First of all, I know these Insider Blogs are usually Terry's place, but bare with me as I attempt to put one together today.
I was thinking about this on the drive home from Northwestern the other day: How many more games will Indiana win? The Hoosiers are currently 15-11 overall and 5-8 in the Big Ten. Right now, they are clearly on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament.
So what would they have to do to make it for the third straight year? Well, to get in the conversation, they have to get to 20 wins, in this writer's opinion. That would be five more wins between the end of the regular season and the Big Ten Tournament.
Let's look at it:
TODAY: At Wisconsin
THURSDAY: Vs. Iowa
SUNDAY: Vs. Ohio State
Next WEDNESDAY: Vs. Nebraska
MARCH 8: At Michigan
What immediately stands out is that the road games are going to be extremely tough, especially tonight in Madison. I do think the Hoosiers could win in Ann Arbor to close the season, but I don't think I'd predict it. Why? Indiana got the Wolverines in Bloomington earlier this month, and they will be seeking revenge. Plus, they've played so well at home this season.
Lose both of those games, and you probably have to beat Iowa, Ohio State and Nebraska at home. Again, it won't be easy, but it's not impossible either with the way Indiana has played at Assembly Hall over the years.
Let's say they get any combination of three wins out of those five ... I'll say Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan. The Hoosiers would head into the Big Ten Tournament at 18-13, and 8-10 in the Big Ten. That'd probably give them a better conference record than Northwestern, Penn State, Illinois, Purdue and maybe Minnesota. If it's better than Minnesota, they're a seven-seed and probably play Illinois or Purdue on Thursday. If they're an eight-seed, it'll probably be a similar opponent in the 8-9 game, but then they'd have to play the top seed on day two (likely Michigan, but maybe Michigan State).
I guess my main point is there are still a lot of scenarios that could shake out here in the last couple weeks of the season. IU isn't in the ideal situation at this point, but I'm not ready to count the Hoosiers out just yet.
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