Just when you think you've reached what has to be the low point of the season, things get even worse in Bloomington.
That's what happened on Saturday, when the Hoosiers limped into West Lafayette and were stomped by rival Purdue, 82-64. Just three days earlier, Indiana was shocked at home by Penn State, which came from behind late and beat the Hoosiers in the closing seconds.
All of a sudden, Indiana is in 10th place in the Big Ten, checking in at 14-11 overall and 4-8 in conference play. It's hard to believe that just two weeks ago, Indiana upset then-No. 10 Michigan to move to 14-8 and 4-5 in the conference. The schedule looked to be easing up a bit, and Indiana seemed poised to go on a winning streak.
Now, in the midst of an ugly three-game losing streak, where do the Hoosiers go from here?
Call me crazy, but I still don't think the Hoosiers are done this season. They are talented enough to play with any team in the Big Ten. And in stretches, they play very well.
The problem has been, when the Hoosiers get in a slump, it affects every part of their game, and they don't have anybody capable of consistently getting them out of it. Think about it. When Indiana started struggling offensively against Purdue on Saturday, they started giving up great looks to the Boilermakers on the other end.
Once Purdue when on its run, the Hoosiers looked shell-shocked, and never recovered. They didn't have to confidence to respond and punch back, like they have in the past.
The leadership has been severely lacking at times, and that has to change. Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell, like Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said earlier this season, need to step up and lead this team, whether things are going well or not so well.
This team struggles to score in the halfcourt. That's a given. To make up for that, the Hoosiers have to play solid and opportunistic defense all the time, and be able to get stops and score on the run. It simply has to happen. When they play in the half court for three, four, five possessions at a time, they struggle. When they get out and run on two or three of those possessions, they have much more success because the baskets come easier and they gain confidence from seeing the ball go through the basket.
The road is much more difficult from here, there's no doubt about it. But despite what happened in the last week, this team still has some of the necessary pieces to win. Now, Indiana must have a short memory, avoid the distractions both losing and Hanner Mosquera-Perea's arrest have created, and beat Iowa on Tuesday.