IU Insider Blog: Is the NIT a good thing?

The regular season has ended for Indiana with a 17-15 record. The question that remains is can IU benefit from playing more games in the NIT or would it be better for the 2013-14 season to come to an end? Here are my thoughts there.

The regular season has come to an end with a 17-15 Indiana record.

I'll be the first admit this was significantly less than what I expected. I thought IU would go 11-2 or 10-3 in the non-conference season (Notre Dame was the win I thought it would get that it didn't) and believed the Hoosiers would finish Big Ten play around the 9-9 mark.

But again, I never saw home losses coming to Nebraska, Penn State and Northwestern. That's simply not something you come to expect when following Indiana basketball.

So I believed the Hoosiers would have 19 or 20 wins going into the Big Ten Tournament and find themselves somewhere on the NCAA bubble.

And yet after IU bowed out of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday with a 64-54 loss to Illinois, all of a sudden the Hoosiers find themselves sitting with a 17-15 record.

Tom Crean said after the loss to Illinois that he hoped Indiana still gets a chance to play more games. He didn't say the NIT specifically but it was clearly inferred. He said it would be an honor for the Hoosiers to keep playing.

In the locker room following the game, every player I spoke to talked about hoping that Indiana would still be able to play in the NIT.

The NIT projections from a couple of sites have IU in the NIT field but with seeds as low as No. 6. If that was the case, Indiana would be on the road for its first NIT game.

But here's the bigger question: Should the current season just end at 17-15, or as an IU fan are you hoping that this team still has a chance to play a few more games?

I wonder if you polled the IU Nation, just what that answer would be?

I get the advantage of playing more games. Coaches and players alike generally are going to want to play more games. And with a young IU team in particular, more games would seem like a smart move.

But I'm just not convinced what is to be gained if Indiana continues to do the things it has done for 32 games.

The same problems that plagued Indiana early in the season continued to plague them in the 32nd game of the year.

IU averaged 16 turnovers per game against Chicago State, LIU Brooklyn, Samford and Stony Brook in the first four games of the season. IU still averaged 15 turnovers per game in the final four games of the regular season against Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan and Illinois.

And it was the same careless turnovers being made early because the Hoosiers were playing too fast that they continued to make as recently as the Illinois game on Thursday.

There are other comparisons to make, too. The team has continued to rely too heavily all season long on Yogi Ferrell to have to make jump shots or Noah Vonleh to have kind of presence in the post. And when those things go away, Indiana's small margin of error shrinks even more.

If Indiana could get something out of playing a game or two in the NIT, I'm all for it. But if the NIT becomes just another extension of the play we saw the last few weeks in particular, then maybe it would be better to let another team have that NIT slot.

As always I'm interested in your opinion.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

Peegs.com Top Stories