Hoosier State Hoops: Outlook on the state's 2019-20 season

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For the state of Indiana, schools are looking to return to once great heights. Purdue finished with an Elite Eight appearance, Indiana fought through a talented team but could not figure it out, Notre Dame battled the injury bug, and Butler had a season of ups and downs. Despite the fact that it seems the state may not be as great this season, I believe the opposite. 

First off, let’s start with the Purdue Boilermakers. The Boilermakers are ranked in this year’s AP poll at 23. Even without Carsen Edwards (who left for the NBA) and Ryan Cline (graduated), there is still a possibility for a big run in this group. The Purdue lineup will be consisting of players who are experienced and look to build on an Elite Eight run. 

One player to keep an eye on with the Boilermakers is Aaron Wheeler Jr. I have been consistently watching his development as I feel he has some NBA potential. He has the ability to defend all kinds of forwards, a skill which is needed in the NBA today. A sleeper to think about for Purdue is Stasha Stefanovic. Stefanovic came into the roster last season being known as a shooter. This year, they will need that more than ever, especially since Purdue is 13-3 when Stefanovic makes a 3-point shot. 

For the Hoosiers, this season could be tough to overcome. They are already getting bit by the injury bug as Devonte Green was ruled out for the opener and Robert Phinisee is dealing with abdominal pain. Those two guards had significant roles for this team and it could be a factor to how they get going early on. Fortunately, the Indiana Hoosiers have revamped a front court that could possibly be the best in the Big Ten with their depth. 

Someone to keep an eye on for the Hoosiers is Joey Brunk. Brunk, a graduate of Southport High School, spent three years at Butler and he transferred into Indiana to give them experience. Brunk, at 6-11 and 245 pounds, looks to be a force in the block along side newcomer Trayce Jackson-Davis who wants to show why he was ranked as the 16th best prospect in the country for the 2019 class. 

However, I can’t forget the team that has gone under the radar in terms of big picture for the college basketball season. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, led by head coach Mike Brey, always seem to figure out whatever needs to happen, not to mention that it can help to get positive news to the roster. Rex Pflueger suffered an ACL injury this past December and he will stay one more year to help T.J. Gibbs and Joe Mooney get back to the NCAA Tournament. 

Personally, I think the man to keep an eye on for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is Mike Brey. Brey is a coach who has always found a way to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) despite injuries, suspensions, or what seems like everything. With him at the helm, Irish fans should not panic as he can bring a successful mindset to any situation. 

However, a team that ended up being competitive last season but did not make the NCAA Tournament was the Butler Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are a team that, in recent memory, are constantly in the NCAA tournament. So as they look to get back to the Big Dance, they will turn to their terrific point guard Kamar Baldwin. He averaged 17.2 points a game last season as he looks to give Butler a leader for head coach LaVall Jordan. 

Meanwhile, Baldwin gets the hype, I believe Jordan Tucker will show why his transfer to Butler can be impactful. Tucker was ranked 42nd in the class and Butler has never had a player that highly ranked. His impact in his second year in the Big East could make a huge difference as I see him averaging much more than 9.7 points a game.


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