yogi Ferrell
· What kind of season will Sheehey have?
· Will Indiana have a stronger bench?

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  • Kyl470

    At this point any year that the team doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament will be viewed as a disappointment. I don’t think anyone expects this team to be a Final Four contender, but making the tournament is a very realistic goal.

  • nwin iu fan

    Longtime reader first time comments love inthl this team will be super athletic worried about turnovers we had problems with rurnovers last yr with two primary ballhandlers in the gm I thought we made strides last yr defensively but played our worst bb @ end of yr(obviously) let’s see gradual improvement from start to finish go iu

  • nwin iu fan

    Went to open practice last yr haunted hall right before Halloween had great seats was very impressed with hollowell he can shoot rebound run floor he’s a big key to this yrs team how much he has developed will be interesting too me I think he has better instincts and abetted bb body than Sheehey and will is my guy just saying

  • BC

    Super talented freshmen are great but they wear down, especially in the B1G. I literally have no idea how this team will mesh and develop. It is almost an entirely different team. Most of the season I see them trying to find and establish an identity. It should be fun and hopefully successful, but I wouldn’t expect them to dominate. I would be careful to not set unrealistic expectations.

  • Candy Striped Kid

    I would agree with most of what you said about jeremy. sheehey has great basketball instincts. the reason why he is such a good defender and mover without the ball is because of his instincts and court vision.

  • Candy Striped Kid

    you are right. until we see the team play a couple games, we won’t have any idea how the players are used and how the play together. it is very exciting. coming into last year, most people had an idea of what to expect, obviously. this year, not so much. managing expectations for a team loosing what iu did and having such a young highly contributing class is essential for the fan’s sanity.

  • nwin iu fan

    5th place in big ten our non conference schedule will continue to haunt us were a yr or 2 away from being potentially really good depending on vonleh how long he stays and if we can execute a half cf offense need a 6″4 6″5 guard who can shoot and defend huge key going into next 2015 and 16 our small backcout destroyed us last yr

  • WhatsUpKnight

    yes, i think we’re going to have to suffer through some to’s. and i’m guessing they’re going to get pushed around a little bit in the paint. then again, i’ve heard that nv has packed on some muscle. same with lf.

    i agree 150% with justin about how the spotlight may have gotten just a bit too bright for last year’s team. absolutely no doubt in my mind the expectations got to them toward the end of the season. and understandably so, considering where the program was when they first arrived on campus!

    but anyway, if nothing else, this year’s team ain’t gonna feel that kind of pressure. no reason why they can’t play with a fast n loose, nothing to lose attitude all season long. and i think they’ve got a great, great shot to make some noise in the tournament.

  • IlliniHoosier4life

    Isaiah Whitehead fits that perfectly. Watched this kid in person and he can seriously ball. Would be a huge fit to replace JB jr. Get Goodluck and one more guard and the 2014 class could be exactly what we need. If Noah sticks around and we have Goodluck and Luke in the 5 with HMP backing Noah up we will be DEEP in the post. Troy and Jermey at the 3. Yogi, Stan, and Isiah interchangeable in the guard spots and this team will be scary athletic

  • Alan H

    I agree, but I think this is a team that is going to grow and improve over the course of the season as roles are defined and leaders emerge. This could be a team that slides into the tourney late, but then beats a couple of teams to again land in the sweet 16.

  • Rie

    The two small guard lineup not working is a myth. Yes, size is preferable, but it has more to do with the players than it does with height. Jordy was never a good defender, and the Syracuse loss fresh in our minds has warped our view of small back court success. Take a look at Louisville, who just won the championship largely due to their guard play. Siva and Smith were both 6′, but they knew how to stay in front of their man and play serviceable defense.

    Additionally, I don’t know why you are saying a recruit for the 2014 season will be huge going into 2015 and 2016 seasons. Knowing how our player development works and the talent we currently have, I would be disappointed if we weren’t competing for a title in 2014. We should have a great team in place, and hopefully, the pieces we add elevate us to the next level. I do think a stud two or combo guard is a priority though, and believed that before the Blackmon decommitment. Yes, everyone seems to be all over Goodluck, but between Hanner, Jeremy, Noah and Luke, I think we are solid in post; however, I am never against adding great talent.

    Either way, I am very excited to see how this team develops this season and expect them to at the very least make the tourney as a nine seed or better. At this point, not making the tournament is unacceptable, and should be as long as the Crean era is running. If Wisconsin can usually slip in with a majority of mediocre talent, our coaching and talent should at least consistently get us there. B1G play will be a challenge, but it is the most revealing schedule of how our teams fares against the top competition.

  • IUMIKE1

    The kind of rebuilding process that had to be undertaken at IU, if it was to be done the right way, was not the kind where having one pretty successful season meant the job was done. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear or buy into the, we are still rebuilding logic,(and I hate having to keep saying it as bad as anyone does) but I for one believe that to be how it is. The hurdles that have to be cleared are a whole lot lower and a whole lot farther in between but there are still some to be gotten over IMHO. I think last year’s heralded freshmen class having a whole season, including some Big Dance experience and a full off season under their belts is still yet another piece of it. Having the kind of success we had last year and then reloading without falling on our faces, and giving the appearance of being a one lucky season wonder, conference wise as well as nationally, will show that we are in the last phases of the rebuild, again IMHO. The final phase should be being able to not have any to little drop off from one year to the next and should be the last hurdle in the rebuilding of IU bball….but that also may prove to be the hardest hurdle of all to clear.

  • Gregory Spera

    “Will they remain high because the program has been restored and the standards have been reestablished?”
    The expectations for this program WILL remain high from now on, I hope. Indiana Basketball should ALWAYS having the coaching and the players to compete with anybody in the country. Period. I don’t think that is out of line.
    As for this coming season, all of the talented freshman and sophomores on this team should play into CTC’s biggest strength, which is player development. This team should improve almost every game, as they gain experience.

  • Gregory Spera

    Last season I was “Final Four or Bust” so… now I am going to try to just take this new season as it comes.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Last night, my best friend and I sat in a Salem, IN bar over a couple of tall, draught New Castles and decided that this team is going to be fun and frustrating to watch. Because of the overall talent level there should be some very exciting moments and because of the youth there will probably be some very disappointing moments as well.

    We concluded that the only expectations we have is for every player to give his maximum effort both on and off the court. We also concluded that in order to see the Hoosiers play this season we might have to drive/fly to away games; neither of us are season ticket holders.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I think quite a few people are high on us needing Goodluck (or Michael Humphrey) because they think Noah Vonleh could be one-and-done (I have no idea whether or not it’ll play out that way, need to see him compete in the Big Ten first). If, and it’s a big if, Noah Vonleh leaves and we don’t bolster the frontcourt in the 2014 class, we’d be left with Luke, Hanner, Peter Jurkin and Jeremy Hollowell. Not ideal but still, not dire.

  • CreamandCrimson

    To be fair, I think we’ve had two, not one, pretty successful seasons. I agree that we are not at the level where we can expect every season to have little to no drop-off but I think getting to the Sweet 16 two seasons in a row and being a ranked team for back-to-back seasons puts us a bit further ahead than the “appearance of a one lucky season wonder”.

  • james

    I pretty much totally agree with your post. Everything about this team is just so unknown. From the six incoming freshmen, to the four returning sophomores who really didn’t get to play much last year because of our experience. We got talent, but that doesn’t always equal wins. I see us going around or slightly over .500 in the BIG and making the tournament as a team nobody wants to play after improving all season. I guess I’m an optimist.

  • superhoops

    This is Crean’s first team without the “just fill a roster” players. With this past class gone, everyone from a senior on down are guys Crean recruited to play for him and his system; not guys to help rebuild a mess. So now we get to see what he can do with the talent he has brought in. As much as I love Jordan, Derek, and Christian, they were not at the same talent level as the majority of the ones that have followed. To me, this is a make or break season for Crean. We will either see him succeed with his style due to his recruiting or fail. Realistically, we weren’t a Final Four team last year. Not with guys named above who would not have started for many other B1G teams, but were better suited for the MAC or other mid-major schools. Now we have guys up and down the roster who are suited for the B1G (with an exception or 2 like Jurkin who we don’t need and will be gone after this season). This is where we see whether we’re moving in the right direction with our program and coach. And no, I don’t think we necessarily have to go far in the tourney to say we’re heading in the right direction. It’s not about wins/losses this season. I’m just saying much like Glass said, we need to be showing improvement as the year goes on and getting better and peaking in March, not Jan/Feb.

  • AKA Hoosier Daddy

    I believe this year could be a make or break year for CTC with the reality of LOOSING a lot of top recruits and having 2 decommits doesn’t help his cause either.His ingame decision making and subbing is less than par he just doesn’t adjust to the game very well.We need to see aggressive play from the players with some determination and deliberation for the IU NATION to go to the next level.IMHO CTC has a big mountain to climb to put IU at the top and is still at the bottom looking up.

  • lolman

    If Yogi can raise his assist to turnover ratio from 1.96 to 3+ the 2013/14 team will be much better than expected.

  • james

    Wow I didn’t realize his turnover rate was quite that high. Definitely needs to improve that for us to have a successful year. Seems to me like there is a lot of pressure on Yogi this year, but I’m a big fan of his and hope he rises to the challenge.

  • HoosierTrav

    I’ve said this about a hundred times on here but here goes. I really think this year will be special. The expectations/pressure is nowhere close to what last seasons team dealt with. I really feel like that got to us in the end. We will have a bumpy road at first in the B1G, I’m sure, but I see great things out of this years team. It’s going to be a fun season. I’m really excited to see this team in action. I am bullish on Hollowell and Perea. If those two have Sheehey/Oladipo like frosh-soph improvement….. We are much more dangerous than anyone has estimated we’d be.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Really? Have you watched any Indiana basketball in the last 4 years? The program has gotten better every year.

  • OhioHoosier

    Outside of Ohio state, Michigan state, Michigan and possibly Minnesota, who do you think Christian would not have started for?

  • Htown Mike

    Seriously? All three of these players were four-star recruits, recruited by big programs… And Watford is a top 10 all time scorer at IU who made all-conference teams. All three of those players are professionals overseas. And those three players plus Mo Creek were a consensus top 10 recruiting class in 2009. They also went to 2 Sweet 16s and won a Big 10 title.

  • bucktriple

    4th in the Big ten. 6 seed in NCAA tournament. Sweet sixteen Appearance.

  • 502hoohoo

    “Realistically, we weren’t a final four team last year.”
    Respectfully disagree. We had two top 5 draft picks, the sixth man of the year, and talented players at every starting position. We should have walked into the final four last year, and everyone knows it. That is what started the grumblings about Crean, and these decommits and failure to lock down the state is just fanning the fire…

  • hoosier1158

    I really liked Jordy, Derek and Christian. They were very good players, i don’t see anyone playing better than they did. Too bad Derek was hurt most of his senior year. A healthy Derek, could have made us much better.

  • james

    Yeah we could be one of those teams that is too young to realize the pressure they are under, which could allow them to play more carefree and loose. I think by tournament time we will be one of those scary teams that nobody wants to play.

  • MillaRed

    First order of business would be James Blackmon JR/SR to bite me.

    Then I expect a #4 finish in the B1G and yes, I said it here, another Sweet 16 appearance. Time for us to overachieve again.

  • SCHoosier

    IU could surprise this year because the talent level…though young..is deep. I do think the Hoosiers have to be a really good defensive team and keep the score close. If we fall behind..I don’t see IU having the 3 pt threat to close a gap in a hurry or create a quick gap for our offense. No reason we can’t be good in three areas: defense (creating TO’s) ;rebounding (allowing IU to get in transition) Second chance points (given our athleticism and size) Come conference play time…this Hoosier team has the potential to overachieve IMO.

  • WisconHoosier

    My opinion on four you mentioned: Luke and Jeremy may both eventually be very good. Not just starters, but all-conference honors.

    Hanner: athletic, but he doesn’t really know how to play basketball very well. Some posters have said good things about him lately, but then, some were calling him a one-and-done at this time last year. We’ll see.

    PJ: Sorry, but I expect zero contributions on the court while he’s at IU. He’s been injured for 3 years, and there’s no public evidence that anything has significantly changed, or will change. I’d love to be wrong about this.

    Go IU.

  • Dee McDonald

    IMHO, I think this team has the opportunity to take on a personality that we haven’t seen in Bloomington since the Bob Knight era. Last year (2012-2013), we saw them take on the personality of Victor and Cody, which wasn’t a bad thing. It kept them centered and they never got too high or too low. However, I think IU has an opportunity this year to take on the personality of its leader, Will Sheehey, and be a bit of a hard-nosed jerk at times. It was what was missing last year, a killer instinct and a bit of a swagger (which I think we had early but lost mid-way through the B1G season). If they play with Will’s personality this year, they could be real mean. Granted, most other B1G fans will hate IU, but when have we cared about that. If you’re winning, what can they say? This could be a special team if they embrace Will’s personality and put all of the athleticism to work playing in your face defense, always going 100% and diving all of the place with a desire that’s burning in their belly’s for the basketball and the WIN. Don’t mean to put pressure, but I can sure see this happening and them finding their identity real quick. I might be dreaming, but it sure sounds good to me.

  • Dee McDonald

    I think if anything, he was guilty the last 2 seasons of being too loyal to the guys that brought IU back. Those guys are gone now, so I think you’ll see less crazy sub patterns and in-game coaching. I think if guys aren’t executing his game plan, they’ll get pulled A LOT more quickly. It should be a different story this year with his in-game coaching.

  • calbert40

    I am very optimistic about this season. Do I expect a Final Four? No, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this team surprises a lot of casual college bball fans who immediately believe that IU will struggle due to our losses. I expect a few bumps in the road such as an unexpected home loss, but I also expect us to bite some people…just like some teams did to us last year.

    I believe we will finish anywhere from 4th to 6th in the B1G, and that will easily send us to a good seed in the NCAA. I’m really excited to see this team play. It is like another reboot, except with talented players instead of walk-ons like the last time!!

  • calbert40

    I think we could all point to different players on this year’s team as keys, but I am with you on Hollowell. If he can be the player we all hoped he’d be last year this year…watch out.

    It is easy to give up on sophomores who didn’t contribute much as freshmen. Tom Coverdale anyone?

  • Oldguyy

    Putting this in context, Ferrell’s A/T ratio his freshman year was better than Trey Burke’s his freshman year.

  • plane1972

    You make it sound so easy. Walking to the Final Four, locking down in-state recruits against the likes of Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Ohio State, and every other national powerhouse. Yeah, it’s a breeze.

  • plane1972

    I agree that tempered expectations could be true in the beginning of the season, and we could be poised to surprise some folks. I also know if the team improves steadily and begins to play their best ball in mid to late season, we’ll all go crazy and start ramping up unfair expectations on this team and Coach Crean. And if they stub their toe in the midst of our euphoria, this level-headed preseason analysis will be long forgotten. I appreciate your optimism, though, Trav. :>)

  • Jennifer G

    hehe

  • CreamandCrimson

    Thank you. All of this “expectations won’t be high and there won’t be pressure” talk doesn’t really make sense to me. I agree that the pressure won’t be as crushing as last season. However, this is IU basketball. Fair or not, unless there are extreme circumstances (see the first couple years of the Crean era), there is always going to be pressure and expectations. Just look at some of the other comments on this board….”this is going to be a make or break year for Crean.” “Crean still has a big mountain to climb”. If this team doesn’t perform and has a few disappointing results, the fan base will be questioning Crean’s ability to coach and whether or not the current players are good enough or if they care enough. If they win a few big games, people will expect those kinds of results for the rest of the season. Playing and coaching at IU comes with tons of benefits but it comes with pressure and expectation as well…fair or not.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    20-22 wins this year and an 8-9 seed for the dance

  • marcusgresham

    I was born in Salem. Not in a bar, though.

  • r

    I disagree. How many teams, not just Big10 but around the country would have been exstatic to have any player on their roster with the shooting range and accuracy of the “B-Teamers” you listed above? I can think of many.

  • Bravura

    Who was better Tijan Jobe or Bawa Muniru?

  • Ikio

    Who was better Malik Story or Devan Dumes?

  • hoosierstateofmind

    I agree as well. Among the many things that make Indiana Indiana is consistency. While most focus on the national titles I also look back fondly at the beginning of each tournament where they would throw up the “longest active consecutive NCAA tournament appearances” and you would see Indiana near the top of the list. To me, coming out of the big ten it says a lot about what your program brings year in and year out. Glass is right in that expectations need to change year to year, but there are certain expectations that should be there every year.

    Any suggestions on what the 5 things every Indiana team should accomplish every year?

  • IUMIKE1

    Well…this is America and your comment is proof you’re entitled to your opinion no matter what it is. That kind of thought pattern must be part of a pretty exclusive club since exclusive clubs generally tend to have a very small amount of people as members.

  • IUJeff

    Agreed. DE lead the team in 3 pt shooting year before last at about 56 percent.