March Watch: A look at IU’s tournament profile, other Big Ten teams

  • 02/10/2015 11:09 am in

After missing the postseason altogether last season, Indiana is in solid position to return to the NCAA tournament. IU split a pair of games last week and currently sits at 17-7 overall and 7-4 in Big Ten play.

We’re back this week with another edition of “March Watch,” which will be a weekly feature up until Selection Sunday on March 15. We’ll take a look at IU’s current nitty gritty profile, bracket projections, Big Ten bubble teams and more.


Indiana continues to boast a strong tournament profile with four wins over teams currently viewed as solid bets to make the tournament in Butler, SMU, Ohio State and Maryland. IU also has a win over Illinois, which is starting to make a case for tournament consideration. With seven conference games to go, including four at Assembly Hall, there are plenty of opportunities for Indiana to further strengthen its resume.

Nitty Gritty Profile

· Record: 17-7 (7-4 Big Ten)
· RPI: 31
· SOS: 34 (via CBS)
· Home Record: 14-1
· Away Record: 2-4
· Neutral Court Record: 1-2
· vs. RPI Top 50: 5-4 (via ESPN)
· vs. RPI Top 51-100: 3-3 (via ESPN)

Current Projections

· ESPN Bracketology (Joe Lunardi): 7 seed in East Region vs. Ole Miss in Omaha
· CBS Sports (Jerry Palm): 6 seed in South Region vs. Texas in Columbus
· Assembly Call (Andy Bottoms): 6 seed in East Region vs. Seton Hall in Columbus
· Crashing the Dance: No. 21 overall seed
· Bracket Matrix: Last 7 seed

Not much has changed in the last week as Indiana is solidly in the field in every projection we’re tracking. The seeding model on Crashing the Dance currently has the Hoosiers with the third best overall profile among Big Ten teams behind Wisconsin and Maryland.

Final record projections continues to project Indiana to finish 21-10 overall with an 11-7 mark in the conference. The Only Colors, which has been projecting the Big Ten race all conference season, gives Indiana a 93.63 percent chance to finish with 10 or more conference wins and a 76.81 percent chance to win 11 or more Big Ten games. continues to list he three most likely final regular season records for IU as: 21-10, 20-11 and 22-9, as shown below:


A look at the conference as a whole

As for the Big Ten at-large, the latest ESPN bracketology has the league as a seven-bid league with an eighth team, Purdue, in the mix. Right now, you can probably only put Wisconsin and Maryland as the teams that are “locks” to make it. Here’s a brief look at other profiles across the league:

· Wisconsin (21-2, RPI 6): The Badgers, who are still without Traevon Jackson, are running away with the Big Ten regular season crown. The only question for this team is whether it can claim a No. 1 seed come Selection Sunday.

· Maryland (19-5, RPI 17): The Terps have struggled on the road in Big Ten play (lopsided losses at IU, Ohio State and Iowa), but they continue to take care of business at home and non-conference wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma State will boost their overall resume.

· Ohio State (18-6, RPI 35): The Buckeyes have won four of five and would probably be in line for a much better seed if not for such an unproductive non-conference schedule. Ohio State’s best non-conference win was Marquette, a victory that will do nothing to impress the selection committee.

· Iowa (15-8, RPI 38): After dropping three straight, the Hawkeyes have responded with a pair of wins (at Michigan, Maryland at home) and with a favorable schedule down the stretch, Iowa is a team on the rise in most projections. A non-conference win at North Carolina helps tremendously, too.

· Michigan State (15-8, RPI 52): Things are starting to get interesting in East Lansing. The Spartans just lost at home to Illinois and right now Tom Izzo’s team is on the bubble. Michigan State is just 2-6 against the RPI Top 50 and with trips to Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and IU still pending plus home games against Ohio State and Purdue, there’s little margin for error.

· Illinois (16-8, RPI 48): The Illini’s win at Michigan State was pivotal. Trips to Wisconsin, Iowa and Purdue are still looming and coming away with a win in any of those venues will be incredibly difficult. Illinois has four home games remaining in its last seven games and if it can simply hold serve at home, 20 wins and a rising RPI could be enough to punch a ticket.

· Purdue (15-9, RPI 71): The Boilermakers are currently tied for second in the Big Ten standings, but non-conference losses to North Florida and Garder-Webb are still weighing down the overall profile. Of the eight Big Ten teams in the mix for a NCAA bid, Purdue has the worst profile, but opportunities for wins at Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan State still loom.

2015 Tournament Sites 

· First round: Dayton
· Second, third round: Charlotte, Columbus, Louisville, Jacksonville, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Portland, Seattle
· Regional: Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, Syracuse
· Final Four: Indianapolis

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  • Corey Schroyer

    Certainly a lot of winnable games in the last 7, personally I find all three of our away games winnable. And despite Purdue’s size advantage, I think our home court advantage gives us a good shot at reeling off 5 wins in the next 5. However, as they say one game at a time, and a W @ Maryland would certainly be a step towards a higher profile come tourney selection time!

  • N71

    I’d put the at Maryland game as the most challenging, they’re surely looking for a pound of flesh after getting waxed by us and poked by Iowa.

    +Minnesota at home should be a doable win
    +Purdue at home should be winnable as well
    +at Rutgers could be a challenge, they’re better than they’re record
    +at Northwestern should be winnable, knock on wood
    +Iowa at home, with goggles, a big win, our guys will be jacked
    +Michigan State at home, another win, payback is due

    I’d be happy if we went 6-1 over the next 7 games. That would put us at 23-8 before the Big Ten tournament. Let’s say we are in the final 4 of the Big Ten tournament and get beat by Wisconsin. That would leave us at 24-9 I think. With that I’d look for a 4 or 5 seed, not a 6 or 7.

  • myrddin

    Game-by-game that seems like a very reasonable analysis. Loss @ Maryland, hold serve at home, win two winnable road games = 6-1. This team so far this year has done a pretty good job winning the games they’re supposed to (and a few they weren’t), and getting back to full health will help.

    It would not surprise me, however, if this team did have 1 slip in that run of 6 games. Maybe Purdue’s bigs are too much to handle again, or Iowa puts in another solid road performance, or Rutgers puts up another game like they did against Wisc. Something that drops us to 5-2. And, honestly, I’d be ok with that as well, because that should still be good for a high seed in the BTT and we’d be talking NCAA seeding not bubble watch.

    After that, it’s all about matchups.

  • The_Bob_Michaels

    I thought it was telling on the CBS broadcast when they listed our 3 “Good wins” and had zero “Bad losses”. Although as a fan, any loss to Purdue is beyond “Bad”….

  • JacksonCounty

    First I want to say that this team surprised me and turned out to be better than I thought they would be. I had them winning 16 or maybe 17 games top. So great job and kudos for that. Secondly, I think the nitty gritty section above says it the best. Indiana was good at home but not so good on the road or on neutral floors. They were basically 50/50 against top 100 teams. This makes this a very average team away from home. So I think it’s an accomplishment for them to have a real shot at the tournament now, but if this team is going to advance they are going to have to get red hot from the perimeter in order to advance. The B1G tournament should give us a good idea of how they are performing at the end of the year on neutral floors.

  • calbert40

    “poked by Iowa.”

    I see what you did there.

  • Hoosierfan1

    I do not think PU is that winnable. I don’t like the matchup at all. Even with HMP back and at top form. Purdue scares me. I sure hope I’m wrong.

  • calbert40

    According to RPI, we have five remaining games against Top 100 competition. That does not include the B1G tourney where we will certainly play quality competition too. According to KenPom we have four remaining against Top 50 teams.

    In other words, if we win the games we should win ONLY, we are in. Now we just have to go do it.

  • BigAl24

    I just have to say it. One thing I don’t understand is why we aren’t getting Nate Ritchie any minutes. He is the ANSWER to any and every problem we have. Seeing him play all throughout high school, it was easy to see the big ten potential he has. He has some height (lord knows we need that) and he can do everything on a basketball court. I once saw him go 9-9 from behind the arc his junior year. He’s lights out if he gets enough touches. He stretches the floor, he can distributes, he can post up just as well as anybody on the team, and he finishes at the rim. Not to mention this guy is the single best defender I have ever seen. Put him on Layman tomorrow and he won’t score a single point. CTC needs NR in the lineup, the time has come.

  • Gregory Spera

    Won’t we probably be favored in our last six games? Even against Purdue and Michigan State at home?

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    no way!! we beat PUke by8 -10 at home!!

  • Michael R

    I have been impressed with this team so far, but I believe we have let some games get away from us. If we had taken care of business against Eastern Washington and Georgetown, we would be sitting at 19-5. Those games mean nothing for Big Ten Conference, but everything for tournament selection as a 20+ win team from the Big Ten is a 90% Lock for the Tourney.

    As for rest of the season projection, I see us going 5-2. If we can steal one at Maryland (which we seem to match up with very well) we will be a lock for the tourney. It is very important for us to stay in the top 4 in conference so we can avoid having to play an extra day in the Big Ten Tourney. With the way the rest of our schedule aligns, it is possible for us to finish 2 or 3 in regular season schedule, which would put us in solid position to advance to a Semifinal Game and avoid Wisconsin. I see us as a 4 or 5 seed at best in the NCAA Tourney, with the most probable landing seed being a 6 seed.

    I favor the comparison of our team to UConn last year. Although Yogi is no Napier (Yogi is a very good defender and Napier torched us last season), I believe we have a better supporting cast than UConn did last year. The two major differences are defense and rebounding, as UConn was very good on the boards for an undersized team and played better and better defense as the season went on. It serves as a very good reminder that teams can start clicking at the right time come March. Nobody thought Kentucky would do what they did last year and the same goes for UConn. During the broadcast of one of our games they pointed out that IU is a top 5 youngest team in the country (I believe it was 3 youngest). Young teams either fold as the season progresses or get better. These final 7 games will tell us all we need to know about our future. I am just happy that I can get excited for March Madness again.

  • KmanCRK

    what did you see from him in H.S. that hundreds of college scouts didn’t? Based on your assessment, this kid should’ve been a top 100 kid. But he’s a walk on…

    After hearing Fisch’s comments & Crean’s yesterday regarding why April isn’t playing, I think people need to stop thinking they have more insight into who should and shouldn’t be playing.

  • Ole Man

    You act as if Ritchie didn’t have any scholarship offers, but he did. He had several mid-major offers; “The 6-foot-7 Ritchie had offers from Air Force and Toledo and interest from other Division I programs.” as reported here on ITH.

  • Max

    Maybe Big Al is Nate’s dad or something? Nothing against Nate – you have to be incredible even to walk on at IU, but we shouldn’t see him in a game unless we are up/down by 20.

  • Ole Man

    Er; not necessarily. We were favored by 7.5 against Mich; and that was our biggest edge for the rest of our schedule. Don’t know what the line is; and it obviously will change depending on outcomes.

  • calbert40

    I’m not sure. With KenPom, we are currently #50. Maryland (38), Minnesota (46), Iowa (27) and MSU (28) are all currently ahead of us. Now, with RPI, we are #31, and we are ahead of all of those same teams except for Maryland (17). They will be very close one way or the other. It just depends on how many points that particular group gives for home court.

  • Ole Man

    MN, even at home, will be very tough. They are a really strong defensive squad and very decent inside.
    Iowa, the same.
    Throw in PUke, and essentially IU has 3 tossups at home against very good squads.

  • Benhyoung14

    Who had this team as a lock to make the NCAA tourney mid way through? Anybody? I’m hoping HMP’s return improves the defense. I’d like to see the defensive stats with him in, and with him out.

  • Eastwood88_2

    We will get some home cooking! Hartman and hanner together should help. Don’t under estimate the effect that crowd had on them.

  • Kyl470

    This team is nothing like last years UConn team. They had 7 guys on the team 6’7″ or taller and five of those guys were regular rotation players. Napier and Boatright were both very solid on the ball defenders and could really pressure the other teams guards. That UConn team won with defense. Yes their guards sparked most of the offense like this years IU team, but the similarities end there.

  • BT

    Iowa has certainly put together an eye-popping resume lately.

  • Kyl470


  • KmanCRK

    Nothing against NR. I am just so sick of all of the comments about who Crean should play. Countless folks talking about April for the last two months, only to hear Fisch and Crean both rip the kid last night for basically refusing to work at his craft and as Fisch said it best, “Being Lazy”. I have no idea why people on here assume they know more about the kids on the bench than the coaches.

    And mostly I just wanted to make that point to someone who believes that a freshman walk-on with scholly offers from Air Force and Toledo could be as he said the, “ANSWER to any and every problem we have”.

    This is IU for God’s sake.

    If you don’t find that utterly absurd Ole Man, you’re on an island.

  • KmanCRK

    Maryland is the last team we play with a better record & resume. At home I believe we will be favored in all of these. Maryland was favored by only 1 or 2 against us at home, and they were ranked #8 in the coaches poll at the time.

  • Miamihoosier

    I think ITH should have a “comments hall of fame” tab, where we could nominate for categories, like funniest, biggest tear-jerker, most likes, or in the case of this comment- most ridiculous

  • thrawnjan

    Hahaha that picture!

    “Now you see me, now you don’t!” *woooooosh*

  • Michael R

    Daniels was their only inside presence and rim protector. He is 6’8 and is no where near the athlete that Troy Williams is. As I had stated, they are similar in that they won with undersized players at every position, with the major difference being that UConn could defend and rebound. IU is a better offensive team and does not need Yogi to be a Napier to get the team to go far in the tournament (I might add that UConn could have easily lost their opening game). The comparison is not perfect, but paints a picture of a team that is locked in defensively on the ball and how it changes the outcome of games. If Hanner had a better feel for the game of Basketball then our problems on the interior would be answered (Rim Protection, Def. and Off. Rebounding, Shot Selection). The book is out on IU defensively: if you can get into the paint then you will shot a high % or get fouled. I would love to see data on IU defensively regarding points per possession from each area of the court. I am not hating on Crean, I have a lot of respect for what he has done and is still doing, but he cannot coach defense and we need to higher someone on our staff that can (Dan Fife comes to mind).

  • IU diehard from CT

    glass half empty, they go 20-11 and finish 10-8 in conference with nice wins over maryland, smu, at illinois, neutral against butler. they will be in imo as most likely a 9 seed which sucks. glass half full, they go or lets say realistically 22-9 and probably finish after big10 tourney at 23-10 and get a 7 seed, 5-6 at best. either way, they are in. we can all agree they have overachieved up to this point and with the newbies coming in next year, and everyone staying, IU will be in prime contention for the conference title next year

  • iubase

    This team still has a high ceiling and should be a 6 seed in the tourney. How well we do depends on the ability to play D. HMP will be an important factor and he is still well short of his potential. If he develops into a steady defensive presence than we could be in the sweet 16 at the end of the yr. However, the chances for this are are less than 50/50. Regardless, CTC and staff have done a great job this yr.
    Otherwise, next yr we should be solid and I look at a possible run to the final four.

  • Kyl470

    You are wrong on UConn. You are just flat wrong. They had Brimah who was 7 feet tall and averaged over 2 blocks a game. Phillip Noloan 6″10″ played over 14 minutes a game. They always had size on the back line of their defense.

  • Michael R

    Sure you can look at the stats all you want. Brimah and Noloan together averaged more fouls, less rebounds, less points, less steals (between the both of them had 0 in Six Games), worse FG%, worse FT% and could not hit a 3 to save their lives, which allowed Napier and Boatright the room to drive to the lanes. It was no secret that Napier had the month of his life in the Tourney and same could be said for Boatright, but all of this would not have been possible without Daniels. FT’s were a key element to UConn’s run, another avenue that Daniels provided. If I am so wrong about UConn please explain to me how Brimah or Noloan could stay in any one of the games averaging a foul every 5 minutes? The “eye” test even showed the same, as a majority of their blocks could have been called the other way.

  • SCHoosier

    Thank you Grandma Ritchie..we all love the kid too!

  • SCHoosier

    Don’t see how we;’re a favorite against PU or Iowa at home. MSU is probably a “pick’em”.

  • Kyl470

    Your argument was that Daniels was their only inside presence and rim protector. Daniels wasn’t even their primary post defender. Yes Nolan and Brimah were terrible on offense, but they could guard the other teams post players and Brimah was an elite shot blocker. Yes Daniels, Boatright, and Napier were their primary offensive players, but UConn could defend the post and didn’t give up nearly as many easy buckets.

  • Eugene Debs

    We’ll finish 20 – 11.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    This team has overachieved for the most part this season….the NCAA draw might not bring many smiles but it would be nice for the B1G brackets to draw IU into the Sunday game ….

  • gm

    HMP needs to stop winding-up before he jumps to block a shot. It messes up his timing. He also doesn’t need to try to block every shot. Sometime he goes for the block, doesn’t get it, and the missed shot goes into the hands of the guy he should have been blocking out. Too often he goes for the big block instead of what might be a simple rebound.

  • Ole Man

    Stop acting like a little boy with hurt feelings.
    All I did was repost a quote from a feature on him from here on ITH.
    You don’t like the truth apparently. And neither do you like it when someone opposes your opinion with FACT.
    Apparently, the only island floating around here is ridiculous ego you put into your post. It’s brown and floats…get it?

  • KmanCRK

    Just too much chatter on here about who should play and I guess the talk of a walk on solving all of our problems sent me over the edge. That’s why I referenced Fisch’s comments about April, who most of the chatter has been about. NR seems like a good kid and hopefully he can really develop with that athleticism.

    So are you his grandma? If so, sorry.

  • KmanCRK

    “Fact” as in he can solve ALL of our problems?

  • Ole Man

    Fact as in he had several mid-major offers. Then I provided the source of the information.


    Totally agree and I will be surprised if we aren’t a 6 to 10 point underdog against PU.

  • dwdkc

    no, better. I think at least one road win and one home loss; maybe 2 road wins.

  • dwdkc

    I think we’re not using Nate enough in his “one and done” year…..

  • dwdkc

    The coaches should have some idea from practice. So they do know. Believe me if he was lighting it up they’d consider putting in a 6’7″ kid. They were willing to put in Ryan Burton in a tight game and it paid off, but he’s a mature player.

  • dwdkc

    Yes, those seem to be tough for us on the road (throw in MSU from experience, all home games are potential losses). But for some reason this is a different team at home, as are those teams. Then the matchup issues seem to switch to noticing how hard a time they have with our spacing and shooting.

  • dwdkc

    Just got back from Marquette game in Milwaukee, a 64-44 game against Xavier. Appreciate the watchability of the Hoosiers way more after that nightmare. And Luke started great but seemed to wear down quickly; not yet used to the physicality against big guys, so while he will be a very good player, he would not have been the missing final four link this year. Next year, well never mind.

  • KmanCRK

    nobody is arguing that the kid had scholarship opportunities by the way. just that its absurd to think our savior is sitting at the end of the bench and the coaches don’t know it. but if you feel he’s our savior, you have that right.