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NCAA Basketball Big 10 BasketballIndiana Hoosiers

Bubble Watch: Indiana Needs to Make an Improbable Run to Make NCAA Tournament

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After a solid showing in the 2013 NCAA tournament, the Indiana Hoosiers have fallen back to reality this season and are now on the brink of missing the tournament altogether. With the loss Saturday, the Hoosiers fall to just 14-11 overall with a 4-8 record in conference play. The Hoosiers must now look past the high expectations the team had to open the season, and just focus on getting a tournament berth down the stretch.

The Hoosiers’ tournament chances took another big hit when Indiana lost to the Purdue Boilermakers 82-64 on the road. The Hoosiers kept the game close in the first half, but saw Purdue pull away down the stretch in the second half. Yogi Ferrell‘s 27-point performance was one of the lone bright spots in the loss, but the Hoosiers bench proved to be the team’s Achilles heel in the loss.

Ferrell, Will Sheehey and Noah Vonleh combined for 51 of the team’s 64 points which illustrates the Hoosiers’ lack of depth this season. The loss to Purdue marks the team’s third straight loss in a season filled with disappointment and heartbreak.

For many teams, it is to late to bolster the resume, but the Hoosiers’ schedule still features four top 25 opponents in the coming weeks which could be the saving grace for Indiana’s tournament chances. If Indiana can win out and get quality wins along the way, the Hoosiers might sneak into the backdoor of the tournament on name recognition alone.

Indiana’s play has been sporadic this year and while the Hoosiers’ tournament chances look slim, an increased presence by the bench could spark a run of epic proportions down the stretch.

Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.