We are back for another round of Bracketology Losers, and this week, we waste no time in getting started.
Let’s head first to the Big Ten, where one of college basketball’s bluebloods is squandering the goodwill they amassed over the first two months of the season in terms of Bracketology.
The Hoosiers had a chance to solidify their NCAA Tournament hopes this past week, with two big away games against Penn State and Ohio State. Coming into the week, Indiana was 5-5 in Q1/Q2 games, not to mention their 5-4 start to Big Ten play.
But there have always been questions about just how good this team can be, and their performance last week didn’t do anything to quell those worries.
It started on Wednesday when the Nittany Lions held Indiana to just 49 points on their way to a 15-point victory in State College. It continued when the Hoosiers stumbled to a 68-59 loss to the Buckeyes on Saturday.
The losses now drop the Hoosiers below .500 in conference play, and perhaps more importantly, in those ever-crucial Q1/Q2 games. They are outside of the Top 50 in the NET and trending downward in a disappointing turn after beating Michigan State and nearly pulling off a second upset of Maryland. It seems the Hoosiers haven’t yet recovered from that heartbreak.
At the moment, Indiana still looks like they could end up in the NCAA Tournament, but they have given themselves a much smaller margin of error in a very difficult Big Ten. They have the pieces to make a solid run through league play, but they can’t survive on just beating up on the bottom-feeders.
Indiana will only have one shot at turning things around next week when in-state rivals Purdue come to Bloomington with their sights set on improving their own tournament stock. A win over the Boilermakers may not do much for their resume, the Hoosiers are not in a position where they can afford to lose that game and extend their streak of defeats to four.
The Hoosiers built a good stack of wins in the first two months of the season, but after starting out 10-1, they have dropped six of their past eleven games. If they can’t recapture that momentum in 2020, they are in danger of falling completely out of the tournament field.