Bloomington, IN- The Indiana Hoosiers got back to their winning ways Friday night, but it wasn’t the way they wanted to win. The Hoosiers entered Friday night’s contest in Assembly Hall on the heels of an upsetting defeat to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish last Saturday in Indianapolis. In came Nicholls State who was 3-5 entering the contest.
The Hoosiers prevailed but committed a season-high 20 turnovers which resulted in a winning margin of only 13 points. If things don’t change down in Bloomington then Indiana could be in some trouble.
I wrote earlier this week how the last two recruiting classes are really hurting Indiana. The Hoosiers are supposed to be on the upswing right now in the midst of the best seasons in the storied program’s history. Instead, they only made it to the Sweet 16 the last two years and are spiraling downward instead of still moving uphill.
The next few games are going to make or break this season and possibly Tom Crean‘s tenure at Indiana. This team has the talent to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, but if they struggle over the next few games then they likely are heading to the NIT.
Indiana hosts Kennesaw State Sunday in their final non-conference game of the season. From there they will begin Big Ten play on New Year’s Eve on the road at Illinois. After that game they host Michigan State on Saturday January 4 in Assembly Hall.
After that stretch they play at Penn State then host Wisconsin on a Big Tuesday ESPN game. If Indiana wants to contend this year they absolutely have to beat Kennesaw State tomorrow and likely go at least 2-2 in the first four league games.
That basically puts a must-win against the Fighting Illini in Champaign to kick off the conference season as both teams are in the same spot. They’re trying to figure out who they are as Indiana has much more talent than Illinois. A win would go a long way for momentum getting into Big 10 competition.
From there they definitely have to beat Penn State on the road and likely steal a win at home against either Michigan State or Wisconsin. They can’t afford to start 1-3 in league play or this team will crumble fast.