When Indiana lost to Eastern Washington on Nov. 24 in Assembly Hall, I think many people thought that might be one of the low water marks for the Big Ten in non-conference play this season.
Eastern Washington is 9-4 overall, however, and ranked No. 102 nationally in the Kenpom rankings. Still, you don’t want to lose to any directional schools in Assembly Hall. It’s just not supposed to happen.
But considering some of the other Big Ten non-conference losses that have been sustained, Eastern Washington almost doesn’t show up on the radar.
No. 265 NJIT beat Michigan, 72-70, in Crisler Arena. NJIT is 5-8 this season. The Highlanders have lost to such powerhouses as the University of Massachusetts (Lowell) twice, Albany, Holy Cross and LIU Brooklyn.
No. 194 Texas Southern, coached by former IU coach Mike Davis, beat Michigan State 71-64 in overtime in the Breslin Center. That’s the same Texas Southern team that IU beat by 19 in Assembly Hall. That’s the same Texas Southern team that is 1-9 against every other team it has played this season except Michigan State. Its only other win was against Lamar. Michigan State has lost four games in the non-conference season. Which of these four teams doesn’t belong in this grouping: Duke, Kansas, Notre Dame and Texas Southern? Yikes.
No. 175 Incarnate Word beat Nebraska 74-73. The Cornhuskers have also lost to No. 154 Hawaii, 66-58 last week. Nebraska is 8-4 and is now off until facing IU on New Year’s Eve in Lincoln in a 5:30 p.m. tipoff on the Big Ten Network. Nebraska is shooting 43.4 percent from the field as a team. The Huskers are the 12th ranked team by the Kenpom rankings at No. 88. IU is No. 42.
Rutgers has lost to No. 163 Saint Peters, 68-50 and to No. 144 St. Francis (Pa.), 73-68. But at least in its case, Rutgers has a ranking of No. 152, which is last in the Big Ten.
Add it all up and there are many more questions than answers in the Big Ten heading into Big Ten play which begins in a few days.
And all of a sudden, that Eastern Washington loss doesn’t seem nearly as bad compared to other conference teams.Positive vibes for IU heading into Christmas
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