Indiana basketball worked extremely hard in their final games of the season to prove they were hungry for an NCAA tournament spot. In the first round of the Big Ten tournament, Indiana faced off with a strong Ohio State basketball team. Unfortunately, Indiana failed to meet those expectations after taking a 79-75 loss to the No. 8 Buckeyes Thursday. Not only did this loss eliminate the Hoosiers from the Big Ten tournament, but it also significantly reduces the chances of the team making the NCAA tournament.
In Thursday’s matchup, Indiana started slow and continued to turn the ball over. This sluggish start hindered the team from picking up the momentum that has recently allowed them to improve and win their last games. This game was the time for Indiana to prove that they deserved a spot in the tournament. By the time the Hoosiers managed to pick up momentum, it was too late. Although the team was able to reduce a 20-point deficit to just two points, the Buckeyes secured nearly all of their forced foul shots in the final seconds of the contest.
Turnovers are something that the team struggled with throughout the entire year. Indiana turned the ball over 17 times against the Buckeyes, leading to 24 points for Ohio State. Besides the turnovers, the Hoosiers have the second-best shooting in the Big Ten (45.9 percent) and third in blocks (4.44). These statistics show that the team performed better than their record reflects, but their inconsistency when playing under pressure led to the team’s downfall.
It is unlikely that the Hoosiers will be selected for the NCAA tournament with their record, but similar teams have been chosen in the past. In 2016 and 2017 Vanderbilt was selected for at-large bids with overall records of 19-14 and 19-16. Additionally, in 1991 Villanova got an at-large bid with a 16-14 record. Despite being aged examples, it demonstrates that there is a small chance that Indiana’s name will appear Sunday.
Indiana now holds a 17-15 overall record and their chances of making the NCAA tournament are in the hands of the selection committee. If the Hoosiers do not make the tournament, it will be the seventh time in 11 years that they have not made an appearance. If the selection committee does not sympathize with Indiana’s strength of schedule and wins against ranked opponents, the team will likely be making an appearance in the NIT tournament. Stay tuned for Selection Sunday on March 17 to see if Indiana basketball’s name will appear as one of the First Four teams.