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Indiana Basketball: Five burning offseason questions

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We're not even a week into the offseason for Indiana basketball, but there are already several concerns about the Hoosiers that will need to be answered in the coming months. Time to run down the five biggest questions about this team going forward.

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1. Who will be on the roster next season?

Currently the Hoosiers are once again oversigned for next fall, and with no seniors on the roster this year, two scholarship players will have to make room for new recruits Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby. Say what you will about the ethics or the integrity of this practice, but for better or worse it is something the Hoosiers will have to deal with again this offseason. The two players who seem likely transfer candidates are Jeremiah April and Tim Priller, two guys who did not receive much play time during the course of the season. (UPDATE: Stanford Robinson just announced he's transfering, so he would account for one of the spots.)

However, uncertainties about some of Indiana's star players exist as well. While Troy Williams' mother hinted at his return on his facebook page, Troy has yet to announce any decision yet. Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon, Jr. are in the same boat, and both could harbor dreams of potentially being drafted. Yogi is an interesting case for another reason too. He will have enough credits to graduate after this semester. As a result, he can use a graduate transfer to attend any school next season, instead of waiting out the usual year before playing again.

All of this speculation leads me to think that the Hoosiers could either have a very revamped roster by the time next season rolls around, or they could maintain the status quo for the most part.

2. Will Indiana recruit any more incoming freshmen?

Yes, the Hoosiers are oversigned already. But this hasn't stopped Tom Crean and his assistants from continuing to hit the recruiting trail. Indiana has been linked to two big men targets in Thomas Bryant and Thon Maker, and both of these recruits were in Bloomington for the final home game of the season against Michigan State. The 6-9 Bryant seems like the more plausible candidate for the Hoosiers at the moment, and Indiana seems to be competing with Syracuse for the services of the Rochester native. However, Maker is an intriguing candidate in his own right, if a bit of a wild card. Maker is not officially classified as a 2015 recruit yet, but he seems to be attempting to reclassify, and Indiana is one of the schools, along with Kentucky, that the seven-footer seems to be considering the most. Maker, however, may not graduate until next year, or may not even play on American soil next fall, so his situation remains rather clouded. Despite this, getting at least one of these two top recruits could fix some of IU's current issues, as Zach Osterman pointed out recently.

3. Who will replace Steve McClain?

As you have likely heard by now, IU assistant coach Steve McClain accepted the head coaching job at UIC over the weekend. When an assistant leaves for a head coaching job, it's hard to be too upset, and we wish  the best of luck in the Windy City to McClain, who previously went 157-115 as head coach of Wyoming. However, this does leave a vacancy open on the coaching staff. The common wisdom is that longtime Crean assistant Bennie Seltzer will rejoin the staff full-time to replace McClain. Seltzer, who coached at Samford for two years between 2012 and 2014, recently came back to Bloomington in a temporary role as Director of Player Performance. As a result, Seltzer seems like the favorite to replace McClain, unless Crean decides to go in a different direction. In addition, S&C coach Je'Ney Jackson also still needs to be replaced, after he departed to Kansas mid-season.

4. Can the defense be fixed?

Indiana's major liability this year was, of course, on the defensive side of the ball. The Hoosiers finished the season ranked 218th in KenPom adjusted defense. Not only was the final rating bad, but the Hoosiers struggled to improve on that side of the ball all season, and even regressed at times. In order to be more successful next season, Indiana will need to improve vastly on this rating, which was over 50 spots below any other Big Ten team. Whether it's a new assistant coach who's a defensive specialist, maturity of the current players, more height and post presence, or some combination of all of these, the Hoosiers need to fix their defense next year.

5. Finally, the major elephant in the room: Will Tom Crean be the Indiana head coach next fall?

I couldn't let this loaded question pass by without addressing it, since the first four concerns all tie into this one. In the days between the Iowa and the MSU games, speculation about Crean's job reached a fever pitch. However, visits from both Bryant and Maker, along with a valiant comeback effort against Sparty that just fell short, quelled these rumors for the time being. In addition, no indication has yet been made that Crean will not return next year. At the same time, neither Fred Glass nor Crean himself has said anything definitive either. I don't want to even start speculating over who would replace Crean, because that's another entire can of worms.

My guess is that Crean will return. Neither the team nor the fans should be satisfied with this season, especially the last month and a half of it. However, considering the preseason drama surrounding the Hoosiers, as well as exceeding most preseason expectations, IU's 2014-15 campaign did have plenty of positive moments. This is also a young team, so the current players will have more development and maturity under their belts going into next season. Plus, if all of the key players return, Indiana does have a nice foundation for next season, even if the team doesn't get one of the big men targets.

The next few weeks should be very interesting though, and hopefully clear up these questions for Hoosier fans. Otherwise, it could be a long offseason.