The Indiana Hoosiers are facing a tough road ahead in the NCAA tournament, but there are a few things that can be expected from them.
Head coach Tom Crean and the rest of the team may not have gotten the No. 1 overall seed in the tourney, but its path as a No. 1 seed in the East region appears to be a bit easier than Louisville's in the Midwest.
It will be a tough road ahead, but the Hoosiers still have a good chance at making it to Atlanta. If they can get there, they have a shot at bringing a sixth banner back to Bloomington and the Hoosier faithful.
Here are a few predictions for the Hoosiers as they play on the biggest stage in college basketball.
A lot of the attention goes to Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo, but a guy that can go off is Jordan Hulls.
The senior from Bloomington has had a great season, especially from behind the arc. He is averaging 10.1 points per game while making 46.4 percent of his three-pointers.
With Yogi Ferrell taking the starting role as the point guard, it has helped Hulls get open for shots off of the ball. It's led to some big plays for the Hoosiers, and it appears to have been a smart move by Coach Crean.
Hulls has the tools to go off at least one game. If both the Hoosiers and Miami Hurricanes make it to the Elite 8, Hulls has the opportunity to have a big game. The Hurricanes have allowed 207 three-pointers this season, which is 231st in the nation. The team will need to find Hulls if this matchup takes place, as he could light up the Hurricanes with his impressive range.
There are certainly other games that Hulls could go off. He is a solid starter that teams won't be focused on as much when planning for the Hoosiers, which could lead him open for some big shots throughout the tourney.
For the first two games of the tournament, it looks like the Hoosiers have a pretty easy schedule.
Then they could potentially be playing the Syracuse Orange.
The Orange's first two rounds aren't too bad as well, as they will play Montana and then either UNLV or California. With Jim Boeheim, it's safe to say they will be focused and ready to win their first two rounds.
This potential matchup would have an interesting battle between Yogi Ferrell and Michael Carter-Williams at the point guard position. The two underclassmen will be key in the potential game to determine who advances to the Elite 8.
Ferrell has the skills to beat Carter-Williams. Even though Carter-Williams averages 7.7 assists per game, he is also pretty sloppy with the ball, committing 2.3 turnovers per game. The Hoosiers thrive on sloppy handling, and Ferrell can take advantage of this with his aggressive defense.
If Yogi is able to contain Carter-Williams, the offense for the Orange will struggle. Despite being a freshman, Ferrell has the chance to make a big impact against the Orange.
The Hoosiers should advance out of the third round, but the North Carolina State Wolfpack have the talent to give the Hoosiers quite a scare.
The Wolfpack finished the season with a 24-10 record which included a big win against the Duke Blue Devils. It has a lot of good players including C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell, who are efficient scorers.
In fact, the team as a whole can put up a lot of points. They average 77.5 points per game, which is the 12th most in the country. They also shoot the ball extremely well, making 49.4 percent of their shots from the field, the fourth best mark in the NCAA.
This kind of offense could surprise the Hoosiers. If it doesn't stay focused, the Wolfpack could pull off an upset. The Hoosiers are a good enough team to keep focused, but the Wolfpack will still give them a scare.
The Hoosiers have four players that average at least 10 points per game, and Christian Watford is one of them. With that being said, expect Watford to score at least 10 every game in the tourney.
Watford has had a solid year. He's scoring 12.5 points per game while shooting 49.1 percent from behind the arc. He's a great long range shooter as well as a solid scorer in the paint.
Defenses will be focused in on Oladipo and Zeller, who love to score in the paint. This will lead to these guys penetrating and then dishing it out to either Watford or Hulls behind the arc.
The Hoosiers will count on Watford to make a big impact when Zeller or Oladipo need a rest or get into foul trouble. As the team's third leading scorer, that's simply what is expected.
The Hoosiers have been constantly criticized for the past couple of weeks, and the team is getting quite tired of it.
Now that the tournament has begun, it can finally let its play do the talking.
The Hoosiers have the weapons to make it out of the East region and into the Final Four. They've been tested game after game this year, but it has kept a great attitude and held on to a No. 1 seed.
As one of the highest scoring teams in that nation, the Hoosiers can run with teams like Syracuse and Miami. They capable of creating mismatches with their starting five, and leave teams dizzy with their speed in transition.
The East is theirs to win, and the Hoosiers are ready to make a run for a sixth banner.