Why IU's remaining games mean even more

Indiana is on the bubble, so every win is important. But there's another reason why IU must play well on Saturday and beyond.

It's down to the regular season finale and the Big Ten Tournament for Indiana, a team that has put itself squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble heading down the stretch. Losses to Northwestern and Iowa in the last week have hurt the Hoosiers' tournament resume, which was once one of the best ones in the conference.

I'm stating the obvious, but Saturday's game against Michigan State and IU's ensuing games in the conference tournament are of the upmost importance. Lose them both, and the Hoosiers will be sweating it out on Selection Sunday. Win only one of two, and they'll still feel the heat.

Here's another reason why IU's remaining games are important, one you may not have thought of. Indiana looked really bad against Northwestern and Iowa, and it was missing Collin Hartman in both games. To use an injury as a reason why you should make the tournament, you must prove his importance to the team. So, is IU simply in a side, or are the Hoosiers playing worse because they're without an important piece? You better believe the selection committee will be watching IU closely over the next week to answer that question.

If the Hoosiers continue to play poorly, Hartman's injury will be ruled out as a determining factor on Selection Sunday. If they start to look more like the team we saw in January if/when he returns, it will be a factor.

Just some food for thought.

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