The Inside the Hall Mailbag: Schedule, starting lineup, depth chart and more

  • 05/22/2024 11:24 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions sent to us via X (@insidethehall), via email, submitted via our community and our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

CincyHoosier: Any guesses on when we might see a schedule announcement?

What’s known for the 2024-25 schedule, at least the non-conference portion, is still relatively sparse.

Indiana will play in the 2024 Battle 4 Atlantis with Arizona, Gonzaga, Louisville, Providence, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Davidson on November 27-29, 2024.

The Hoosiers will host Eastern Illinois on November 10, 2024, at Assembly Hall. IU’s Big Ten opponents are known, but we don’t have dates for any of those games.

Overall, we know 24 of Indiana’s 31 games. That leaves seven non-conference games (and some exhibitions) as current unknowns. Some of the non-conference games will begin to trickle out in the weeks ahead.

Last year, Indiana announced the 2023-24 non-conference schedule on June 27. The full schedule was announced in September when the Big Ten assigned dates to the conference games. So those are the timelines to watch for the schedule to be revealed.

@LaBeck81 What are we hearing on challenging non-conf games? Atlantis is a good start but certainly need another 2 that helps test the team/boosts computer numbers.

It’s a good question. Atlantis is a very good event, but swapping out Creighton for Providence was not a favorable development for its strength.

Indiana has always played a game in Indianapolis and the expectation is that will continue. Whether it’s anything other than a buy game is unknown at this point. The Hoosiers should get something meaningful on the non-conference schedule at home. While it wouldn’t be anything on the level of Kansas or the upcoming series with Kentucky, a home non-conference schedule full of buy games wouldn’t sit well with season ticket holders.

While I agree that Indiana needs more tests than Atlantis in the non-conference, it also needs to flatten some teams to help boost the computer numbers. The Hoosiers didn’t do that last season, which was a major reason their computer numbers suffered.

Ethan Jones: Do you think the Big Ten’s chances of getting another NCAA championship are better, the same, or worse with the new team additions?

More teams should lead to more opportunities to win a title. UCLA and Oregon have made the Final Four in the last ten years, so both are relevant programs nationally.

It isn’t like the Big Ten hasn’t had chances to win a title – Purdue was just in the national championship game – it’s very difficult to do. The pool of programs that compete on the national stage has grown in the last 15-20 years. The introduction of NIL has started to level the playing field in terms of talent in the Big Ten relative to other conferences. To answer your question, it slightly helps or stays the same, but it doesn’t hurt.

@DJFreddie10: Did we ever get clarification on what kind of injury Jakai Newton had? Is he 100%? And what could his role look like?

Knee injury is the extent of the information that was released publicly. But it was severe enough to require a procedure and force him to miss the entire season.

Newton began to go through warmups during a few games towards the end of last season and looked to be moving without many restrictions. Based on that, he appeared to be moving towards full health.

Regarding a role, he’ll be looking at backup minutes behind the likes of Myles Rice, Trey Galloway and Kanaan Carlyle. There will be minutes behind those players and Gabe Cupps, Anthony Leal and Newton are expected to compete for them. Newton is a talented player who should have a bright future if he’s 100 percent healthy. That said, expecting him to have a major role next season is probably unreasonable.

Don Endicott: Obviously early. But who do you expect the starting 5 to be? And what about Galloway in relation to that?

Rice, Mackenzie Mgbako, Malik Reneau and Oumar Ballo should all start. The fifth spot will likely come down to Carlyle and Galloway.

I could see that going either way, but Woodson is typically very loyal to his veterans, so it could be a situation where Galloway starts but Carlyle plays minutes similar to a starter.

Chi-Hoosier13: With all the changes to the roster over the past few years, the only thing that hasn’t really changed is the coaching staff, with the exception of Fife/Walsh. I know Kenya Hunter was a name that was being floated around here and there for other jobs but he obviously likes where he’s at. So to my question, has the assistant coaching stability at IU surprised you at all? 

It doesn’t surprise me, no. Hunter has been talked about as a potential head coach, but it hasn’t happened yet. That’s not to say it won’t happen, but the job at his alma mater, Duquesne, was filled this offseason. I always thought of that as a place that might consider him.

Overall, it seems the coaching staff works well together and there aren’t many programs with Indiana’s resources. So, unless a coach is leaving for more money or a head coaching job, staying put in Bloomington is a smart play.

Jake Freeman: On paper, the team seems to be fairly deep (11-12 guys) and we know all of them won’t be able to play every game. Who are the few who you think will see less playing time?

Leal, Newton and Langdon Hatton are probably the three I would label as seeing “less playing time”. Gabe Cupps will play less than he did as a freshman. But all of them could play depending on injuries, the level of the opponent and matchups.

It’s safe to assume Ballo, Reneau, Mgbako, Carlyle, Galloway and Rice will play starter-level minutes. Behind them, Bryson Tucker and Luke Goode should be rotation regulars. That leaves Leal, Newton, Hatton and Cupps battling for the remainder of the minutes. Hatton is in a position of bigger need than the other three, so his chances to play regularly are higher.

George McLaren: A lot of people think IU is spending big on NIL payments to players. Is there any concrete evidence to back that up? NIL $$ specifics seem like a closely held secret in basketball programs.

Concrete evidence, as in a paper trail or public contracts that will be released? No.

But you just need to look at the players Indiana has added and where it is ranked in several transfer portal recruiting class rankings to conclude that the collectives supporting Indiana have spent heavily this offseason.

And that’s how it should be at a program like Indiana in this NIL era.

IU doesn’t make it any secret that it has strong NIL resources to use. Mike Woodson mentioned one of the collectives and one of its major supporters by first and last name when he addressed the fanbase on the court at senior day in March.

No program releases specifics regarding NIL figures, so it’s not specific to IU that exact numbers are ambiguous. But make no mistake, Indiana’s collectives spent big to put together the 2024-25 roster.

David Baird: Is it possible that Kel’El (Ware) might not like his draft position and come back?

Ware said at the NBA draft combine in Chicago that he’s 100 percent in on the draft, so he’s not coming back to school.

His draft position is expected to be mid to late first round, so he will almost certainly get a guaranteed NBA contract. And with next year’s draft looking stronger than this year’s, Ware should get paid now.

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