Indiana Hoosiers 2015–16 team preview

Tuesday November 10th, 2015

This article originally appeared in the the Nov. 9, 2015, issue of Sports Illustrated. Subscribe to the magazine here

Senior guard Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell arrived at Big Ten media day in October with a battle wound. Three thin strips of tape covered a cut near his right eye, the result of butting heads with forward Troy Williams during a drill. Ferrell needed medical attention, but he didn’t need an apology. “I don’t want him to be soft,” he says of his 6'7" teammate. “It’s the game.”

The 6-foot Ferrell has come to appreciate hard knocks. As a freshman he started on a 29-win team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament; since then the Hoosiers have just 16 conference victories. This winter, though, they could approach that two-year total, led by three double-digit scorers—Ferrell, Williams and guard James Blackmon Jr.—and 6'10" freshman Thomas Bryant, a four-star recruit.

Adept at dribbling out of trouble, Ferrell can work the baseline to draw defenses and find shooters. He can also score: Last season he averaged 16.3 points and shot a career-best 41.6% from three-point range. And he showed his improved athleticism last month by dunking on his 6'3" strength coach during a practice. Now Ferrell needs to take all that he’s learned from good times and bad and apply it. “He can run a team,” coach Tom Crean says. “Will he run it consistently the way it needs to be run? And will he help inspire his teammates to have great confidence? That’s the key.” 

X-Factor

Thomas Bryant, 6'10" freshman forward

Indiana finished last in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense, allowing 45.3% shooting. The Hoosiers will count on Bryant, a top 30 recruit, to protect the rim and prevent easy buckets.

Coach’s Take

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“No question we should have a lot more versatility with this team. We should be able to play through the post more. The ball has to get into the paint, somehow, if you’re going to have a drive-and-kick three-point shooting game. Every (player) will have to be guarded to the three-point line. We’ll have better basket coverage defense, where we can put more pressure on the ball and create more havoc around the rim, where we weren’t very good last year. The moment we start thinking we’re going to win on offense, like we thought at times last year, then we won’t be very good.”​ — Tom Crean

Projected depth chart

Name

Pos.

PPG

RPG

APG

ORtg

POSS

MINS

Yogi Ferrell

PG

16.2

2.9

5.1

127.2

23%

82%

James Blackmon, Jr.

SG

15.7

4.8

1.7

117.9

25%

72%

Troy Williams

SF

11.9

6.2

1.6

116.6

24%

60%

Robert Johnson

SG

9.1

2.9

2.0

112.7

19%

62%

Thomas Bryant

PF/C

8.6

6.0

0.8

108.3

18%

60%

Max Bielfeldt

PF

8.2

4.9

0.8

111.0

20%

55%

Nick Zeisloft

SG

6.0

2.3

0.7

134.9

13%

44%

Projected conference race

conference rank

team

projected Conf. record

last year's Conf. record

1

Maryland

14-4

14-4

2

Indiana

12-6

9-9

3

Michigan State

12-6

12-6

4

Purdue

11-7

12-6

5

Michigan

11-7

8-10

6

Ohio State

11-7

11-7

7

Wisconsin

10-8

16-2

8

Illinois

9-9

9-9

9

Iowa

9-9

12-6

10

Northwestern

8-10

6-12

11

Nebraska

7-11

5-13

12

Penn State

6-12

4-14

13

Minnesota

5-13

6-12

14

Rutgers

1-17

2-16

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