Hola, amigos. I know it's been a while since I rapped at ya.... etc. Now that the end-of-the-season hangover is starting to wear off, let's check back in on what's happening around IU and the Big Ten Conference.
So, there's been a bit of an exodus, with Remy Abell and Maurice Creek apparently both looking for more PT, but we can start getting excited about the incoming freshmen class. Noah Vonleh, Luke Fischer, Troy Williams, and Stanford Robinson are all looking capable of really contributing from day one. Williams won the MVP award of the Derby classic, but fellow recruit Devin Davis shot 7-of-8 in that game and impressed as well. Maybe Davis can take over the Sheehey role off the bench? Robinson just impressed in the Capital Classic as well, dropping in 19 points.
The big questions that I will be watching in the coming months will be where Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller go in the draft, whether Christian Watford can sneak into the first round (I don't think so), and if Crean adds anyone else to the roster for the fall. It seems unlikely, but Remy Abell was a bit of a surprise that paid off.
The latest news here is that the Hoosiers will be playing in the East division in 2014, with a protected rivalry with Purdue. The "Leaders and Legends" foolishness appears to have ended, mercifully. The Hoosiers will play with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland, and Rutgers. John has already started the conversation over here, and my thoughts are essentially that any way the conference got sliced would have had tough matchups for the Hoosiers. Kevin Wilson has the program trending back upward, and the success of IU has to come at the expense of other programs. It will be hard for the Hoosiers to carve out space against historic powerhouses like Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, but the focus should be on just getting to bowl games for the immediate future, which still looks very possible.
The Hoosiers dropped a 1-0 friendly to the U-20 Mexican national team. Indiana was beset by a blistering attack early, but rallied in the second half to create some dangerous chances. Really, the highlight was the excellent play of goalkeeper Michael Soderlund, who early in his career looked like he might unseat Luis Soffner, but had a miserable spring season last year while Soffner's play went to the next level. Soderlund had 11 saves to keep the contest from turning into a rout. Transfer Dylan Mares started and got a shot on goal, and freshman Tanner Thompson and redshirt junior Jamie Vollmer came off the bench.
Big Ten Basketball:
Indiana will soon have the only Assembly Hall in the conference. The University of Illinois has apparently sold the name to State Farm. Fine by me. Illinois has also been the site of an offseason exdous, and coach Groce is pulling in more transfers. Wing Rayvonte Rice and forward Sam Ekey will play next season, and Aaron Cosby will sit out until 2014-2015.
Michigan State got some good news when Adriean Payne and Gary Harris both decided to return for next season. They also snagged former Minnesota recruit Alvin Ellis to shore up their bench, and now appear to be a good bet for the 2014 Final Four. Michigan and Ohio State should also be competitive at the top of the conference again, although losing Trey Burke and DeShaun Thomas will hurt.
And I don't know if you all have been been paying attention, but Purdue's got a small situation with Sandi Marcius. Anthony Johnson and Jacob Lawson were talented players who never seemed to get settled in Painter's system, so it makes sense that they're moving on. Marcius had an opportunity to transfer and probably start immediately at a smaller program (rather than staying and being a back-up/motivational tool for AJ Hammons), but it appears he didn't think through the timing of his announcement, as he needed to complete summer school to graduate and be eligible for that graduate student exemption. Purdue is explicitly not paying for the classes after being spurned, and Marcius cannot get a student loan to cover the costs, so he'll have to get a private loan from somewhere instead. Eamonn Brennan muses on some of the philosophical issues that this case touches on here.