After a big upset victory over the Wisconsin Badgers almost two weeks ago, the Indiana Hoosiers seemed to play themselves out of the NCAA Tournament talks. The win two weeks ago put them back into the Big Dance conversation, but two straight losses entering today’s game against the Illinois Fighting Illini put them back out.
Indiana (13-7, 3-4) still has an outside shot at making the tournament and they accomplished the first step in those dreams by beating Illinois (13-8, 2-6) 56-46 in front of a sold out Assembly Hall Sunday afternoon.
If Indiana can win out at home and seal victories against teams they’re supposed to beat down the stretch, then they can make the tournament in March. Step one was beating Illinois, as the Big 10 can arguably get seven or eight team in the Big Dance.
Indiana and Illinois were pretty evenly matched as the Illini beat the Hoosiers by three on New Year’s Eve. A win puts Indiana ahead of the Illini in the conference standings and keeps them from getting sweeped by Illinois on the season and allows the selection committee to choose IU over Illinois now.
The Hoosiers still made their same mistakes by having too many unforced turnovers (13), missing way too many layups (10), and not making wide open shots (four). Luckily, Indiana stepped up on the defensive end tying a season low in points allowed 46 and forcing tons of mistakes by Illinois.
Indiana did a good job of getting hands up on shots and not allowing second chance opportunities to Illinois and now heads to Nebraska with hopes of getting a string of big wins together.