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Indiana Preview

by Chris Mackinder | November 28th, 2007

2006-2007 Record: 21-11 (10-6 Big 10, 3rd)
Postseason Games:

3/9/2007 Illinois Big Ten Tournament L 58-54
3/15/2007 Gonzaga NCAA W 70-57
3/17/2007 UCLA NCAA L 54-49

Returning Statistical Leaders:
13.8 ppg – D.J.White
7.3 rpg – D.J. White
3.0 apg – Armon Bassett

Starting Lineup: Key Stat:
C DeAndre Thomas 6’9 Jr. In 5 games, more fouls (18) than boards (16)
PF D.J. White 6’9 Sr. 6 double-doubles in ’06-‘07
SF A.J. Ratliff 6’3 Sr. Averaged 9.3 ppg in just 22 mins per game
SG Eric Gordon 6’4 Fr. 29.0 ppg as Indiana’s Mr. Basketball
PG Armon Bassett 6’1 So. 16 double-figure games as freshman

Key Player Losses: Earl Calloway (9.6 ppg, 4.3 apg, 1.2 spg), Roderick Wilmont (12.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg). For a team that prided itself on defense and toughness, Wilmont and Calloway were vital weapons. While their combined 20+ points will be missed, Indiana likely will be running more this season, meaning the duo’s defense can be more easily replaced.

Impact Newcomer: Eric Gordon. Gordon is a star and he’ll be a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft. With talented players around him, he might be able to shine even more than Carmelo Anthony did with ‘Cuse in 2003. Expect at least 20 points a night and plenty of ESPN SportsCenter highlights.

Tough Question: Can D.J. White stay healthy? While White played just a handful of games in 2005-06, he was healthy for all of last season. As a senior and with his team loaded with talent, expect White to play through any pain this year.

Too Much PT: DeAndre Thomas. Coach Kelvin Sampson always has been a fan of JUCO transfers. Thomas has the potential to be solid, but his weight (he’s listed at 295 but that looks very generous) and lack of quickness on defense is a big problem.

Get Him on the Floor: Mike White. Every team needs that energizer. There are talented energizers–think Marvin Williams on the ’05 North Carolina team–and then there are the scrappy ones that have all the heart in the world but are short in the talent department. That description fits White. When he’s on the floor, Indiana’s level of intensity rises.

Point Guard Impact: Bassett is a shoot-first point guard but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He scored in double figures in about half of Indiana’s games last season. He also came up big in big games. With more weapons around him this year, he’ll be able to score when he pleases and rack up the assists at the same time.

Final Word: It has been years since Bloomington was so excited over a college basketball season. Eric Gordon is so good that Hoosier faithful are hoping for Payer of the Year-esque numbers in what will be his only college season. Sampson’s attention to defense should make Indiana tough to score against. The offensive firepower should make the Hoosiers a pain in the butt to defend against. That is a lethal combination. The goal is a Final Four. Even an NCAA National Championship isn’t out of the question. Look for IU on the No. 2, No. 3, or No. 4 line come Selection Sunday.

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