Indiana goes big (again)

By adding Oumar Ballo, are the Hoosiers setting themselves up for another season of not enough floor spacing? Plus, BYU makes a smart hire, big-name guards hit the portal, and the best available players.

Another day, another eventful day of portal moves.

Let’s dive in.

1. Indiana sure loves its big men

Indiana’s had a big week in the portal. The Hoosiers added Washington State point guard Myles Rice over the weekend, then went big on Tuesday with Arizona big man Oumar Ballo.

From a talent perspective, Indiana certainly improved. Rice averaged 14.8 points and 3.8 assists and earned All Pac-12 honors, while Ballo averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds. Both played in the NCAA Tournament last season, which might appeal to the Hoosiers.

Indiana missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in Woodson's three seasons in Bloomington, so he's coming out swinging entering year four.

Will it work, though? Adding talent doesn’t always equate to winning, as Jeff Goodman noted on After Dark.

In 2024, winning teams emphasize floor-spacing, a switchable defense, and shooting. Indiana has none of those ingredients. The Hoosiers have a more expensive version of last season's team that won just 18 games (Ballo reportedly asked for $1.2 million in NIL). Indiana shot just 32% from 3 as a team, and the defense might get worse with Ballo replacing the shot-blocking Kel'el Ware.

Rice isn’t shooter a great shooter either, connecting on just 27% from 3.

Plus, you have to wonder if sophomore big man Malik Reneau now hits the portal. He announced his return with the expectation of starting at the five. Now he’d be back at the four alongside Ballo, which essentially replicates what Indiana had this season in Ware and Reneau.

Maybe there’s more coming in the portal. Indiana’s reportedly the leader for Stanford guard Kanaan Carlyle, though he made just 32% of his 3s last season. How Indiana coach Mike Woodson plans to fit these pieces together will be something to watch.

Other notable commitments:

Carey Booth to Illinois

Coach Brad Underwood is swinging for the fences. It started with Kylan Boswell and Tre White, and now Carey Booth from Notre Dame. Booth was a late-bloomer in high school, and improved late in the year for the Fighting Irish. The 6-10 forward has impressive athleticism, rebounding and is a capable perimeter shooter. He averaged just 6.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, but should only get better.

Collin Chandler to Kentucky

If the name Collin Chandler doesn’t ring any bells, it’s because he spent the last two years on an LDS mission, delaying the start of his college career. Chandler, a former top-40 recruit began at BYU and joins Mark Pope in Lexington.

Eric Dailey Jr to UCLA

I love this move for Mick Cronin. Dailey is a former McDonald’s All-American who averaged 9.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg for Oklahoma State and has ideal size to play the four in the Big Ten.

J’Vonne Hadley to Louisville

Culture is something the Cards lacked the past two years, and adding a glue-guy like Hadley is huge. The 6-6 wing from Colorado (11.6 ppg, 5 rpg) has a versatile skillset; he scores, rebounds, passes and defends. He should be an impactful player for Louisville.

Selton Miguel to Maryland

Maryland addressed one of its biggest weaknesses by adding the South Florida transfer. Miguel averaged 14.7 ppg on 39% from deep for the AAC regular-season champions. Bulls coach Amir Abdur-Rahim had a strong POV on the move.

Other notable additions:

2. BYU’s unexpected hire

There’s a hiring requirement for BYU coaches. They must be a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which can limit the pool of potential hires.

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