The 2018-19 Indiana Hoosiers will not be the same team that finished 16-15 and suffered a disappointing defeat in their first game of the Big Ten Tournament against Rutgers last season. This Hoosiers team will feature one of the best returning seniors from last season as well as the No.5 overall recruit in the nation. Led by Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford, Archie Miller’s squad will come into this season with much higher expectations than they did last season.
The Hoosiers recently jumped into the CBS sports way-too-early top-25 at the 25th spot. Their recruiting class along with a strong base coming back to Bloomington should mix for a strong season in Assembly Hall. But their season will be no cake walk. It will feature a presumed six games against other CBS top-25 teams. Two games against Michigan and Michigan State, as well as the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Duke will be strong tests for the talented Hoosiers who have a good mix of upperclassmen and freshman. However, Miller’s team will also face tough opponents in Purdue twice next season as well as Butler in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. Both teams made March Madness tournament runs last season and have appeared on other way-too-early top-25 lists. If the Hoosiers play the way they did last season in big games, especially in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, they will give themselves a good chance at finishing the season as a top-10 team in the country. Miller lead his team in well played games against topped ranked opponents such as Purdue, Michigan State and Duke last season, losing all three of those games by margins of 10 points or less. The extra push from a pure scorer such as Langford could set them over the top and allow them to win close games against top opponents.
The complete 2018-19 schedule is not yet set in stone, but they do know they will play out-of-conference opponents Louisville, Arkansas and Marquette, all of which have the potential to prove quality opponents. Their official 20 conference schedule will be announced with dates and times in August.
With their strong core of players returning, and the exciting fresh blood they are bringing in, there is a strong case to be made for this team to make a deep run in not only the Big Ten Tournament but also the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Archie Miller worked hard to bring in a top-10 recruiting class that could lead the Hoosiers to their first appearance in the Big Dance since 2016. Coach Miller will also return five of his top seven scorers from last season.
Hoosier fans’ will have high expectations for this team to click early in the season and find their groove as their Big Ten schedule approaches. Unless the pressure overwhelms Miller and his team, they should easily improve on their 16-15 record from last year.
I would expect the Hoosiers to finish the season around the 25 win mark, which would have placed them well in the top-25 and possibly into the top-10 last season. With one of the best front courts in the country, and a blue chip recruit such as Langford, the Hoosiers will be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming season.