Can Indiana return to the Final Four for the first time in 21 years?
Well known national college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein believes it isn’t out of the question.
Rothstein named five dark horse candidates to reach the 2023 Final Four, and added to an offseason full of optimistic outlooks for IU when he included the Hoosiers as one of his picks.
Why does he like Indiana this year? It’s pretty simple — the Hoosiers have an experienced, deep and talented roster.
“The Hoosiers may be viewed as the favorite in the Big Ten by default, but you can’t argue with the facts: Indiana returns 90.9 percent of its scoring from a team that reached the NCAA Tournament last season and boasts a seasoned frontcourt with All -American Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson. Xavier Johnson and Miller Kopp also return as starters while Jordan Geronimo, Trey Galloway, Tamar Bates are rotation players who return with game experience. Indiana also added a pair of five-star newcomers in freshmen Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau. The talent base in Bloomington has drastically improved,” Rothstein wrote.
The pick by Rothstein is just the latest rosy outlook for IU basketball in the last few months as rosters for the 2022-23 season came into focus. The Hoosiers are widely viewed as the favorite to win the Big Ten, something IU hasn’t done since 2016.
Roster attrition has become a major theme in college basketball over the last few years, and head coach Mike Woodson has done a tremendous job of assembling a talented squad since he arrived 18 months ago. It will be an ongoing, annual effort to amass and retain talent, but at least for the upcoming campaign, Woodson and his staff seem to have done enough to warrant the positive press coming their way.
Rothstein also picked TCU, San Diego State, Virginia and Tennessee as dark horse candidates to reach the 2023 Final Four in Houston.
Whenever the Hoosiers return to the Final Four, it will be a long time coming. IU last appeared in the prestigious final weekend of college basketball under head coach Mike Davis in 2002, when they reached the national championship game in Atlanta before falling to Maryland. Most of the players from that team are now into their 40s.
Indiana opens the 2022-23 season on Nov. 7 against Morehead State.
For the complete IU basketball schedule, GO HERE.
For a Big Ten team-by-team look at roster turnover, GO HERE.
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