Everyone always wants to know what the Indiana starting lineup is going to look like from game to game. It's a conversation that seems to take root almost as soon as one season ends.
In fact, with the Hoosiers, it was a conversation we were having in Live Chats all throughout last season as Hoosier Nation began to brace itself for what potentially could be a very different team in the 2013-14 season.
That season has arrived and the one thing I think is going to be important to realize here is that Tom Crean is not going to have a set lineup every night. I expect there will be movement, especially throughout the non-conference season as Crean works with different rotations and tries to find that group that works the best together at the beginning of a game.
The adage that it doesn't matter who starts but rather who finishes will be important, too. But more than that, with this particular Indiana basketball team, it just seems like Crean has a lot of different ways that he could go.
This is not going to be like last year when the same five players started all 18 Big Ten games for the Hoosiers. In fact, four of IU's players last year started all 36 games and Christian Watford started 35. The only player other than Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Jordan Hulls, Yogi Ferrell and Watford to start a game for Indiana last season was Will Sheehey.
And he started one game.
So what do you think the starting lineup will be tonight for Chicago State?
My guess is that Crean will stick with the lineup he used Monday night against Hillsdale. That would be Sheehey, Noah Vonleh, Jeremy Hollowell, Troy Williams and Ferrell. That group fared pretty well in that one and it would stand to reason that Crean would go the same route just a few days later for the opener.
But I think as the season progresses there are a couple of other players that will find themselves in that starting lineup mix.
One is Stanford Robinson. I really like his game and like the way he attacks the rim. Crean is always big on guards that can rebound the ball and Robinson gave a little glimpse of what he could do in that area against Hillsdale when he went up high for an offensive rebound in the second half. I just think Robinson is a player that as he gets more comfortable is going to have a more prominent role all the time with this Indiana team.
Another is Luke Fischer. He got off to a slow start with his shoulder injury but Fischer is very skilled for a big man and again, with a little Division I confidence, he could really blossom quickly. I'm sure there will be some growing pains, and he may not be ready to jump into the starting lineup just yet, but Fischer has a Big Ten body and he's going to add a lot to IU's front court play this season.
If Hanner Mosquera-Perea continues to develop, I could see games where he's in the starting lineup. Evan Gordon? Perhaps. With Gordon, it's going to come down to whether he can consistently knock down the perimeter shot. If he can do that, he can force himself into the starting lineup. Austin Etherington? Again, if he becomes a 3-pointer shooter than Indiana has to have in the lineup it's conceivable that he could work his way into the starting lineup, too. My guess is that Etherington and Mosquera-Perea in particular will be two players that will come off the bench this season for the most part but I think they could both contribute.
So my guess is that tonight we see the lineup we saw against Hillsdale, but I won't be surprised if by the end of this season we have season 10 or more different starting lineup combinations.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch