Saturday, May 06, 2006

Rebuilding Indiana - Part 2

Here's a link to "Rebuilding Indiana - Part 1" from awhile back. Basically I laid out what I thought it meant for Indiana to be considered "rebuilt". My summary was this:

Based on the above, being the best team in the B10 means:
- Winning B10 titles about every other year
- Making the NCAA tournament every season (with perhaps a once-a-decade miss)
- Making the Sweet Sixteen about every other year
- Making the Final Four every 4 seasons or so
- Winning a title every decade or so

I expected to get to Part 2 much quicker, but hey, I've been busy.

Anyway, the second part is asking how long it should take for Indiana to get there. The first problem with the question is that being the best team in the Big Ten is something that you measure over time - not in a single season. So no matter how well Indiana does the next two seasons, we won't be able to conclude that we're back. But since this is all conjecture anyway, I'll just blaze ignorantly along, as usual.

First, what's in store next season.

My guess is that Calloway, Wilmont, AJ Ratliff, DJ White, and Ben Allen will start. That's a decent lineup, but not great. Calloway showed flashes last season, but didn't even play starter minutes consistently until the last 3rd of the season. Wilmont is tough, inspiring, and streaky. Ratliff struggled a LOT. DJ is the star, but obviously we have to worry about his health. Allen didn't play much and was a big defensive liability.

Off the bench we'll have Armon Basset and Erek Suhr as ballhandlers -- Basset is a frosh and Suhr is a former walk-on. I think both will be positive contributers, but not major contributers. On the wing will be Joey Shaw and Xavier Keeling - both freshman, and neither should be expected to be difference makers their first season. In the post we'll have Mike White and Lance Stemler -- both are JUCOs and it'll be a bit disappointing if both of them don't see plenty of minutes inside with DJ and Ben Allen. Which is fortunate because we desparately needed depth inside (kudos to Coach Sampson for effectively filling that hole).

I'm really excited about next season, but mostly just because it's the start of the Kelvin Sampson era, and that'll make it interesting. But I really don't expect Indiana to be anything more than "pretty good". I think we'll make the NCAA tournament, but we'll spend some time on the bubble and I don't think we'll really be in the hunt for the B10 title - or a danger to advance much in the NCAAs. In other words, Indiana will not be "back" next season.

Given that we'll be starting two seniors in the backcourt and our other guard/wings are not especially well-regarded, I suspect that the following season will not be a B10-title-type season either. After that, it comes down to recruiting, and if Indiana is ever going to be back, Sampson has to recruit well. Assuming he does, I think we'll start to see the Indiana teams we desire in Sampson's third year. If not, I'll start to wonder whether we'll be back anytime in the next decade.


Anonymous said...

I was going to respond to your latest "Rebuilding Indiana" blog but recalled the advice of the noted psychiatrist Erhard Efilateg..."do not feed a frenzied fish". Just because you have decided to remain on board the sinking college basketball ship, others, like myself, have moved on to LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Theres nothing like watching the finals of the NBA on a hot afternoon in July. The best part is you can surf to the NHL finals between Carolina and Dallas during commercials! Yes, people who have varied interests are watching Bonds on Bonds, a scintallating half hour of steroid withdrawal. Another summer diversion is our dinner this can chicken in the smoker. Despite this advice, I am forced to reveal that I have received a correspondence from Kelvin Sampson. He is Oh so happy that you, Terry, are not the athletic director at IU...winning B10 titles every other year! making the final four every four seasons! No pressure there. Efilateg spelled backwords.

Terry Bleizeffer said...

Lebron James? Kobe Bryant? Never heard of them. They must not have played college basketball.