by Joel Welser
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, Second Round loss to UCLA
Coach: Dan Dakich (First NCAA appearance)
Armon Bassett, Sophomore, Guard
Eric Gordon, Freshman, Guard
Jamarcus Ellis, Junior, Guard
Lance Stemler, Senior, Forward
D.J. White, Senior, Forward
Key Role Players:
Jordan Crawford, Junior, Guard
DeAndre Thomas, Junior, Forward
Mike White, Senior, Forward
Kyle Taber, Junior, Forward
Why They Can Surprise:
The Hoosiers may just have the two most dominating players in the Big Ten in Eric Gordon and D.J. White and what a great inside-outside combination those two have become. Gordon, just a freshman, is a superb scorer. Not only does he knock down 40 percent of his shots from long range, but he does an amazing amount of damage at the free-throw line. He gets to the line over eight times a game and it certainly boosts his scoring total when he hits over 85 percent of his attempts from the stripe.
White is the presence under the basket. The 6-9 senior is an efficient scorer and a huge presence on both ends of the floor. His superb rebounding skills make the Hoosiers one of the best rebounding teams in the nation.
Why They Can Disappoint:
And what makes the team’s rebounding ability particularly surprising is the fact that they do not really have a great power forward to help out D.J. White on the glass. Lance Stemler has started a handful of games at the four spot this year, but he is more of a shooter off the bench type of player. Mike White has the most experience and does a decent job on the glass when he gets the opportunity. The most intriguing power forward possibility is DeAndre Thomas. The 6-8 forward has slimmed down to a smooth 295 pounds and certainly has the body to clear space under the basket. Thomas has seen his minutes decrease during conference play, but he will still play an important role off the bench, especially if D.J. White runs into foul trouble. The late season departure of Coach Kelvin Sampson does not inject confidence in the team either. Yet, they have had some time to come to terms with the situation and it should not have a huge effect on the players in the heat of the battle.
Who To Watch:
Finding a third scorer on any given night to compliment D.J. White and Gordon will be very important for the success of the Hoosiers. Luckily, they have three great candidates who usually do step up and put up some big numbers. Armon Bassett, Jordan Crawford and Jamarcus Ellis will do a lot more than just score though. All three have gotten into the habit of finding their teammates. Bassett shoots better from beyond the arc than he does inside of it and Ellis is one of the best rebounding guards in the conference.
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