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Big Ten men’s basketball preview: Indiana Hoosiers

How many steps forward can the Hoosiers take in year one of Mike Woodson?

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Throughout the summer, we at Land-Grant Holy Land did a player preview series for the 2021-22 Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball team, previewing the entire roster for the upcoming season. With that wrapped up, and since we are about six weeks away from the start of the college basketball season, we are diving into a new series to preview each team in the Big Ten.

Twice a week for six weeks, we will be looking at all 13 teams in the Big Ten that are not named Ohio State. We will do a season outlook, look at who they bring back and who is gone, see how Ohio State has done against them in the Chris Holtmann era, and look at what their season could turn out to be.

Because alphabetical order is fun, we are starting the team preview with the Indiana Hoosiers.

Team: Indiana Hoosiers

Head coach: Mike Woodson (first season)
2020-21 record: 12-15 (7-12)
Season finish: No postseason

What comes back: The Hoosiers are fortunate to return one of the top players in the conference, Trayce Jackson-Davis. The 6-foot-9 forward was pretty widely expected to head to the NBA after this season, but he was happy with the coach that IU brought in and Woodson convinced him to stay for one more year and try to turn the program around. Jackson-Davis should be a consistent 20-point, 10-rebound player while being an elite defensive talent as well.

The Hoosiers also return forward Race Thompson and guard Rob Phinisee, who were both productive last season and look to up that production under their new head coach. IU also added some of the top transfers in the conference, bringing in former Northwestern forward Miller Kopp, Pittsburgh guard Xavier Johnson, and Tennessee Martin guard Parker Stewart — who averaged almost 20 points per game last season.

Indiana also will bring in five-star guard recruit Tamar Dates and top-100 center prospect Logan Duncomb.

What was lost: Following last season, IU lost two guys who averaged 11.5 points per game in Al Durham and Armaan Franklin, but with Kopp, Johnson and Stewart coming in, they should not have any trouble replacing that scoring production. The Hoosiers also lost big man Joey Brunk who reunited with his former Butler coach, Chris Holtmann, at Ohio State.

The Hoosiers also lost four players to transfers, but by bringing in four transfers, their roster is in good shape.

Against Ohio State in the Holtmann era: Since 1949-50, Indiana is actually the team that Ohio State has faced the most, going head-to-head with the Hoosiers 133 times. Over the last four years since Chris Holtmann took over in Columbus, the Hoosiers are just 1-6 against the Buckeyes. The sole win came in the 2019-20 season in a 66-54 Hoosier win in the early parts of the conference schedule season.

Season outlook: For the Hoosiers, talent will not be the issue. The challenge for first year head coach Mike Woodson will be getting all of the new pieces to fit and getting the returning guys acclimated to everything that he is changing.

Any job is challenging for a new head coach to walk in and be successful immediately, but if Woodson can figure out the correct lineups and rotations early on in the season, they will have a very good chance to return to the postseason and even be a team to watch in the conference, because — as it should always be — Indiana’s talent is undeniable.

Next team preview: Illinois Fighting Illini