We always like to see what the sports books have to say during the preseason, because they may have the least biased opinion out there.
And it should come as no surprise — IU women’s basketball is expected to compete near the top of the national conversation once again.
According to BetOnline, the Hoosiers have 14/1 odds to win the 2024 NCAA crown. That represents the sixth best odds in the country, and second best in the Big Ten. Ahead of IU are defending national champ LSU (3/1), along with UConn (5/1), Iowa (7/1), South Carolina (9/1) and Utah (9/1).
From the Big Ten after Iowa and Indiana are Ohio State (18/1), Maryland (25/1), Nebraska (100/1), Michigan (125/1) and Illinois (150/1). Purdue was not listed.
The main reason expectations are high in Bloomington once again — Indiana lost only one key player from a 28-4 season that included the 2023 Big Ten regular season title.
The Hoosiers have first team All-American forward Mackenzie Holmes returning for her COVID year.
Holmes was one of the best players in the country last season, averaging 22.3 points per game on an efficient 68 percent shooting clip, and added 7.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. And she earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. She’ll continue to be the team’s centerpiece in 2023-24.
Holmes’ fellow starters Chloe Moore-McNeil, Sydney Parrish, and Yarden Garzon are also back, along with top reserve Sara Scalia. Several others who had less significant roles a year ago return, including Lexus Bargesser, Henna Sandvik, Arielle Wisne, and Lilly Meister.
But the season won’t come without challenges, as national coach of the year Teri Moren will have to replace star guard Grace Berger, who is now with the Indiana Fever in the WNBA.
To help with that cause, Indiana added forward Sharnecce Currie-Jelks from the transfer portal, and they have have two top-100 freshmen (Lenee Beaumont and Jules LaMendola) coming to Bloomington this fall.
The Hoosiers have not yet announced their full 2023-24 non-conference schedule.
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