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(4) Indiana vs. (13) New Mexico State Preview
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On March 11, 2012 @ 6:24 pm In All,NCAA | No Comments
(4) Indiana Hoosiers
The revival of Hoosiers basketball took a little bit longer than head coach Tom Crean would have liked, but they are finally back to being contenders at a national level. They’re returning to the big dance for the first time since 2008. Crean’s hard work has a lot to do with it, but the instant impact provided by freshmen center Cody Zeller has been nearly as important. The younger brother of North Carolina center Tyler Zeller is one of the best big men in the country, posting 15 points and six rebounds a game. The Hoosiers have capable players outside of Zeller, most notably Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls. Verdell Jones III, who ws tied with Hulls in assists at 3.3, tore his ACL in the Big 10 tournament and will undoubtedly be missed. The Hoosiers are an offensive-minded team. Against the RPI Top 25 they went 4-4, but were 5-0 against teams ranked 26-50. They definitely have the potential to go on a run as long as they play solid defense.
(13) New Mexico State Aggies
After a one-year hiatus the Aggies are back in the NCAA Tournament as the Western Athletic Conference tournament champions. The Aggies won nine of their last ten games to clinch their spot in the big dance. Fifth year senior forward Wendell McKines is the guy to watch for them. His collegiate career will be over with a loss, which serves as a major motivating factor along with his struggles the last time he played in the tournament. In 2010 he was 1-8 from the field against Michigan State in a game they definitely could have won had he played better. This team has rebounded nicely from the suspension and subsequent transfer of talented scorer and playmaker Christian Kabongo. Hernst Laroche has stepped up in his absence, putting up 12 points and dishing out a team-high 3.8 assists a night. The Aggies will not shoot many threes and only made 66 percent of their attempts from the free throw line during the regular season. They can turn it over excessively at times when they get overzealous offensively. Their top win of the season was against New Mexico, they were 1-6 against teams in the RPI Top 75.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Indiana. Playing with heavy hearts for Verdell Jones III, the Hoosiers will play inspired basketball and top the Aggies.
Who do you think is going win? Chime in by leaving a comment below!
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