The Indiana Hoosiers dropped a tough game in East Lansing tonight to the Michigan State Spartans. The Hoosiers (12-7, 2-4) controlled most of the game until the midway point of the second half, but then faltered losing 71-66 to the third ranked Spartans (18-1, 7-0).
Most believed Indiana needed that game in order to have a realistic shot at making the NCAA Tournament. With dropping an easy game to Northwestern last Saturday, the Hoosiers really put themselves in a hole.
Now, the biggest question for this Hoosiers team is — can they make the NCAA Tournament?
But, it’s going to take this young team growing up and I mean a lot. Indiana has the talent to win most of the games left, and that’s the only hope they have.
Yes, Nebraska just upset the Ohio State Buckeyes this week, but they’re not a very good team. Indiana should beat them. They have to beat them. There’s no excuses to lose to the Cornhuskers with what’s at stake.
After that, they host the Michigan Wolverines on Super Bowl Sunday. That is a game Indiana can certainly win and needs to win. If they take care of business before, that would give them another signature victory and put them at 15-7 overall and 5-4 in conference play.
If the hustle is there, which it should be with what they’re playing for, and crowd is into it, then that game will be like the contest vs. Wisconsin.
Next they have two road games at the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Purdue Boilermakers sandwiched with a home matchup with Penn State. Minnesota will be tough, but Purdue, who isn’t very good again this year despite their record, and a home game with Penn State are must-wins.
Again, an updated record at worst case would put them 17-8 overall and 7-5 in the Big 10.
Then, they only have six games left — home with Iowa, then at Northwestern, at Wisconsin, home with Ohio State and Nebraska and finishing at Michigan.
They shouldn’t lose to Northwestern again and definitely sweep the three home games. At Michigan and Wisconsin would be tough, but I don’t think the selection committee would hold those against them.
With that being all said and done, that would put them 21-10 overall and 11-7 in the conference.
That should get them into the NCAA Tournament.
So let’s recap.
In order to get in the big dance, they should win the following games: Illinois, at Nebraska, Michigan, Penn State, at Purdue, Iowa, at Northwestern, Ohio State and Nebraska.
They can afford losses to at Minnesota, at Wisconsin and at Michigan.
No more slip ups. They have to win those games they should win and win out in Assembly Hall. They’re better than those three teams they play on the road that I put in the win category. It’s time to show it.