Cody Zeller: Talented Center's All-Around Game Will Keep Indiana Hoosiers on Top

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 27:  Cody Zeller #40 of the Indiana Hoosiers celebrates during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Assembly Hall on November 27, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Cody Zeller carries himself like a guard, making it hard to tell that he's seven-feet tall.

He's going to create matchup problems all year long for whoever plays the Indiana Hoosiers, and he's exactly why this team will remain on top for a long time.

Stopping big men with his skill set is difficult. There's really no other way to put it. You can't put a space-eating center against him because he will go around him, but you also can't put a smaller player on him because he will easily go over him.

He's a nightmare, and he knows it. He used his offensive array to drop 20 points on North Carolina Tuesday night, hauling down eight rebounds and swatting away four shots while he was at it. Whether he was scoring with his back to the basket in the low post, facing the bucket in the high post or simply outrunning the opposition, Zeller kept the Tar Heels in his rear view.

But his skills don't stop with scoring. He's a capable passer as well. He makes the rest of the Hoosiers team better. His assist totals may not always show it, but he's an adept distributor from the low block because of his basketball IQ.

Indiana also makes hos job easier. Because the Hoosiers are a deep team, they have plenty of players who can play with him. On top of that, he makes their jobs easier because he can play any style that anyone could possibly want.

Quality big men are tough to come by, but athletic low-post players are even rarer. North Carolina had no answer for Zeller, and most teams will fall victim to the same dilemma. There's very little you can do outside of double-teaming him.

The Hoosiers have everything you could possibly want. They're deep, they play defense and they have a star player to lean on when times get tough.

Things would be different if Zeller could only impact the offensive end in one way, but that's not how it is. His ability to pass out of the post, score in the paint or affect the mid-range game makes him virtually unstoppable.

Indiana basketball is back, and Zeller is the main reason for that.

He's also the reason that they'll stay on top for the foreseeable future.