The only real shot the Indiana Hoosiers (12-6, 2-3) now have at making the NCAA Tournament is to upset the Michigan State Spartans (17-1, 6-0) on Tuesday night. The Spartans are likely to move up to third in the rankings which would give Indiana a shot at upsetting two third ranked teams on consecutive Tuesday nights.
Last week, Indiana upset the Wisconsin Badgers 75-72 at home in front of a raucous Assembly Hall. That win put them back in the Tourney talks as they had an up-and-down year prior to that. They were searching for that “signature” victory to put them in the talks again and that was it.
Another reason it was so big was due to Indiana only beating Wisconsin just five times since 2000 entering the game. Wisconsin was 12-0 in the past 12 contests and seemed to just have Indiana’s number. The Hoosiers showed they may have finally figured them out with athletes finally in the program in scoring 52 points in the paint against a very good Wisconsin defense.
That quickly was ruined as they dropped a home game to the Northwestern Wildcats 54-47 just four days later. As good as Indiana was on Tuesday, they reverted back to the old team on Saturday which put them out of the tournament talks again.
A bad loss to Northwestern trumps any big win prior.
That’s why Indiana needs to somehow find a way to upset Michigan State on Tuesday.
They did lose 73-56 in Bloomington on Jan. 4, but they have proven they can hang with the Spartans.
Indiana beat Michigan State in East Lansing last year 72-68 which was their first victory in the Breslin Center since 1991. Picking up two in a row may save their season. If not, Indiana likely is heading to the NIT.