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April 1, 2013

Expectations remain high for next season

On Saturday we published a column that included a look ahead to 2013-14 and asked for readers input in this Premium Board poll that was our attempt to gauge expecations for next season given the potential loss of four of five starters, including All-Big Ten underclassmen Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller.

Here's a screen capture from this morning on that poll with 1,109 votes tabulated:

Expectations Poll 2013-14

As the image shows, over half (56.8 percent) expect Indiana to return to the NCAA next year, falling towards the bottom of the first half of the league, earning roughly 22-24 victories. A surprising number (24.0 percent), believe Indiana should finish in the top three of the league and earn 25 or more victories. Only 14.3 percent expect the Hoosiers to be in bubble territory with 19-21 wins. And just three percent of the voters believe Indiana will have a season that won't garner them serious NCAA tournament consideration.

Reader thoughts

We also asked for some reader thoughts on the team next year given the turnover. Here's a few of the more interesting responses:

Brian T: We will fight for top 3-4 spot in conference. Team will be more athletic. I hope/ believe that frosh will come in and make an impact like Michigan frosh did this year. We will make tourney with possible sweet 16. Coach Crean is building a contender. We have become more athletic each recruiting class & his player development is outstanding.

David B: I expect to see CTC make some changes in his offense and defense to adjust to the younger players as well as to make better use of their length and athletic abilities. I hope I'm wrong, but I think that Hanner will make some modest improvement next year but will still not meet most people's expectations. To reach his potential I think he will have to be "Victor-like" in his work ethic and few people have that drive. I hope that I am not "over-reaching" but I think that Luke (Fischer) will surprise a lot of people with his drive and tenacity.

NF: Without Cody, I think we finish fourth or fifth in the big ten and make it to the sweet sixteen as a 5 or 6-seed. With Cody, I think we compete for the B1G title again. He's that much of a difference maker, regardless of his short comings.

Tom M: Next year I believe will be a struggle. I would expect 20 wins would be a great feat for this group and 500 in the Big Ten will be likewise a great feat. To just make the tournament will be difficult. Likely a NIT appearance is in the works. Although Ferrell and Sheehey will be the focus of the team, I believe that the key to the goals mentioned above will be the development of Hollowell and Perea. Both have to improve greatly for this team to have any success. It starts with playing more confident and fearless! The freshmen, who knows at this time. Although CTC has done a great job rebuilding the program, in looking at the framework of his model approach, two things need to change. One, bigger players. We have to have more strength inside. Two, bigger guards to help on the defensive side of the ball.

Robert L: Like your analysis and agree with your areas of improvement. However, considering Cody's late season performance and NBA scout (s) evaluation that he may need another year in college; it would be interesting to see how his return might change the new chapter next year. I would certainly change my vote from middle of the pack to Big Ten champions.

Terry D: We should have "real" depth next year. I think one of the reasons the team was not aggressive enough in the Syracuse came because of not wanting to get into foul trouble after the Temple game. Seems to me years ago coaches left players in the game until they received their third foul. The depth will curtail the strongest criticism of Tom Crean, his substitution pattern (my only criticism). The B1G was a grind and stagnation did happen to the offense, but we had key players playing less minutes than most of the key players on other teams. We should have been able to play more fresh/look more fresh. Otherwise saving minutes is a waste, our best game of the year came at OSU and probably our shortest bench rotation of the year.

Brian S: Length will be this team's MO. Sheehey at 2G and Hollowell at SF will make it more difficult for teams to shoot over the Hoosiers' "D" while also add more rebounding production. Hollowell needs more consistency with his outside shooting, but he will be a capable rebounder and big enough to score in the paint. He will likely be the third option at best, but brings other qualities to the court. This leads to another point about size, err length, and how Indiana will be best served to play as a unit. Indiana, ironically, will morph into the Syracuse of the B10. Expect some zone and full court pressure to be the staple of the team's ability to defend and ignite fast break opportunities, while helping young players such as Stanford Robinson, Troy Williams and its top recruit to score......Overall, the Hoosiers will likely be erratic. Expect a few big upsets, however, because during games that the Hoosiers shoot well from outside the arc it will be difficult for even teams ranked in the top 15 in the country match Indiana's speed and athleticism. When the Hoosiers falter outside the arc, a dreadful offensive showing will follow. Indiana will finish at roughly 19-9 to 17-11 and a possible eight to 12 seed in the tournament, or no tournament bid at all.

Matt S: The team minus Zeller should be a tourney team for sure. It's hard to really guess on records though without seeing schedule and probably best to wait til Zeller and others decide. The Big Ten could be very weak next year if Harris, Payne, Hardaway, Robinson III, McGary, Thomas, Ross all declare early. (Obv Burke is gone).

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