We're down to just 5 days remaining until the Hoos tip off against Morgan State. Five means we're looking at #5 Assane Sene. What? He graduated 3 years ago? Sorry. OK, scratch that.
Five days remaining means we're going to look at the projected starting 5. Maybe it seems obvious who will start. I mean, the Hoos have 4 seniors and a junior. Clearly that's your starting 5, right? Well, last year, the 9 Hoos started at least 1 game. And this wasn't just because of the injury to Justin Anderson, as Tony Bennett used 3 different starting lineups in the first 3 games of the year. Freshmen Devon Hall and Marial Shayok each started a game. So yeah, maybe this isn't so straight forward.
It almost goes without saying that London Perrantes, Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill will start every game. Brogdon and Perrantes started every game they played and Gill started 30 times.
So, other than the trio above, who will start? One is Mike Tobey at C. Tobey started 11 times last year, and he's a senior now. He's probably going to start more than 11 times, as the Hoos do not really have another experienced big man behind him and Gill. The 5th starter is more of a question mark. The most likely candidate is senior Evan Nolte. Like Tobey, Nolte started 11 times and is now a senior. The problem with Nolte is he's often at a disadvantage athletically against opposing wings. And while he's known as a shooter, he shot just 27% from downtown last year.
So if Nolte doesn't start, who does? It could be Devon Hall, who actually started last year's opener against JMU. He and Brogdon would make for a very big duo on the wing. Of course, Shayok would also provide that same look, and Shayok was more productive last year than Hall and played nearly twice as many minutes.
There are also two wild cards. The first is Isaiah Wilkins. He could also start on the wing. His size would give the Hoos a big advantage in the frontcourt to open the game. The Hoos would likely dominate the glass. Wilkins has the lateral quickness to cover many perimeter players as well, so there wouldn't be much of a drop defensively. The second wild card is newcomer Darius Thompson, who isn't as big as Hall or Shayok, but provides more playmaking abilities.
Let's be honest, the starting lineup is going to change as the season goes on. This could be because of matchups. This could be Tony Bennett "riding the hot hand" or it could be because of injuries (hopefully not). So let's consider the opener, against Morgan State. Without knowing very much about Morgan State other than their 323rd preseason ranking on KenPom, it is fair to say that Tony Bennett isn't too worried about individual matchups. So he's likely to start his "base" starting 5.
Again, the obvious ones are London Perrantes at PG, Malcolm Brogdon at the 2/3, Anthony Gill at PF and Mike Tobey at C. For this game, we're expecting Evan Nolte to start. As mentioned, the matchups shouldn't really matter in this one.
Projected starting lineup:
London Perrantes, PG
Malcolm Brogdon, SG
Evan Nolte, SF
Anthony Gill, PF
Mike Tobey, C
Other potential starters:
Marial Shayok, SG/SF
Devon Hall, SG/SF
Darius Thompson, PG/SG
Isaiah Wilkins, PF
Who do you think will be in the starting lineup on Friday?