IU Insider Blog: Impossible to predict

How will Indiana fair Tuesday against Iowa? Anyone that can tell you with certainty that they know needs to have their head examined. There is absolutely no way to predict which Indiana team will show up Tuesday night against the Hawkeyes.

Last week at this time, I was talking about how I really believed that Indiana had two must-win games on the horizon against Penn State and Purdue.

Well, we all know how that turned out.

Now at 14-11 overall and 4-8 in Big Ten play, Indiana has a different kind of must-win feel ahead of it.

As in, the Hoosiers likely must win another three games if they hope to be playing any postseason tournament.

IU has six games to play. If the Hoosiers could split those games, Indiana would be 17-14 heading into the Big Ten Tournament. Which means that even if IU lost its first conference tournament game the Hoosiers would still be two games over .500.

But what happens if Indiana goes 2-4 down the stretch? Now, IU would be looking at a 16-15 record going into the Big Ten Tournament and that would mean IU would have to win at least one game in the conference tournament to avoid finishing the regular season right at .500.

Which takes us to the most difficult question of all: Do you see three victories left in IU's regular season schedule?

And this is why that's such a difficult question. How can anyone really predict what this team is going to do moving forward.

If someone had told me that IU was 4-8 at this point in the regular season and then asked me to look back and tell them what four games the Hoosiers had won, I probably would have guessed something like this:

Penn State on the road, Penn State at home, Northwestern at home and Nebraska on the road.

I would have been right on one of those four.

I certainly wouldn't have expected a win against Wisconsin or Michigan at home if IU only had four wins to this point. Illinois? Maybe, but I think I may have guessed the road game at Purdue before I picked the home against the Illini.

The point is simple though. There's no way to really know what to expect from this Indiana basketball team despite the fact the Hoosiers have played 25 games this season.

This simply isn't a team where you can look down the schedule and say, ‘They should win this game but this one here may be particularly tough.'

If you were to use conventional thinking you might say that IU has a decent chance on the road against Wisconsin and Michigan, simply because the Hoosiers beat both of those teams at Assembly Hall. Northwestern? I still maintain that it wasn't so much what Northwestern did against IU the first time as it was what the Hoosiers did to themselves. That was as a poor an effort as I can remember from start to finish in a game at Assembly Hall in my 16 seasons covering Indiana basketball.

That leaves three home games: Iowa, Ohio State and Nebraska. And with the way Indiana has been known to play at home (take away the meltdown against Penn State in the final 3 minutes and the dreadful shooting day against Northwestern) and you could even head into this stretch feeling good about your chances.

Instead, the reality is there is no way possible to know what Indiana team is going to show up Tuesday against Iowa or Saturday at Northwestern.

Your guess is as good as mine.

That said, based on past results, I won't be the least bit surprised if Indiana knocks off Iowa Tuesday night at Assembly Hall. Not in the least.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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