If you are wondering if it really took this long to get to a Big Ten team in my rankings, then you would be correct. Considering the conference had nine teams make the NCAA Tournament last season, it can be surprising, but all of them, except for Indiana, suffered huge losses. They return 78.1% of their minutes and 81.6% of their possession minutes. Both of those numbers are by far the most in the Big Ten. That puts the Hoosiers in the driver’s seat and in a prime position to win their first regular-season conference championship since 2016 as the program approaches 1,900 all-time wins.
Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #12 Indiana Hoosiers
One of the most impactful things to happen in college basketball over the offseason was Trayce Jackson-Davis withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft. The senior is arguably a top-five player in all of college basketball and was named a preseason first-team All-American on Monday. He led the Hoosiers in points, rebounds, and blocks and was second in assists last year. Jackson-Davis should be a first-round pick in next summer’s draft.
Among the group of returners is three super seniors. Xavier Johnson averaged 5.1 assists per game last season, good enough for third in the Big Ten. That, of course, led the team, and he also led the team in steals as well. Race Thompson was tenth in the conference in rebounding average (TJD was sixth.) and second on the team. Miller Kopp transferred in from Northwestern prior to last year. His numbers dropped off significantly, but that’s fine, as he is still a valuable player. Multiple role players return too.
In addition to returning 78.1% of their minutes from last season, Mike Woodson’s squad also brought in a great recruiting class. The prize of the four-man class is five-star Jalen Hood-Schifino. He can play really three positions and can do pretty much everything except shooting from distance. Top 30 recruit Malik Reneau is another member of the class. He is a force inside.
PF – Trayce Jackson-Davis (18.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.6 SPG, 2.3 BPG)
F – Race Thompson (11.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 BPG)
SF – Miller Kopp (6.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG)
G – Jalen Hood-Schifino (#23 overall recruit on 247 Sports)
PG – Xavier Johnson (12.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG)