The Indiana Hoosiers are the No. 1 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament. IU will start its tournament journey on Friday when it faces the winner of LIU Brooklyn and James Madison.
The East Region is full of talented teams, so making it to the Final Four in Atlanta will be no easy task for the Hoosiers. Here are three teams in the region that could send Indiana back to Bloomington earlier than expected.
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North Carolina State (24-10, 11-7 ACC) is a team IU could face in its second game. In order to play Indiana, the Wolfpack must first defeat Temple.
NC State is a threat to Indiana because it has experience and NBA-quality talent.
Last year the Wolfpack had a great NCAA Tournament run. As a No. 11 seed, they made it to the Sweet 16 before losing to Kansas. That experience will be key for them this year. They have had a taste of tournament success and understand what it takes to win games in March.
NBA prospect C.J. Leslie paces the Wolfpack. Averaging 14.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, Leslie is a force to be reckoned with.
NC State also has an elite three-point shooter in Scott Wood. This season, Wood is shooting a superb 44.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Because of these factors, the Wolfpack won't be an easy out this March and would be able to stand toe-to-toe in a potential matchup with Indiana.
March is when the Butler Bulldogs (26-8, 11-5 Atlantic 10) are at their best. Head coach Brad Stevens always has his team prepared for the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs aren't a team Indiana would be excited to see in a possible Elite 8 matchup.
Butler has already shown that it can handle the Hoosiers. The Bulldogs gave IU its first loss of the season back in December.
They will not fear Indiana.
Butler is excellent at executing in the half court, and if the Bulldogs can slow the game down to a snail's pace, they will have the Hoosiers right where they want them.
The Bulldogs have a habit of knocking off lower-seeded teams. If these two meet up, IU could be their latest victim.
Fresh off their ACC Tournament victory, the Miami Hurricanes (27-6, 15-3 ACC) are poised for a successful NCAA tournament. They are peaking at the right time.
Miami would be a difficult matchup for Indiana, because the Hurricanes are long and athletic. They use their size and speed to play tough, in-your-face defense (only allowing 60.7 points per game).
With Julian Gamble, Reggie Johnson and Kenny Kadji, the Hurricanes have the size to handle IU's Cody Zeller.
Miami has faced an elite big man before. They had to play against Duke's Mason Plumlee twice. In the first game, Plumlee had 15 points, but shot 5-of-15 from the floor. In game two, Plumlee only scored 12 on 5-of-9 shooting.
Miami has defenders down low that could knock Zeller off his game. When he struggles, the same goes for his team.