Top 5 preseason position battles

How Tom Crean manages his point guard situation will be a key to Indiana's season. AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Here's the truth about Midnight Madness: A lot of coaches don't like it.

Excluding the residual effect that a well-executed Midnight Madness event can have on recruiting, most coaches would agree that this celebration to start the season gives players an unrealistic sense of what it takes to have a chance to celebrate a championship at season's end.

When the late-night crowds are gone and the pageantry and skits are over, the reality of the grind of the preseason sets in. Over the next four weeks, players will compete 20 hours per week for the opportunity to not only earn a spot in the rotation but also to crack the starting lineup. There are many cases in which a productive preseason can alter a player's career.

Let's take a look at the five most intriguing position battles this preseason:

1. Indiana Hoosiers

Position: Point guard
Players: Yogi Ferrell, Jordan Hulls

Indiana returns all five starters from a team that won 27 games last season, its most since winning 31 in 1992-93. The Hoosiers were one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country last season, at 1.16 points per possession, and defeated the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in the country, something only five teams have accomplished in the past 10 seasons.

Behind sensational sophomore and possible future No. 1 NBA draft pick Cody Zeller, the Hoosiers are the preseason favorite to win the national championship. Christian Watford is a tough matchup on the wing, while Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo defend, run the floor and play winning basketball.

So how is it that Indiana is on this list? The answer is the point guard position, where Hulls, an experienced and tough play starter, will be challenged by incoming McDonald's All-American Ferrell. How this position battle plays out, and the effect the result has on the team chemistry, will be a critical factor in whether the Hoosiers reach their goal of a winning a national title.