The Indiana basketball season came to a merciful close Sunday night around 8:45 p.m. when it was revealed that the Hoosiers were not considered one of the top 100 teams in college basketball this season.
First, the NCAA Tournament field was announced and Indiana had taken itself out of contention for that one some time ago. Next was the 32-team NIT field and the Hoosiers came and went through that announcement without a postseason bid, too.
The only other possibility would have been the 16-team College Basketball Invitational which is a pay-for-play event that Purdue participated in a year ago, and thankfully, the Hoosiers made it clear they were not interested in going down that road.
And so a season that included victories over top 10 opponents in Wisconsin and Michigan and top 25 foes in Ohio State and Iowa, ended with a whimper. The Hoosiers finished the season 17-15 and losers of their final three games including a first round exit in the Big Ten Tournament to Illinois.
The season will clearly go down as a disappointment.
I didn't expect Indiana to have a great year by any stretch but I certainly believed the Hoosiers had the talent to finish around 9-9 in the Big Ten. And had they won two out of three home games against Northwestern, Penn State and Nebraska they would have done just that. But instead, they lost all three of those games.
And basically that sealed their fate.
So here's a few things I learned Sunday night:
1. It's hard to watch the Selection Sunday Show when you don't have a dog in the fight.
It was hard to believe that I was sitting there Sunday night in front of my television exactly one year after sitting there wondering if IU would get a No. 1 seed in the tournament. The fact that it did and then the Hoosiers were not even in consideration the next season made it that much more difficult.
2. Kudos to the guys that do the NIT Projections.
I had never even heard of sites that did NIT Projections before (which is probably a good thing) but those guys were all over it. One said Indiana was out and another said Indiana was a 6 seed but also pointed out that if there were any more automatic conference bids that any team on the 5 or 6 line could be in trouble. When Georgia State got knocked off in its tournament that probably didn't help the Hoosiers.
3. I'm not sure what I was hoping for.
It was a different feeling watching the NIT Selection Show because I wasn't sure what I thought was the best thing for Indiana basketball. I thought Justin Albers made some good points in a column the other day when he said that IU's younger players could benefit from playing more games. I get that. And it seemed like a few of them were coming on at the end of the year, Troy Williams and Devin Davis in particular.
But the entire team had to have bought into playing in the NIT and not going out there and going through the motions. And you never really know a team is going to embrace a tournament like the NIT until they were knee deep into it.
And since it seemed pretty certain that Indiana would be on the road for the first game and that it would likely involve a long car ride to some place like Clemson, or Green Bay or some place like that, it wouldn't have been a good situation if the Hoosiers didn't play well and ended the year on even more of a down note than they did.
So the season is over and Indiana can begin what could be an interesting off season.
Check back at AllHoosiers.com often and we'll do our best to keep you up to date on all the offseason goings ons.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch