Thursday, November 19, 2015


I'm going to try to get up some posts about team personnel, but I just don't have as much time as  I would like so these will be somewhat abbreviated. I'll start with Indiana.

Indiana lost some guys but returns a lot of familiar faces. Yogi is around for one last year and he has sophomores Blackmon and Johnson to run the show with him. All 3 can run the point but Yogi will have the ball when it's crunch time. Blackmon still shoots like a stud and could move on to the NBA after this year. Johnson has moved from the starting lineup to the bench (more on this later). IU also returns Zeisloft for spot up shooting and Williams who still can't shoot but can still get in the lane and jump out of the gym.

There are 4 new faces in the frontcourt. Anunoby and Morgan are athletic freshman but probably wouldn't be in the rotation if IU was in a close game. They may play more as the season goes on if they develop, or if IU wants to play bigger which it appears they do. IU played very small last year with 3-4 guards in the lineup most of the time. They added transfer Max Bielfeldt from MI and have inserted him in the starting lineup. Max was not that good a player at MI, so it's a bit surprising he is starting at IU, especially at the expense of Johnson who is a young developing talent. Moving Max into the starting lineup helps Troy Williams, who now gets to play the 3 instead of matching up against much bigger guys at the 4. Max can shoot so IU can still space the floor with shooters with him out there. Colin Hartman comes off the bench and gives IU another forward who can hit spot up shots.

Freshman Thomas Bryant is very impressive. He has great size for a kid at 6'10" and 245. He uses his size very well. He has an old man at the Y game, and I mean that as a compliment. At 18 he already has multiple post moves. He looked just as comfortable spinning into a drop step as he did turning on a guy and scooping with his left hand. He has intensity and leadership qualities on the court already. He is not a superior athlete, but he's no slouch. He will be a very fun player to watch for as long as he sticks around.

IU will score. They will probably score even better than they did last year which was pretty good. The question for IU is can they play enough defense to go from a good team to an elite team. Hence the switch to Bielfeldt at the 4. It's hard to play good defense without size, and IU just hasn't had it lately. When they had Zeller and Oladipo they still weren't great defensively, so Max is not going to make this team into Virginia, but size helps.

I like this IU team, so I just wonder how Crean will fuck it up. They certainly have a good mix of talent to contend for the Big Ten Championship, but they won't. They have an easy conference schedule which they should ride into a top 4 finish. They are Indiana, so people will get overexcited about them and they probably end up with a record and ranking that looks better than they are.

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