January 3, 2011

Janus, Part II

Keeping in the theme of Roman mythology, we're going to attempt to see into the future. There will be no predictions necessarily but rather we'll be previewing what it will take for each team to be successful both finishing this season and during the first half of next season. Oh! There are some pictures this time!

The Men

Graduating Seniors: Leroy Nobles (SF); Anthony Williams (PF); John Ashworth (PG); Nick DeSchepper (SG)
Incoming Freshman: Jordan Shanklin (PG); Lyonell Gaines (SF); Marcellus Barksdale (SF)
Upcoming Schedule: @ OAK, @ IPFW, NDSU, SDST, @ UMKC, @ SUU, @ WIU, IPFW, OAK, @ SDST, @ NDSU, SUU, UMKC, @ ORU, @ CENT
Biggest Scheduled Game: 02/24 @ Oral Roberts. The Jaguars and Golden Eagles will more than likely be battling out a spot somewhere in the Summit League rankings, probably the #2 Seed barring some sort of historic breakdown by Oakland. ORU already squeezed a victory out in The Jungle on a last-second bucket, and while IUPUI typically has trouble in Tulsa, they'll need to put all history aside to create momentum going into the tournament.
Best Case Scenario: The Jaguars have plenty of weapons offensively, but not enough of an inside presence to challenge Oakland for top-dog in the Summit League. They will more than likely settle somewhere around the top three in the League. If they could win in the Dakotas, they have a real chance to gather enough momentum to make a real impact in the conference tournament. A post-season tournament besides the NCAA is in their future if they can secure the #2 seed and make another appearance in the championship game. That kind of experience would be fantastic learning experience for the three freshman, in addition to the general cohesion of the team with new guys like Stephen. The first half of 2011-2012 goes fantastically, with the recruits fitting right into the system and a couple potential upset bids. After the first few League games, IUPUI is in first place in the conference.
Worst Case Scenario: Plagued by terrible performances on the road and injuries, IUPUI could end up closer to fifth of sixth in the conference. They might face ORU or a shockingly-good IPFW and see a quick exit from the tournament. A long off season could see Alex take off for the NBA, leaving the Jaguars to find a replacement do-it-all wingman as Leroy will be gone no matter what. The first half of next season wouldn't see the normal up-swing that follows a Ron Hunter rebuilding year. The recruits don't perform to their expected standards and the new sophomores (current freshman) make no obvious strides to get better. The non-conference games are ugly, and IUPUI drops two of three opening League games, putting them near the bottom.

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The Women

Photo Credit: Rachel Hale
Graduating Seniors: Gretchen Gaskins (SG); Laura Blades (SF)
Incoming Freshman: Clair Holba (SF)
Upcoming Schedule: @ Murray State, @ IPFW, @ OAK, SDST, NDSU, @ SUU, @ UMKC, @ WIU, Savannah State, OAK, IPFW, @ NDSU, @ SDST, UMKC, SUU, @ CENT, @ ORU
Biggest Scheduled Game: 01/29 @ Western Illinois. Both teams are near the bottom of the Summit League, and they'll be battling it out all year for the eighth spot in the Summit League tournament. WIU stole a victory from the hands of the Lady Jaguars and a victory in Macomb will be key in securing an invitation to South Dakota come March.
Photo Credit: Rachel Hale
Best Case Scenario: The Lady Jags are able to steal a couple games at home against teams like Southern Utah, and could potentially end up as high as the #7 seed in the tournament. Kerah Nelson and Janna Eichelberger continue to tear up the glass and Austin Parkinson finds a way to get Gretchen Gaskin and Shea Collins going from the perimeter. The find a way to keep games close down the stretch, but still aren't good enough to win any games in South Dakota. Next season, Parkinson has a vote of confidence from the athletic department and pushes forward into next season. Still not a great team, he is able to get a couple wins in non-conference play which creates momentum entering League play. A handful of local high school players see their place in leaving a real impact at IUPUI and sign on for 2012-2013.
Worst Case Scenario: Parkinson's team collapses in on itself, culminating in a loss to Centenary and a ninth place finish in the League. The bad mojo heads into the off season as IUPUI is unable to pick up any more decent recruits (besides Holba) and an entire draft class is lost. The Jaguars finish the calendar year with just three or four total wins (combined in 10-11 & 11-12), and Athletic Director Michael Moore has serious second thoughts about hiring a first-time coach to lead a destroyed program. 

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