Top 5 preseason position battles
Indiana's starting point guard position is one of several competitions
Here's the truth about Midnight Madness: A lot of coaches don't like it.
Excluding the residual effect that a well-executed Midnight Madness event can have on recruiting, most coaches would agree that this celebration to start the season gives players an unrealistic sense of what it takes to have a chance to celebrate a championship at season's end.
When the late-night crowds are gone and the pageantry and skits are over, the reality of the grind of the preseason sets in. Over the next four weeks, players will compete 20 hours per week for the opportunity to not only earn a spot in the rotation but also to crack the starting lineup. There are many cases in which a productive preseason can alter a player's career.
Let's take a look at the five most intriguing position battles this preseason:
Players: Yogi Ferrell, Jordan Hulls
Indiana returns all five starters from a team that won 27 games last season, its most since winning 31 in 1992-93. The Hoosiers were one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country last season, at 1.16 points per possession, and defeated the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in the country, something only five teams have accomplished in the past 10 seasons.
Behind sensational sophomore and possible future No. 1 NBA draft pick Cody Zeller, the Hoosiers are the preseason favorite to win the national championship. Christian Watford is a tough matchup on the wing, while Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo defend, run the floor and play winning basketball.
So how is it that Indiana is on this list? The answer is the point guard position, where Hulls, an experienced and tough play starter, will be challenged by incoming McDonald's All-American Ferrell. How this position battle plays out, and the effect the result has on the team chemistry, will be a critical factor in whether the Hoosiers reach their goal of a winning a national title.
To read more from Seth Greenberg on Indiana's point guard position and get the rest of his top five preseason position battles, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- Report: Coach K considering Team USA return
- Washington's Wilcox undergoes foot surgery
- Ex-coach Alford, New Mexico agree on buyout
- Kansas St. adds former Hoyas forward Bolden
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CBB content
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Memphis Tigers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Florida Gators
• Greenberg/Telep: Kentucky Wildcats
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Louisville Cardinals
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Syracuse Orange
• Greenberg/Biancardi: NC State Wolfpack
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Duke Blue Devils
• Biancardi/Gasaway: North Carolina Tar Heels
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Arizona Wildcats
• Greenberg/Telep: UCLA Bruins
• Lunardi: Could Louisville repeat as champs?
• Greenberg: UVA tops list of surprise teams
• Fraschilla: How returning stars can improve
• Gasaway: Top title challengers to Kentucky
• Lunardi: Who will earn No. 1 seeds in 2014?
• Fraschilla: How top recruits can improve
• Pomeroy: Next season's All-American teams
• Gasaway: Top freshmen for 2012-13
• Bilas: Kentucky tops 2013-14 rankings
• Rankin: What Wiggins means for Kansas
• Biancardi: KU to prep Wiggins for NBA success
• Telep: Updated look at top recruits
• Roundtable: Most impressive on AAU circuit?
• Recruiting: Top battles for elite prospects
• Finkelstein: Minnesota's new approach
• Biancardi: Class of 2013 Dream Team
• Roundtable: Bold predictions for 2013 classes
• Rankin: Top 5 sleeper recruiting classes
• Fraschilla: Burke the draft's top point guard?
• Ford: Measurements concern some GMs
• Ford: Why Wiggins would go No. 1 in 2013
• Ford: Mock Draft 2.0
• Ford: McCollum among top sleeper prospects
• Fraschilla: The case for taking Len over Noel
• Ford: An early look at the 2014 NBA draft
• Ford: Ranking the top 30 NBA draft prospects
• Ford: Who's in, who's out of draft?
Jay Bilas Blog
Jay's take on latest from around the nation
Analysis from Fraschilla, Greenberg and Lunardi
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Hollinger's College PER
College basketball's top players
Get wagering advice for every game