An Argument For AND Against IUBB as Contenders Next Season

Mackenzie Mgabko, Indiana Men's Basketball
Mackenzie Mgabko, Indiana Men's Basketball / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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First and foremost, let's not get ahead of ourselves when it comes to this team's shooting ability. If there is one area of the modern game of basketball that you do not want lingering as an Achilles heel, it is the ability to knock down shots consistently and earn the respect of defenses.

As currently constructed, this team is going to place a heavy burden on the shoulders of Luke Goode to hit shots. Anthony Leal will more than likely find himself on the outside looking in of a crowded backcourt rotation, and he is really the only genuine shooting threat that Indiana has. Also, as previously noted Leal attempted just 19 shots from deep in 2023-2024, so stamping him as a bonafide marksman would be foolish.

Luke Goode, Indiana Men's Basketball
Luke Goode, Indiana Men's Basketball / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

We should certainly see an uptick in offensive output from Mackenzie Mgbako in year 2, but with increased offensive responsibility typically comes decreased overall offensive efficiency. The fact of the matter is that Mgbako will have the ball in his hands a lot more this year than he did last, and will undoubtedly get a lot more shots with him moving into more of a focal point role. He may have shown a lot of promise as last season waned on, but his outside shot was highly volatile from season's start to finish in 2023-2024.

Woody certainly has a nice collection of offensive weapons to work with, and with so many guys capable of getting buckets in a variety of ways it is not crazy to think that they may be able to overcome some tough shooting nights by simply scoring from other areas of the floor and locking in on the defensive end.

As far as the less glamorous end is concerned, IU undoubtedly has some nice perimeter pieces to throw at opposing wing threats. Mix in the rim protection plus rebounding domination of Oumar Ballo from the backline, and it is not difficult to envision this team morphing into one of the more underrated defenses in the country.

However, this team is going to rely all caps HEAVILY on Ballo for his presence in the paint. With Malik Reneau (6'9", 235 pounds) and newcomer Langdon Hatton (6'10", 240 pounds) being the only other true big boys currently on board, fans everywhere should be praying day in and day out for the sustained health and non-foul trouble of Ballo. If he were to find himself in foul trouble or (lord forbid) in a battle with the injury bug, the Hoosiers could find themselves in a lot of trouble.

Oumar Ballo, Indiana Men's Basketball
Oumar Ballo, Indiana Men's Basketball / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

So, what do you think? Are the Indiana Hoosiers NCAA title contenders as we look ahead to the 2024-2025 season?

Only time can reveal the answer to that question, and we are eager to see how things play out.

Go Hoosiers!