FORT WAYNE –
Indiana was voted preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press top 25 poll for the first time since 1979-80. The Hoosiers were also preseason No. 1 in 1975-76.
Indiana returns its top five scorers from last year’s 27-9 team that reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002.
Sophomore forward Cody Zeller gained a spot on The Associated Press preseason All-American team. He appeared on 64 of the 65 ballots. Zeller was also named preseason Big Ten Player of the Year.
Indiana finished second last year in three-point field goal percentage (43.1 percent).
Freshman Kevin Yogi Ferrell was the 17th IU recruit to play in the McDonald’s All-American game.
4 games of interest
Nov. 27 vs. North Carolina: The Hoosiers face the Tar Heels in the marquee matchup for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Jan. 27 vs. Michigan State: The Spartans are ranked No. 14 in The Associated Press preseason poll.
Feb. 2 vs. Michigan: ESPN Game Day will be in Bloomington for the meeting between the teams picked to finish first and second in the Big Ten preseason poll.
Feb. 10 at Ohio State: A tough road test for the Hoosiers. Bishop Luers graduate Deshaun Thomas, a preseason All-American, leads the Buckeyes.
3 key players
Zeller, So., F: The 7-foot, 230-pound Zeller led the Hoosiers in scoring (15.6) and rebounding (6.6). He also aided IU on defense, leading the team in blocks (42) and tied for first with 49 steals.
Christian Watford, Sr., F: A senior leader along with Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston, the 6-9, 225-pound Watford finished second last year on the team in scoring (12.6) and hit the game-winning shot against Kentucky.
Ferrell, Fr., G: A member of IU’s prized recruiting class, the 6-foot, 178-pound freshman point guard was ranked the No. 19 player overall for the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com.
2 points of concern
IU looks to improve defensively. The Hoosiers were 10th in the Big Ten last year in scoring defense (66.4 points per game).
Depth test: Derek Elston is sidelined a few weeks with a knee injury, hurting IU’s depth.
1 major issue
Indiana has gone from the hunters to the hunted. But IU has enough talent and depth for a run at the NCAA championship.