- Ryan Corazza
Insider knows you're hot for hoops during the summer, so we're bringing you a closer look at a few of the big-profile schools before most freshmen have even moved into their dorms. We continue with Indiana.
Is this the year Indiana crawls out of the Big Ten cellar?
With some turnover at other programs in the league, an established group of upperclassmen -- seniors Matt Roth, Kory Barnett, Daniel Moore, Tom Pritchard and Verdell Jones III along with juniors Christian Watford, Maurice Creek, Derek Elston and Jordan Hulls -- and much-heralded McDonald's All-American Cody Zeller now on campus, the opportunity is there.
"I feel like we are a lot more mature," says Hulls. "We know what to expect and we know what is expected of us."
But for the Hoosiers to take such a leap, they'll likely need to improve their defense and cut down on fouls. They gave up 1.14 points per possession last season, a league worst. Indiana also allowed for an opponent's free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 52.2, which also ranked last in the Big Ten. Such a free throw rate was so poor that Northwestern, which finished 2010-11 ranked one spot ahead of the Hoosiers in 10th, sported a far superior mark of 39.4.
"You have to have an individual intent and a team will," coach Tom Crean says of his team's defense. "It always comes back to the fundamentals -- the effort, the footwork and the team concept of how we are moving.
"We have to get to the point where we have enough high-quality Big Ten players to where we can compete in this league, and we are getting closer all the time. This team wasn't tough enough last year to finish; we were close. We were close enough but we weren't tough enough."