Indiana Hoosiers Basketball: Projecting Hoosiers' Path to 2012 NCAA Championship

Bob BajekAnalyst IIIMarch 15, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, IN - MARCH 04:  Cody Zeller #40 of the Indiana Hoosiers dunks the ball during the Big Ten Conference game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Assembly Hall on March 4, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

If any No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament has a chance to win it all, the Indiana Hoosiers deserve consideration.

The Hoosiers (25-8, 11-7 Big Ten) have one of college basketball's best big men in Cody Zeller (15.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 62.6 percent shooting) and have a 5-5 record against opponents ranked in the top 25.

With a favorable first couple matchups, what has to go right for the Hoosiers to win the national title?

Here are a few points.


No. 9 Connecticut Needs to Upset No. 1 Kentucky

The Hoosiers are a solid basketball team and they managed to beat No. 1 Kentucky 73-72 in a Dec. 10 game where Christian Watford drilled a buzzer-beater. The Wildcats, though, haven't forgotten that stinging defeat and will be strongly motivated for revenge.

Good news for the Hoosiers is that Kentucky could face last year's national champion in the No. 9 Conneticut Huskies in the Round of 32.

The Huskies have the amazing players in Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond to be able to pull off the upset.

If the Hoosiers take care of business in their first two games while the Huskies dispose of the Wildcats, the Sweet 16 game should go to the Hoosiers.


No. 2 Missouri Needs to be Upset before Elite Eight Game

The Missouri Tigers have a lot of offensive firepower and it will make them a difficult team to beat.

They score over 80 points a game while shooting an amazing 50 percent from the field.

Missouri will probably defeat their first two opponents easily, but a possible Sweet 16 matchup against No. 3 Marquette or No. 6 Murray State could prove difficult for them.

Both teams have good defenses and could stop the Tigers from winning. If Missouri falls, the West Region and a berth in the Final Four should be the Hoosiers' to lose.


Hoosiers Face Ohio State in Championship Game

Of all the potential teams who have a good chance of making the national championship game, the Ohio State Buckeyes provide the best matchup.

The Hoosiers defeated Ohio State 74-70 in Bloomington on Dec. 31, but lost a tough 80-63 game in Columbus. Indiana was able to contain Jared Sullinger in both games, as Zeller played well.

Indiana is familiar with Ohio State and have a good shot of winning this conference matchup.