Crean will deliver with big season at Indiana

The Big Ten is going to make a lot of noise this season. A lot of people believe Maryland could be the team to beat for the national championship.

While the Terps are going to be dynamite, this league is a lot deeper than just Maryland. One program that intrigues me is Indiana. Stay tuned for what transpires with the Hoosiers.

Coach Tom Crean is in a pivotal year after going 20-14 last season. Indiana did make the NCAA tournament, where it lost to Wichita State. The Hoosiers closed the season 1-5 in their final six games, including the defeat against the Shockers.

I love Crean's incredible passion, his ability to work around the clock, busting his gut big-time. The fans in Bloomington are expecting big things this season. If the team doesn't deliver, there will be a lot of upset Hoosiers.

Why is there so much optimism? Let's start with their backcourt, which will be terrific.

Yogi Ferrell can handle the rock with the best of them. He can hit the trifecta, leading the team with 82 made 3s last season. This is his senior year, so it is now or never for him. James Blackmon Jr. is a scoring whiz, though he is coming off a knee injury. He should be fine and should improve on his average of 15.7 points per game.

Factor in the athleticism of Robert Johnson, who averaged just under 9 PPG while finishing second on the team in assists (2.3 per game). That is quite a trio. Then add Nick Zeisloft -- who hit 45 percent of his trifecta attempts last season -- to help out.

The key could be the development of the diaper dandy in the post, Thomas Bryant. Indiana needs quality size and Bryant provides that. Teaming with talented Troy Williams up front, they should take some of the pressure off the perimeter players.

The Hoosiers need to do a better job on the glass. Last season, they were just plus-3 in rebound margin.

Crean's numbers in recent years are good. During the past four years, he has led Indiana to a 93-45 record, the 2013 Big Ten regular-season title outright, and back-to-back appearances in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1994.

Something tells me this will be a big year for Indiana basketball.