Both teams are projected to be in the field of 68, according to the latest Bracketology from Jerry Palm, and both teams have been inconsistent during Big Ten play. We've seen Indiana's ceiling, knocking off the likes of Kansas and North Carolina, but without OG Anunoby in the lineup we may have seen Indiana's floor in the 90-60 loss in Ann Arbor.
John Beilein has a solid offensive team (top 20 in offensive efficiency), and Thursday night was the second time in the last four games Michigan has put up 90 or more on the scoreboard. But does that offensive production say more about where the Wolverines are heading into a crucial stretch of the Big Ten schedule or where Indiana is at defensively without Anunoby? The Hoosiers have been weaker on the defensive end of the floor even when at full strength but Thursday's blowout loss was downright embarrassing.
Jerry Palm had both teams around the 8-seed or 9-seed line heading into Thursday night, and this result has Indiana sliding closer to the NCAA Tournament bubble than anyone would have expected after early wins against some of the best teams in the country. There's enough offensive talent with James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson and Thomas Bryant to expect that Indiana can get hot and go on a run in March, but it's getting harder to expect that kind of run without another win against a quality opponent.
As it stands, Saturday's win against Michigan State is the closest thing Indiana has to a top-50 win since taking down North Carolina in late November. Losses to Nebraska, Maryland and now Michigan have the Hoosiers slated more like a mid-tier team fighting for a tournament bid than the Big Ten title hopeful many expected earlier in the season.
A year ago Tom Crean was able to rally his team back from losing another star player (Blackmon) and make the Sweet 16, but until Indiana starts taking down quality opponents in conference play it's going to be hard to imagine that kind of run happening again.