Hoosiers confident about NCAA tournament chances

  • 03/15/2015 8:18 am in

Indiana’s NCAA tournament fate will be revealed in just a few hours. But the Hoosiers believe they should be in the field of 68 when it is announced at 6 p.m. ET on CBS.

For the past two weeks, the Hoosiers (20-13, 9-9) have been on the edge of the bubble due to three straight losses to close the regular season and then another loss to Maryland after just one win in the Big Ten tournament.

However, the Hoosiers feel they deserve to be in the field — and that it is because of their whole body of work, they said.

“I think we should be in because we compete every game,” sophomore Stanford Robinson said. “Yeah, we have some losses, but I think every good team we’ve battled with, we stayed in it or we’ve won the game.”

Two months ago, it appeared Indiana was well on its way to its third NCAA tournament appearance in four years. At 15-4 and 5-1 in the Big Ten coming off a 19-point win over Maryland and previous victories against Ohio State, Butler and SMU, there was plenty of reason to be optimistic.

The Hoosiers would close the regular season, however, with a 4-8 record, their wins coming against Rutgers (twice), Michigan and Minnesota. One loss came against Northwestern, a team ranked in the 100s in the RPI. But seven of those defeats came against teams projected to be in the NCAA tournament field.

“When you look at the body of work and factor the things in, and I really hope our league gets factored in,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “Obviously there’s a lot of really good teams in this league.”

Perhaps what has Indiana most optimistic of their NCAA tournament hopes, though, was its performance in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday and Friday. In their 71-56 win over Northwestern, the Hoosiers showed they still had life. They were energized, made shots and played better defense — “I like the way we played, I like the way we fought,” junior Yogi Ferrell said.

Even in their 75-69 loss to No. 2 seed Maryland, the Hoosiers believed they had another good performance. That they were passing the “eye test” that they belonged in the NCAA tournament.

“If we’re fortunate to get into the NCAA tournament, we’re going to try and ride with these two games that we played with here,” Ferrell said. “I like the way we played, I like the way we fought for both games, moving the ball, playing great defense, rebounding for our team, and hopefully we’ve done enough to make the tournament.

“If not, then so be it. But if we do, we feel like that we can play the same way going into these next games.”

It doesn’t mean, though, that the Hoosiers aren’t nervous for tonight’s proceedings.

Some players said they weren’t going to worry about whether they made the field of 68, that “we feel we deserve a spot in the tournament,” freshman Emmitt Holt said.

Others, though, are much more anxious about their fate.

“We’re really anxious,” Ferrell said on Friday. “I wish it was Sunday tomorrow just to see if we got in.”

And what exactly will that wait feel like?

“The longest wait ever,” Troy Williams said.

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  • enickman

    Good luck Hoosiers!

  • Hoosier Hall

    I think they should be in. Wish we would have beaten Michigan State at home or at least Maryland on Friday but compared to the other bubble teams, our body of work looks good. Only 1 loss to a non-tournament team (Northwestern) and several wins over top 50 teams.

  • IUfanToby

    Go Hoosiers! Will support these kids no matter what happens.

  • enickman

    I think SR bumped his noggin! I seem to remember a few games where the team was dismantled?

  • Cm

    Gonna sound like a gloomy Gus here, but Stan, we did not stay in every game. See at MSU, at Wisky, Iowa. Did we compete? Maybe. Was it competitive? No.

    Tourney teams don’t lose to northwestern. But despite that, we still have a chance because of some good wins early. Many people are saying Wyomings bid knocks us out, but I sure hope not. Go Hoosiers!

  • Bballpop

    Lunardi has us out. But every other site I could find has us still in, but just barely. Some even say we could be a 9 seed. Truth is no one really knows but the committee.

  • MAB 6275

    Ditto

  • disqus_Y0IHORLcBP

    I tend to think Lunardi is quite good at things – though, I’ve never gone back and checked him after the fact – but I don’t see anyway that Ole Miss or LSU gets in over us. Ole Miss in particular has a nearly identical record, a similar late season slump but they don’t have our quality wins. 9 seems insane though – where’d you see that one?

  • ForeverIU

    Why am I more excited about the Arkansas-Kentucky game later today than whether IU goes dancing? Because I refuse to succumb to bubble anxiety when it comes to IU basketball. And maybe because I’m also a Razorback!

  • SCHoosier

    Good luck to the Hoosiers. Our guys had their NCAA fate in their own hands, They did play hard the last three games..but the Iowa (didn’t show up) debacle..at home could be the killer.

  • SeeingRed

    Pulling back and looking at it objectively, I don’t have a good feeling about this. At their best, the Hoosiers absolutely pass the eye test over most other bubble teams because when they’re good, they’re exciting. That matters when it’s down to the nitty gritty. But they have face planted too many times this year in a Big Ten that is not particularly strong and I don’t believe for one minute that “trend” has been totally eliminated by the selection committee on these last couple in or out. These are humans, not computers.

    Go ahead committee — prove me wrong.

  • Missing Moye

    Iowa lost to Northwestern and they are a tourney team. Northwestern took MSU to overtime in East Lansing and lost Maryland by 1 point on a buzzer beater. If they pull out either of those games on the road their RPI is vastly different and this “bad loss” doesn’t look nearly as bad. NW isn’t a top tier team, but they aren’t Alcorn State, either.

    If you consider that Wisconsin lost to Rutgers, Michigan State lost to Texas Southern, and Purdue lost a couple games they shouldn’t have early on, I feel kind of good that NW on the road was IU’s worst loss. I hope the committee thinks the same.

  • HoosierFanaticFromUSI

    Really need SMU to win today. Not only because it would enhance IU’s resume but also because UConn wouldn’t be able to potentially steal our bid. Hopefully Wyoming didn’t already knock out the Hoosiers last night.

    Good luck Hoosier Nation. May all of your nerves stay in tact leading up to 6pm and may we all be celebrating afterwards!

  • SCHoosier

    Re: the “trend”..I agree. The Hoosiers implosion last third of the season is probably our biggest negative. Last 3 games showed renewed Hoosier momentum even though IU lost two of them. Was that uptick in effort enuff…my gut says not.

  • eville87

    We are an inconsistent young good shooting team that struggles playing defense. Are we any better than Boise state , byu, Mississippi, Murray State, etc etc. What makes me mad is were praying for a play in game. At Indiana University a long time storied program. Does anybody else see an issue with that? Lunardi has only missed on 4 picks in like 5 years. I hope he is wrong for the kids sake.

  • cbags05

    Can somebody explain how Georgia is projected as above Indiana? Zero top 50 wins? More bad losses? This is where the RPI is really bad.

  • cbags05

    And LSU for that matter….5 losses 100+ RPI….

  • cooper

    Eastern Washington at home

  • TN Hoosier

    I think Xavier is a very good team that deserves to be in the dance. I just don’t understand why Joe Lunardi has us in the ‘first-four’ out with one ‘bad loss’ (@ NW) but has Xavier on the 7 line with a nearly identical record (21-13, 9-9) but with losses to UTEP, LBSU, Auburn, Depaul & Creighton. Again, give Xavier a spot in the tournament. But why are they comfortably in as a 7 seed with no apparent concern about several losses that qualify, in my opinion, as worse than ours @ NW? IU is getting a lot of grief for their finish down the stretch, but they are 1 ‘end of game’ missed open shot away from a couple of (highly possible, if not likely) wins against good teams that are in the tournament, plus a missed free throw from going into OT with another. That’s it! We have a grand total of 1 loss against a non-NCAA tournament team and could easily have 22 or 23 wins at this point. Even that 1 bad loss was on the road against a team that stands just on the other side of the RPI 100, was playing well and had just beaten Iowa a couple of weeks before (who, incidentally, also just lost to Penn State yet remain on the 7 line). We even (convincingly) exacted revenge for the NW defeat in the Big Ten tournament.

    I’m trying to be open-minded and unbiased (good luck with that, right?) but I have a hard time looking at the resumes of a number of teams projected to be in the field without feeling certain that Indiana’s resume is as good or better.

    Oklahoma St. (18-13, 8-10) lost at South Carolina and also lost 5 of 6 to finish the season (including a loss @ Texas Tech!) but are in as a 9 seed (according to JL). Are those better losses than IU @ NW? Are the Big 12 and Big East so much better than the Big Ten that these teams can be afforded those losses and thus are able to avoid being ‘on the bubble’? Instead, they apparently are considered to be top 25-28 and 33-36 teams, respectively.

    It’s really hard to tell how tough a conference is, collectively, when teams play almost exclusively within their respective conferences for the last two-thirds of the season. Every year it seems there are surprises that suggest the level of play may have been higher or lower than most realize. Last year, for example, the SEC had all 3 teams that made the tournament reach the Sweet Sixteen. In addition, and as far as total won-loss records go, the SEC, Big Ten, American and Pac-12 each out-performed the ACC, Big 12 and Big East in the dance last year.

    Admittedly, IU doesn’t fare well on the ‘eye-test’ in our recent games against NW and Iowa. However, down the stretch in our game against MSU and through our 2 games in the Big Ten Tournament, we competed very well and with solid effort. If we’re playing with that intensity we can beat a lot of teams, especially if the shots are falling. With everything mentioned plus our quality wins, I think our Hoosiers deserve a spot and I also think we could win a game or two once we got there.

  • I posted this on the premium forum but check out the records of our bubble team competition that Lunardi has ahead of us.

    Pretty much all Temple has done is beat Kansas.
    LSU has RPI losses of 98, 104, (128)x2, 215, 216 and 3 top 50 RPI wins.
    Ole Miss has RPI losses of 99, 118, 127, 166 and 3 top 50 RPI wins.
    Boise State has RPI losses of 121, 148, 186 and 3 top 50 RPI wins.
    Colorado State has an RPI loss of 171 and only 2 top 50 RPI wins.
    BYU has RPI losses of (135)x2, 155 and only 1 top 50 RPI win.
    Georgia has RPI losses of 128, 149 and NO top 50 RPI wins.

    I just dont understand it.

  • Khoosier3

    Easy… ESPN looooooooves the SEC…. Blah.. I wanna vomit..

  • Lance76

    Has anyone heard if HMP can play in the near future or is he done for the year? CH injury could have some impact as well. Hope the board stays sane with decisions later today and in coming weeks. Everyone knows we are not where we want to be and how to get there is so plagued with drama.

  • beer30

    Based on Lunardi’s current Last 4 In, absolutely no way that we should not be in. However, w/ that being said, absolutely no way that we should be in this position in the first place. Especially after just missing the tournament as recently as last yr.

  • PBzeer

    Most of our “good wins” came in the first half of the season. Most of their “bad losses” came in the first half of their seasons. Sure, we beat SMU and Butler, but could we now?

  • David Macer

    EWU won last night and they are in the NCAA’s. They were 26-8. It was not a bad loss.

  • sam

    if you are asking for an opionion I say yes we could beat them now.

  • Bud Jenkins

    I could see them passing them up to promote the NIT, it is not every year the NIT gets a program like IU… Hate to be cynical, but it would be good for the NIT’s ratings… How many of you watched the NIT last year, how many would this year (IF).. I rest my case

  • TN Hoosier

    Oklahoma St. lost to Texas Tech (13-19, 3-15 B12, RPI 179) on Feb. 28th. Xavier lost to Creighton (14-19, 4-14 Big East, RPI 147) on Feb. 4th and only beat them by one point on March 7th.

    If we play with the increased defensive intensity that we showed in the Big Ten Tournament and couple it with good shooting then, sure, I think we can beat a lot of teams (including SMU and Butler). We don’t even necessarily have to shoot ‘lights out’ (even though we’re certainly capable of doing so). One of the biggest issues this team has had this season, in my opinion, has been untimely, critical misses on makeable opportunities – not only at the end of games but also at certain junctures where we could have distanced ourselves. For all our team’s failings and/or shortcomings, its still a good team. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that I think Tom Crean deserves at least one more year with these guys, especially if we can land Thomas Bryant.

  • cbags05

    wish I would have read this first. I just manually put all this together too. This is a joke if Indiana is left out. Only reason to leave them out is if they really don’t want to give the BIG another team. I’ll accept that reasoning before I ever admit any of these other resumes are better. There is no argument for any of these being better than Indiana. There are all sorts of arguments for Indiana being better than all of them.

  • cooper

    You really want to say Eastern Washington, in a league that no one knows who would likely never get more than the automatic bid team in the tournament, isn’t a bad loss at home?

  • Bballpop

    I looked at so many different sites that I don’t remember. I want to compare his bracket with the final one just to see how he does.

  • sam

    You seem to be the only one who thinks so. All the so call experts seem to think not.

  • cooper

    I guess that’s what it’s come to then. We now call loses to teams like EW a good loss. Love the direction team is heading.

  • Bballpop

    Lunardi is full of it. 10 seed