Indiana Hoosiers Basketball: Players That Must Step Up for IU in NCAA Tournament

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Indiana Hoosiers Basketball: Players That Must Step Up for IU in NCAA Tournament
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Indiana Hoosiers have been inconsistent to say the least over the last few weeks, but they must find themselves quickly if they plan to reach the Final Four and win a national championship

Some of the ups and downs can be attributed to competing in the tough Big Ten conference, but another reason the team has been struggling as of late is because certain important players have been failing to play up to their standards.

The Hoosiers have had balanced scoring throughout the season, but in the three losses since Feb. 26, these three players' performances haven't been at the level needed for the team to reach its lofty goals.

 

Victor Oladipo

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The junior guard/forward has been getting a lot of love from NBA draft prognosticators, and with good reason. He's a very solid talent who I think is a mix between Leandro Barbosa and Tony Allen, but with that talent comes some responsibility to be more than ordinary offensively.

Much of Oladipo's game is about his strength, defense and rebounding, but he has the type of first step that can be invaluable late in games.

When his team needs a bucket, that burst can at the very least put Oladipo on the line.

In the Hoosiers' three recent losses, Oladipo has taken a total of only nine free throws. He must be more aggressive, and look to take over.

 

Jordan Hulls

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Hulls' outside shooting is something the Hoosiers depend on to spread the floor for Cody Zeller, but he hasn't shot the ball well lately.

He's made just one of his last 10 three-point attempts, and the team needs him to bust out of his slump soon.

Without the senior carrying his responsibility as a long-distance bomber, his impact on the offensive end is limited.

It makes it easier to collapse on the post and double on Oladipo's drives to the basket.

 

Cody Zeller

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Which Hoosier has been the most disappointing in the last two weeks?

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I consider Zeller to be the most talented frontcourt prospect in college basketball, but he hasn't played like it in the Hoosiers' recent losses.

He's averaged just 13 points and seven rebounds in those games, and both of those totals are below his per game average (17 points and eight rebounds) for the year.

Zeller is the star of the team, and when he has a mismatch on the post, he must demand the ball. In the aforementioned games, he's averaging just over nine shots per game. 

The Hoosiers need aggression from their star if they are going to win a national championship.

 

Remember, be sure to download a printable NCAA bracket and watch Selection Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

 

Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay on YouTube and Twitter for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games.

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