As the 2017-18 season gears up, Coach Archie Miller and the IU men's basketball team look to return to the NCAA tournament. Read on for previews, tours, insights, players to watch and more.

IU men's basketball driven by last season's disappointment

Senior forward Collin Hartman shoots the ball against the University of Indianapolis on Nov. 5 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Hartman is one of several seniors on this year's IU team who will look to end their IU careers with an NCAA Tournament appearance.

The two locker rooms couldn’t have been been more different.

IU’s lasting image from the 2016 season was the jubilation of the postgame scene following a victory at Iowa to clinch the Big Ten Conference regular season title.

Then contrast that happiness with IU's locker room just one season later after the Hoosiers lost to Wisconsin in the 2017 Big Ten Tournament.

IU’s NCAA Tournament hopes were extinguished with that loss, and it was clear by the look on the players' faces. The Hoosiers looked shell-shocked and despondent, and there appeared to have been tears shed.

Heading into IU's regular season opener against Indiana State on Nov. 10, this Hoosier team said they are motivated by the failures of last season.

Read more here.

IU men's basketball's freshmen bring balance, poise to Hoosiers

Freshman forward Justin Smith attempts a free throw against Marian on Oct. 28 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Smith is one of three freshmen who committed to IU while the Hoosiers were coached by Tom Crean, but followed through with enrolling at IU after new Coach Archie Miller was appointed.

When three of IU's current freshmen signed letters of intent to become Hoosiers last November, they were committing to play under then-Coach Tom Crean.

Crean spent months and years building relationships with these players, but what new IU Coach Archie Miller appreciates about Crean’s recruiting efforts is the way Crean sold prospective players on the school, not just himself.

Though all three freshmen – guard Al Durham and forwards Justin Smith and Clifton Moore – reevaluated their commitments in the spring after Miller replaced Crean, they each stayed loyal to the Hoosiers.

“There was a purpose for them all going to IU,” Miller said. “It wasn't just a basketball decision or coaching staff decision. All three of them were really bought into the university, they got locked in to the tradition and the fan base, and they fell in love with it.”

Their purpose has taken on more meaning now that they’ll be the first class under Miller’s leadership. Senior forward Collin Hartman said all of IU’s players are essentially freshmen this year while learning Miller’s new system, but the 2017 recruiting class will be the one with the most time to develop.

Read more here.

New monuments and sculptures placed at Assembly Hall

Monuments and memories: Click through the slideshow to see each of the monuments for the five teams that won national titles for IU.

Five new monuments dedicated to IU's national title-winning teams now line the entrance to the south lobby at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

The rectangular granite slabs were funded by a gift from Ken Nunn and include the names of each player and coach on the championship teams from 1940, 1953, 1976, 1981 and 1987.

On the front sides of the monuments are images of IU players and scenes from each season. Artist Brian Hanlon designed and produced the monuments, which were installed at Ken Nunn Champions Plaza before Hoosier Hysteria on Oct. 21 and will be accessible to fans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Five new sculptures were also installed inside the south lobby of Assembly Hall before the season. They depict five different iconic moments or eras in IU basketball history. Longtime IU Coach and three-time national champion Bob Knight is notably absent from the sculptures, which IU said was a result of Knight declining to be portrayed.

Everett Dean, IU's first All-American who went on to become a 14-year head coach for the Hoosiers, earned his own sculpture as "The Father of Indiana Basketball." This particular portrayal of Dean is based on a picture from the 1921 Arbutus yearbook. Dean coached IU from 1924 until 1938 and led the Hoosiers to three Big Ten Conference titles.
Two-time national champion Branch McCracken is depicted alongside Bill Garrett, who became the first African-American to play Big Ten basketball in 1948. Garrett led IU in scoring and rebounding in each of his three seasons with the team, and was named an All-American in his senior season. He was coached by McCracken, a former IU player himself who then led the team to two national titles at the helm of the Hoosiers.
The 1976 IU team, which remains the last men's basketball team to finish the year as undefeated national champions, is shown receiving their plaques for the NCAA title. Bobby Wilkerson, Kent Benson, Scott May, Quinn Buckner, Jim Crews and Tom Abernethy all played key roles on the squad that was named the best March Madness team of all time by the NCAA in 2013. Knight likely would have joined his former players in this sculpture, but said no when IU asked if he wanted to be included.
Isiah Thomas' layup against North Carolina in the 1981 national championship game is depicted to recognize the team's dominance in the NCAA Tournament that season. The Hoosiers won their tournament games by an average of 22.6 points as the future Hall of Famer Thomas led the way.
Steve Alford and Keith Smart shoot alongside each other in the monument to honor the 1987 squad, IU's last national champion in men's basketball. Alford was the senior point guard that led the team in 1987, while Smart hit a game-winning jump shot to beat Syracuse in the title game. Fittingly, the sculpture is named "The Shooter and The Shot."

What can we expect from men’s basketball this season?

IU Coach Archie Miller directs his players against Marian on Oct. 28 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Miller is in his first year as head coach of the IU men's basketball program.

New coach, new culture, new mentality. We’ve heard it before in what has been a hectic offseason for IU basketball.

But what exactly should you expect from this team?

James Blackmon Jr., Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby are all gone, so what does IU need to do this season to make it a successful one?

Last year, an opening win against Kansas and a top-five victory at home against eventual national champion North Carolina, saw expectations rise to a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

But after the North Carolina win, IU went 0-7 against ranked opponents the rest of the season, and failed to show up when it mattered most. The win against Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament asked the question if the Hoosiers could get back to the level they were playing at to start the campaign, but the Hoosiers were trumped in the quarterfinals to two-seed Wisconsin.

I don’t need to remind you of what happened after that.

So what is it going to take to consider 2017-18 a “success?" It all starts with improvement, then a marquee win, then the quest for a leader on the court.

Mentoring players will be critical this season, especially for the development of the freshman class.

Read more here.

Players to watch this season

Sophomore guard #11 Devonte Green

6’3” and 186 lbs.
North Babylon, New York
2016-17 stats: 4.4 points per game, 1.8 rebounds per game, 1.1 assists per game in 32 games played (three starts).

Green’s teammates and coaches have heaped praise upon his offseason improvements in the lead up to IU’s preseason, and the sophomore guard has delivered on the hype thus far. After leading all Hoosiers in scoring in a sloppy Hoosier Hysteria scrimmage, Green came out in IU’s first exhibition game against Marian University and recorded 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead the Hoosiers in each category.

IU has a pair of senior guards in Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk that figure to handle most of the point guard duties, but Green is making a hard push for his own role as an offensive playmaker. He had the highest three-point field goal percentage (44 percent) of any Hoosier with more than five attempts last season, and impressed Archie Miller enough in October to earn the first “gold jersey” that Miller gives to the most productive player in practice each week.

Green is a member of a sophomore class – alongside guard Curtis Jones and forward De’Ron Davis – that could drastically alter IU’s fortunes this season if they each take a significant jump. So far, all signs point to Green, possibly taking the biggest jump of the three.

Sophomore forward #20 De’Ron Davis

6’10” and 249 lbs.
Park Hill, Colorado
2016-17 stats: 5.9 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game, 0.9 assists per game, 24 blocks in 34 games played (four starts).

Overshadowed and second on the depth chart to Thomas Bryant last season, De’Ron Davis has a chance to come into his own in the 2017-18 campaign. Davis will assume the starting center role on the team and will be part of the foundation for Coach Archie Miller’s first season.

Putting on nine pounds of sheer muscle, Davis should be an even bigger presence down low under the basket. He started four games last season against Louisville, Minnesota, Iowa and Northwestern. In those games, Davis averaged 7.75 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. He scored his career high in points (15) against Iowa in the first round of last season’s Big Ten Tournament, and fans should expect similar productivity from that game in this upcoming season.

In the Hoosiers’ first exhibition game against Marian University, Davis went 5-7 shooting to score 10 points, nabbing four rebounds and dishing out one assist. If Davis makes a significant leap this season, IU should be in the mix of mid-tier Big Ten teams as long as other players step up as well.

Senior guard #4 Robert Johnson

6’3” and 195 lbs.
Richmond, Virginia
2016-17 stats: 12.8 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, 2.5 assists per game in 34 games played (32 starts).

Johnson returns for his final season in Bloomington as the most experienced player on IU’s roster with 87 starts as a Hoosier. After three seasons without needing to be the go-to-guy, he figures to be the leading scorer this season along with being a strong defender in Archie Miller’s new defensive scheme.

Johnson is 22 points shy of 1,000 for his career and could reach that total in IU’s season opener Nov. 10 against Indiana State. Last season, Johnson’s three-point percentage dropped by nearly 11-percent from his sophomore year and he’ll be asked to regain his form with James Blackmon Jr. gone.

One of IU’s best perimeter defenders, he had a team-high 29 steals last season. While he won’t be the starting point guard, he’ll handle some of the playmaking duties alongside senior guard Josh Newkirk and sophomore guard Devonte Green.

Games to watch this season

People pack into Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for Hoosier Hysteria on Oct. 21. Three of the five "Games to Watch" for IU men's basketball this season will be played in Bloomington.

IU @ No. 23 Seton Hall, Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m., Prudential Center (Newark, New Jersey)

Returning Hoosiers will be familiar with playing a difficult game in the first week of the regular season, as IU beat then-No. 3 Kansas in Hawaii to begin last season. This season, Archie Miller’s first road game as IU Coach will be in the Hoosiers’ third game, against a senior-laden Seton Hall team.

The Pirates return their four leading scorers from a team that reached the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row last season. Senior center Angel Delgado (15.2 points and 13.1 rebounds per game in 2016-17) has popped up on nearly every preseason All-American team, while senior wings Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez combined for 32.8 points per game as Seton Hall’s top two scorers last year.

The mid-November matchup will be the first contest against a legitimate opponent, for both the Hoosiers and the Pirates. If Miller is able to lead IU to a road win against a Seton Hall team that’s gone 25-5 at home in the last two seasons and is ranked No. 23 in the preseason coaches poll, it’ll be a momentum-builder for the difficult December schedule that follows.

IU vs. No. 1 Duke, Nov. 29 at 9:30 p.m., Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (Bloomington, Indiana)

When IU’s regular season schedule was announced on Aug. 13, all eyes were drawn to this game. Undoubtedly one of the biggest games of the season, with national pedigree in store, the Hoosiers will be given a tall task to complete.

Competing with the preseason No. 1 team in the country isn’t easy, especially after IU lost three of its five starters to the NBA Draft this offseason, but there will be no need for any extra motivation for the Hoosiers. Duke has one of the best rosters in the country, mixing the youth of freshmen point guard Trevon Duval and power forward Wendell Carter with the experience of senior guard Grayson Allen.

Not to mention the Blue Devils will also have the No. 1 2017 recruit in power forward Marvin Bagley III on hand as well, after transitioning from high school to the NCAA a year early. Allen’s scoring threat, including his three-point shot, and Bagley’s size, strength and scoring ability, plus Duval’s prolific play at point guard, will make it an interesting game to watch.

Every single starter, from senior guard Josh Newkirk to sophomore forward De’Ron Davis, will have their hands full on Nov. 29.

IU vs. No. 14 Notre Dame, Dec. 16 at 2:30 p.m., Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, Indiana)

After a difficult stretch to start December, it won’t get any easier for IU. In Archie Miller’s first Crossroads Classic, the Hoosiers will face No. 14 Notre Dame, who brings back the dynamic duo of senior forward Bonzie Colson, the preseason ACC Player of the Year, and senior guard Matt Farrell.

Colson has garnered significant preseason hype, appearing on many of the preseason All-American lists. Farrell broke out as one of the best point guards in the country last season as he averaged 14.1 points and 5.4 assists per game.

The Irish also bring back junior guard Rex Pflueger, sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs, senior forward Martinas Geben. Last season, Notre Dame (26-10) finished third in the ACC and was the runner-up in the ACC Tournament.

Under Mike Brey, the Irish have won 82 games the past three seasons. This matchup will be IU’s third game against an ACC foe and the Hoosiers last chance to earn a marquee nonconference victory before Big Ten conference play ramps up.

IU vs. No. 19 Northwestern, Jan. 14, 2018, at 1:30 or 4:30 p.m., Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (Bloomington, Indiana)

The last time these two teams met, IU was celebrating senior night in Bloomington. The game featured a last-second win by IU and even featured a proposal by senior forward Collin Hartman.

Hartman is back for the Hoosiers, but there won't be any antics this time around in the lone matchup of the season between the schools.

The Wildcats have three players in their projected starting lineup that averaged double-digit points last season, one that ended with their first NCAA Tournament appearance. They will rely on senior point guard Bryant McIntosh who not only averaged 14.8 points a game last season, but also averaged 5.2 assists, too.

Along with McIntosh, Northwestern will also turn to junior forward Vic Law’s scoring (12.3 points per game last season) and hard-nosed defense. Senior guard Robert Johnson will likely line up against Law, and senior guard Josh Newkirk matching up with McIntosh at point guard.

Last season’s leading scorer against Northwestern was James Blackmon Jr., and obviously, the Hoosiers will need to fill that void this time around. Northwestern is supposed to challenge for the top spot in the Big Ten this season and have a lot of depth at their disposal, so a win against this side could be one of Archie Miller’s highlights and biggest wins of the season.

IU vs. No. 21 Purdue, Jan. 28, 2018 at 3:30 p.m., Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (Bloomington, Indiana)

Gone is All-American center Caleb Swanigan, but the Purdue team that reached the Sweet Sixteen last season returns all four other starters and has a tailor-made Swanigan replacement in senior center Isaac Haas (12.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in 2016-17).

IU hasn’t matched up well against Purdue’s immense size in recent years, which has caused the Hoosiers to drop five of their last six games against the Boilermakers. This year, for the second time in three seasons, the rivals will only play in Bloomington, so IU is spared a road game at Mackey Arena. But Purdue is 2-1 in its last three games at IU, which should give seniors like Haas, forward Vince Edwards, guard Dakota Mathias and guard P.J. Thompson sky-high confidence heading into their last trip to Bloomington.

Regardless of how IU is doing in Big Ten play when this game arrives around the midpoint of the conference schedule, Archie Miller can earn plenty of goodwill by beating Purdue in his first try. At Big Ten Media Day in mid-October, Miller said he’s already made an effort to understand and appreciate the history of the rivalry, so you can bet he’ll give this game the bit of extra attention it always calls for.