Blog Entry

Indiana still on right side of bubble -- for now

Posted on: February 2, 2012 10:39 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 10:44 am
Indiana still has two great wins to carry its resume. (Getty Images)

By Jeff Goodman

No, the Indiana Hoosiers aren't on The Bubble. At least not yet. 

But take Assembly Hall out of the equation -- which I believe is one of the top three homecourt advantages in the country these days -- and Tom Crean would be pacing even more than usual. 

Indiana has won 17 games already -- with two of them coming against likely No. 1 seeds Kentucky and Ohio State in Bloomington. As long as the Hoosiers don't go into complete free-fall mode, which I don't expect to happen, they'll be hearing their name called on Selection Sunday. 

However, I think we can all agree now that Crean & Co. were playing over their heads earlier in the season when they beat Kentucky and Ohio State. There was the swagger that had been built up with a strong non-conference slate -- and the rabid crowd in their home building didn't hurt, either. 

Sure, every team has a homecourt advantage. But only a select few possess one similar to what's going on in Bloomington these days. Maybe just Rupp and Allen Fieldhouse. 

Indiana is 17-6 overall. Crean and the IU faithful would have taken that mark in a heartbeat through 23 games this year, but it's the 5-6 league mark -- and the continued ineptness on the road that is worrisome and even confusing for some. Last night came another road setback, this time in Ann Arbor against Michigan. The loss was Indiana's fifth overall in its last seven games. 

If the Hoosiers lose to Purdue in West Lafayette this weekend, they will fall to 5-7 in league play. That puts them in a similar league bracket as Minnesota and Iowa. Then comes an easy stretch where Indiana should be able to get back on track (Illinois and Northwestern at home, at Iowa), but who knows?

Remember, this is a team that lost at home to Minnesota -- and one that lost on the road against Nebraska. 

Cody Zeller is a stud, but Crean needs more help for him up front. Christian Watford is the ultimate X-factor in that he's talented, but you never quite know what to expect -- and never have. Jordan Hulls has had a terrific season and made dramatic strides as a player, but his backcourt mate, Verdell Jones III, is more suited to a reserve role for a team that wants to contend for the Big Ten title. Will Sheehey's injury earlier in the season, one that sidelined him for five games, has stunted his progress. 

The bottom line, though, is that this team is still ahead of pace. Many -- myself included - pegged IU for the NIT this season. Largely based on a pair of wins, the Hoosiers are worthy of a spot in the Top 25. At least for now. 

However, the Hoosiers can't afford to fall much below two games in league play -- or else those wins against Kentucky and Ohio State may not hold enough weight come Selection Sunday. 

Category: NCAAB

Since: Jan 27, 2012
Posted on: February 3, 2012 9:16 am

Indiana still on right side of bubble -- for now

Being a Hoosier fan...they desparately need to find that December magic.  I agree...right now they do not belong in the Top 25.  Heck, when they hit the Top 10 are when things started to really fall apart.  Once that winning target came up, I don't think they knew how to handle it.  Let's hope for February "magic" and make January a distant memory.  A great start would be winning @ Purdue tomorrow!

Since: Feb 2, 2012
Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:11 pm

Indiana still on right side of bubble -- for now

How on earth will the games against Illinois, Northwestern, and Iowa be easy? IU will be lucky to go 1-2 through that 'stretch'.

Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:58 pm

Indiana still on right side of bubble -- for now

Most overrated team in nation. Bad schedule and zero good wins outside of home arena, and several bad losses.   .500 in league or NIT

Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: February 2, 2012 1:03 pm

Indiana still on right side of bubble -- for now

You lose 5 of 7 you shouldn't be in top 25. Indiana will probably be or is a bubble team for the tourney. I believe if they finish 7-9 in conference they will make the big dance. As you stated more than 2 games below .500 in conference would put them out. 2 more wins in conference and the cupcake game NC Central would put the Hoosiers at 20 wins. 20 wins beating #1 UK and #2 Ohio St gets them in.

Since: Feb 18, 2010
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:24 am

Indiana still on right side of bubble -- for now

Are you serious? Jeff, did you really mean this, "Largely based on a pair of wins, the Hoosiers are worthy of a spot in the Top 25. At least for now"? If any team - I mean any team loses 5 out of 7, they should be out of the Top 25 - my beloved Cats included!!!

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