2022-23 Indiana basketball season odds preview: Hoosiers favored to win Big Ten

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FILE - Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis (23) shoots against Iowa's Keegan Murray (15) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinal round at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Saturday, March 12, 2022, in Indianapolis. Indiana brings back star forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

BY MARK KERN

If year one of the Mike Woodson era was an indication of what is to come for the Hoosiers, then Indiana fans should be very excited for what the future holds.

The Hoosiers made the NCAA tournament last season for the first time since a run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2016. Indiana was able to beat Wyoming in one of the First Four games, but the run ended in a blowout loss to St. Mary’s in the first round. While that individual game was disappointing, the team showed a major improvement and has optimism very high heading into the season.

The No. 1 reason for optimism is what the Hoosiers have returning. None of the Big Ten’s first-team all-conference players return, while the Hoosiers will bring back a league-best 78.1% of their team’s minutes played from last season.

Accordingly, Caesars Sportsbook lists the Hoosiers as narrow favorites to win the Big Ten. Entering the season, Indiana is +350 to win the conference’s regular-season title, with Purdue and Michigan State tied at the next best odds, +550. Indiana has 22 Big Ten titles all time, which is second in conference history.

Indiana’s top returning player for the Trayce Jackson-Davis, who led the Hoosiers in nearly every statistical category last season. Jackson-Davis’ averages of 18.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 58.9% field-goal percentage all led the Hoosiers last season. He is an extremely versatile player who can influence a game on both ends of the court, and figures to be in contention to be the Big Ten player of the year.

Point guard Xavier Johnson also returns and was the second-leading scorer (12.1 points), while leading the team with 5.1 assists and 1.2 steals. His 38.3% 3-point shooting percentage ranks second on the team, but he is also able to score and make plays in the paint.

Joining Jackson-Davis in the frontcourt is Race Thompson, who ranked third in scoring (11.1 points) and second in rebounds (7.5). With these two in the paint, the Hoosiers should figure to be one of the better rebounding teams in the conference.

When it comes to winning the national championship, the Hoosiers have been one of the trendiest picks in the betting world. When the season ended last year, Indiana was +10000, or 100/1 to win the national title. However, the team is now +3500, indicating that bettors are very intrigued with Indiana.

Michigan at +3000 is the only Big Ten team with higher odds than Indiana, and the Hoosiers have the 14th-highest odds in all of college basketball. The two teams with the highest odds in all of college basketball are Gonzaga and UNC, who are both at +900. Kentucky and Houston are tied at +1000, and Arkansas and defending national champion Kansas are the next highest odds at +1400.

Keeping those three players were a big part of the reason why the Hoosiers moved up in terms of title odds, they weren’t the only reason.

The Hoosiers brought in five-star wing Jalen Hood-Schifino, a guard who attended high school at Montverde Academy. He was a consensus top-25 prospect by all the recruiting agencies and is the highest rated recruit entering the Big Ten. The 6-foot-6 freshman forward was voted the Big Ten preseason freshman of the year.

While the team appears to be a team that can contend for championships, Jackson-Davis is a sleeper to win the John Wooden Award as national player of the year.

Entering the season, he is tied with the Nick Smith Jr. of Arkansas with the eleventh-best odds in all of college basketball to be named the player of the year at +2000. His odds are the second best among all Big Ten players, as Michigan center Hunter Dickinson is just in front of him at +1900.

While those two are sleepers in terms of winning the national player of the year, they figure to be in a tight battle to win the Big Ten player of the year.

Both Jackson-Davis and Dickinson were voted as the two unanimous selections to the preseason first-team all-conference team.

There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic if you are a Hoosiers fan right now, as this team has the makings of a Big Ten title contender and a team that could make a run in the tournament. Also, the Hoosiers have some guys who are more than capable of winning individual awards as well.

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