IU Insider Blog: Updated Seeding Scenarios

Indiana could still finish Big Ten play as the No. 7, No. 8 or No. 9 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament. Here are all the scenarios to consider heading into today's game at Michigan.

What has been a disappointing Big Ten basketball season comes to a close today in Ann Arbor as Indiana faces regular season conference champion Michigan.

The Wolverines, despite losing to IU by 11 on Feb. 2 and losers of three in a row to the Hoosiers, are a 10.5 favorite today against Indiana.

Most everyone around the conference is expecting a Michigan romp. And based on the way Indiana played Wednesday night against Nebraska, it's an understandable expectation.

The biggest question for IU is whether the Hoosiers will have the services of Noah Vonleh. Tom Crean was not nearly as committal Friday as he was prior to the Nebraska game when he indicated that he thought Vonleh would play against the Cornhuskers. He said Vonleh practiced Friday but left it at that.

If Vonleh plays, the Hoosiers have a chance for a much more competitive situation. Without him, the Hoosiers will likely limp into the Big Ten Tournament next week with a 17-14 record and a 7-11 mark in Big Ten play.

So just what is at stake today for Indiana?

It's all about seeding in the Big Ten Tournament at this point. At this point, the most likely scenario would have the Hoosiers playing in the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game against Illinois.

The Hoosiers enter today tied with Minnesota for seventh place in the Big Ten with a 7-10 record. Minnesota plays host to Penn State Sunday.

Penn State and Illinois are tied for ninth with 6-11 Big Ten records.

So here are the scenarios:

*** If Indiana wins today against Michigan and Minnesota loses Sunday to Penn State, the Hoosiers would be the No. 7 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. The No. 7 seed would play the No. 10 seed Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

*** If Indiana wins today and Minnesota beats Penn State on Sunday, the Hoosiers would be the No. 8 seed based on the fact that Minnesota defeated IU in the only meeting of the season so it owns the tie-breaker advantage. If IU is the No. 8 seed, the Hoosiers would play at Noon Thursday on the Big Ten Network.

One note: Whatever time Indiana plays on Thursday if it wins it would play at the same time on Friday.

*** If Indiana loses to fall to 7-11 and either Penn State or Illinois win to improve to 7-11, the Hoosiers still could not fall lower than the No. 9 seed because in all tie-breakers IU would have the edge based on the fact it beat Big Ten champion Michigan earlier in the season. How you fared against the top team in the Big Ten is the next tie-breaker scenario after head-to-head is worked out.

And IU split with both Penn State and Illinois this season.

The most interesting scenario would occur if IU lost and Minnesota lost to Penn State, and Illinois beat Iowa. This would put all four of those teams tied for seventh at 7-11.

My understanding of how this would be broken is you look at how those four teams fared against each other and you would base the tie-breaker on that result. In that case, Illinois would win the tie-breaker based on a 4-1 record against the other three. Minnesota would get the No. 8 seed based on a 2-2 record against the other teams, IU would be No. 9 as it would be 2-3 and Penn State would be No. 10 as it would be 2-4.

It probably won't happen but if it did I would think IU would end up in the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game and in that case would play Minnesota.

But again, the most likely scenario is that IU will end up in the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game and play Illinois. The Illini own the tie-breaker over Penn State based on two wins against the Nittany Lions this season.

So that's what we know. Check AllHoosiers.com later today for all of our coverage from the Crisler Center. Nathan Brown, Nolan Blair and myself will all be making the trip to Ann Arbor.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch


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