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Indiana Basketball: Hoosiers Team Preview and Season Prediction 2021-22

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana Hoosiers Basketball

Trayce Jackson-Davis and the Hoosiers are projected by Athlon Sports to make the NCAA Tournament for the 2021-22 college basketball season

Mike Woodson is the fifth coach who will try to return Indiana basketball to the glory days of Bob Knight — and the first former Knight player to do so. With his NBA background, Woodson has promised to modernize the uninspired offense that got Archie Miller fired after four seasons. It's defense, with an emphasis on man-to-man, where Woodson will most resemble Knight.

After questions about his lack of college experience, Woodson won applause by talking five IU players out of the transfer portal, led by sophomore Trayce Jackson-Davis, a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate. Woodson added two transfers as well as guard Tamar Bates, the nation's No. 28 recruit.

If Woodson can fix the Hoosiers' issues at guard and with 3-point shooting, IU could be a Big Ten surprise team.

Related: College Basketball Top 25 for 2021-22

At a Glance

HEAD COACH: Mike Woodson

2020-21 RECORD (BIG TEN): 12-15 (7-12)

2020-21 POSTSEASON: None

KEY LOSSES:
G Aljami Durham (11.3 ppg, 2.6 apg)
G Armaan Franklin (11.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
F Jerome Hunter (6.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

Frontcourt

After averaging 19.1 points and 9.0 rebounds, Jackson-Davis considered the NBA. But Woodson convinced him that he needed to fix holes in his game. Adding a reliable mid-range jumper and free-throw stroke (65.5 percent) will be a start. He must stop being so reliant on his left hand. If that happens, beware. Jackson-Davis had 14 games in which he scored 20 or more last season.

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Race Thompson, also more effective close to the basket, averaged 9.1 points and 6.2 rebounds while starting all 27 games. If Woodson follows through on his pledge to spread the floor, look for freshman Jordan Geronimo or Miller Kopp, a transfer from Northwestern, to earn more time. Geronimo is the team's most dynamic athlete, while Kopp made nearly 36 percent of his 3-point attempts in three seasons with the Wildcats.

Michael Durr, a 7-foot transfer from South Florida, and Logan Duncomb, a four-star recruit from Moeller High School, give Woodson two more low-post options.

Backcourt

The Hoosiers haven't had a point guard the Big Ten feared since Yogi Ferrell left in 2016. Turnovers and erratic 3-point shooting were a consistent problem during the Miller Era, as the Hoosiers ranked in the bottom half of the Big Ten in 3-point shooting percentage four straight years.

Armaan Franklin (Virginia) and Aljami Durham (Providence) led the team in 3-point shooting but transferred. That left Woodson with seven pieces as he tries to build a winning guard rotation.

At point guard, Rob Phinisee has battled injuries and sagging confidence the last two seasons after a solid freshman year. He must improve his 26 percent 3-point stroke to stay ahead of Khristian Lander and Xavier Johnson at the point.

Lander was a five-star recruit who reclassified but looked physically overmatched as a freshman, making 27 percent of his threes and 23 percent of his 2-point shots. Lander is a creative playmaker who did his best work against the pick-and-roll, but his defense lacked intensity. Johnson averaged 13 points while starting 81 games over three seasons at Pitt but left the program in late February. He also had turnover issues.

Competition for the other guard spot will be intense. Parker Stewart, who played at Pitt and UT Martin, is the best 3-point shooter. Bates de-committed from Texas after Shaka Smart left for Marquette. He’s a swift, 6'5" wing with a knack for scoring. Other backcourt options include Anthony Leal, who can shoot, and Trey Galloway, who prefers driving.

Final Analysis

The Hoosiers have the pieces to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. Jackson-Davis can dominate any game and is always a threat for a double-double. If the Hoosiers develop perimeter players who can draw double-teams, Jackson-Davis will become more efficient and dangerous.

Woodson promises a faster tempo. He says he will encourage his guards to shoot more 3-pointers. Building a winning backcourt will determine if IU can win 20 games and get back to the Big Dance.

Postseason Prediction: NCAA Tournament Round of 64
Big Ten Prediction: 7