2013-14 Preview: IUPUI Jaguars
The Jaguars should be more competitive than last season
2012-13: 6-26 (1-15)
In-conference offense: 0.95 points per possession (9th)
In-conference defense: 1.19 points per possession (9th)
Prior to 2012-13, IUPUI had just one losing season in the last decade. With that kind of track record, the Jaguars' 6-26 finish overall and 1-15 mark in Summit League play came as a bit of a stunner. They endured some extenuating circumstances last season, including a season-ending injury to all-conference player Ian Chiles and the academic ineligibility of then-leading scorer Jon Hart during the second half of the season. Even with Chiles back at full health, there are plenty of areas where the Jaguars need to improve to return to their winning ways.
IUPUI finished dead last in Summit League play in points scored and points allowed per possession a season ago, but the greater need for improvement is on the offensive end. The team shot poorly from everywhere on the court, finishing last in the league in 2-point percentage (49 percent) and free throw percentage (63 percent). Even slight improvement around the basket and at the charity stripe will do wonders for the Jaguars' offensive efficiency.
There is room for improvement in every key area on defense. IUPUI finished 346th of 347 teams in defensive effective field goal percentage last season; the team rarely created turnovers and struggled to limit second-chance opportunities. Thus, opponents had a lot of chances to score against a team that struggled to alter shot attempts. Coach Todd Howard will be relying on seniors Mitchell Patton and Donovan Gibbs to improve their rim protection, but he also has a number of newcomers to turn to if the interior defense remains porous.
While the starting lineup is likely to feature three seniors, IUPUI will be a fairly young team, with three redshirt freshmen vying for minutes alongside two true freshmen. A major turnaround is not expected, but the Jaguars should be more competitive this season.
Projected 2013-14 conference finish: 8th
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In the lead-up to the 2013-14 college basketball season, Insider is providing preview articles on every Division I team, as well as essays from Insider's analysts and experts.