Analysis: Is IU limping to the finish line?

Indiana was still considered a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the most recent Bracketology report prior to Tuesday night's 77-63 loss to Iowa. How much does Indiana still need to do to feel safe on Selection Sunday?

Prior to Tuesday night’s game with Iowa, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi still had Indiana as a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

He had Iowa as a No. 8 seed and Michigan State as a No. 7 seed.

It will be interesting to see where Lunardi has IU following Tuesday night’s 77-63 loss to the Hawkeyes.

There are still a good number of people that believe that Indiana will make the NCAA Tournament regardless of what the Hoosiers do Saturday against Michigan State and next week in the Big Ten Tournament.

I’m not sure.

I think Saturday becomes a huge game for Indiana basketball.

IU is now 19-11 overall and 9-8 in Big Ten play. If the Hoosiers continue to limp to the finish line then you’re going to have to hope that all of the favorites in some of the smaller conferences win their respective conference tournaments.

A good example is in a conference such as the Missouri Valley. As long as either Wichita State or Northern Iowa win the conference tournament, then all is well for the middle of the pack big conference bubble teams. But what if both of those teams were to lose and someone else would win? Both of those teams are firmly in the NCAA Tournament.

That’s where things get a little dicey.

Which is exactly why Indiana needs to rally and win another game or two. Having 20 or 21 wins overall and at least 10 in Big Ten play will look a lot better than IU’s current state.

The bigger question though may be if any of it really matters?

Based on the way Indiana played Tuesday night, do you really think this is a team that is going to make much noise in the NCAA Tournament anyway? My guess is that wouldn’t be the opinion of many of the IU faithful that were filing out of Assembly Hall Tuesday night long before that game had ended.

Fans are frustrated and they should be. Indiana isn’t playing its best basketball at a time when it really needs to be.

Is Collin Hartman that important to this team? That’s the way it’s starting to look. And there has been no indication as to whether Hartman will be ready to play Saturday against Michigan State or in the Big Ten Tournament next week in Chicago for that matter.

The one thing that is certain is that Saturday’s regular season finale against Michigan State will be a huge game for the Hoosiers.

Win that game, and people will feel a little more comfortable come Selection Sunday. Lose it though, and barring a long run in the Big Ten Tournament, IU fans will be sweating mightily come Sunday, March 15.


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