Sunday, December 15, 2013

Indiana: On the Bubble

Indiana lost to Notre Dame at home in Indianapolis yesterday, dropping them to 8-3 with other losses to UConn (neutral) and at Syracuse. The losses aren't terrible, but they have no good wins. Their two remaining non-conference games are cupcakes, so they won't be getting any good wins before the Big Ten season. A neutral court win over middling Washington (5-4, #133 Kenpom) will be their best non-con win.

Their current profile is certainly that of a bubble team. They have an RPI of 90 due to a fairly weak schedule. Obviously, it's too early to take the RPI seriously. But their projected RPI is 49th. And they've dropped to 39th in the Kenpom ratings, which projects them to go 9-9 in the Big Ten.

Will 9-9 get Indiana in the tournament? That would be a 19-12 record going into the Big Ten tournament, so they'd probably have to win their first-round game. Of course, it also depends on who they beat; they'll have to collect some scalps. They'll have opportunities, as they get 6 games against UW, MSU, and Michigan. They get Ohio State and Iowa just once, but at home. They'll probably need to win at least four of those eight games.

Two of their first four Big Ten games are home games against MSU (Jan. 4) and Wisconsin (Jan. 14). If they lose to MSU, the game against Wisconsin will be something like a must-win.

It would be hard to imagine a more satisfying victory than one that bursts Indiana's bubble.

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