Mention the name Indiana Hoosiers and a tradition of basketball success comes to mind.
The Hoosiers have won five NCAA championships, the last coming in 1987, but that title drought looks like it could end this season.
Indiana is considered a title favorite in many of the preseason magazines, and the return of Cody Zeller has a lot to do with it.
The sophomore star is considered a frontrunner for preseason player of the year in the nation and if he lives up to the insane hype surrounding him, he has a chance to guide the Hoosiers to the promised land of a championship.
Zeller was an All-American as a freshman, the honor stemming from a stellar season in which he clicked for 15.6 points per outing and pulled down 6.6 rebounds per game.
The former Washington High School (IN) star who became the 26th Mr. Basketball in Indiana to play for the Hoosiers, shot a sizzling 62.3 percent from the field and was a solid 75.5 percent shooter from the free-throw line.
He ended up being named the Freshman of the Year and raised his game even more in the NCAA tournament, pouring in 16.7 points and pulling down 8.7 rebounds per game as the Hoosiers advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling 102-90 to eventual national champion Kentucky.
I don’t expect Zeller to be some one-year wonder. He is too good of a basketball player and did too much in big moments not to build on what he accomplished last season.
I understand it takes more than one player to lead a team to a title, but with Zeller leading the way, and the Hoosiers loaded with plenty of talent around him, a championship is within reach for the Hoosiers.
Yes, anything can happen on the road to a title. Injuries or a bad night at the gym are always a possibility.
But if Zeller rises up as expected and his teammates follow his lead, no one should be surprised if the Hoosiers are celebrating a title inside the Georgia Dome next April.
Follow me on Twitter: @BLester1993.