Tourney Watch: Home games represent major opportunity for IU

  • 02/07/2017 9:36 am in

Welcome to “Tourney Watch,” our weekly look at Indiana’s 2016-2017 NCAA tournament resume.

This week’s edition takes a look at last week’s performances by the Hoosiers, IU’s current nitty gritty profile, bracket projections and much more.

Overview

At 15-9, Indiana already has more losses this season than it did all of last season. Indiana split a pair of games last week as the Hoosiers beat Penn State at home in three overtimes and then fell 65-60 to Wisconsin in Madison.

With seven games to play, the Hoosiers need to go 4-3 the rest of the way to finish at least .500 in conference play. Indiana has two games remaining against Purdue and one against Northwestern, two teams that will both be in the tournament.

This week looms large for Indiana as two of the Hoosiers remaining three home games are Thursday (Purdue) and Sunday (Michigan). A pair of wins could significantly boost the resume while a pair of losses would put the Hoosiers in serious jeopardy of missing the tournament without a major run in the Big Ten tournament.

Nitty Gritty Profile

· Record: 15-9 (5-6 Big Ten)
· RPI: 75 (82 last week)
· SOS: 54 (via CBS) (63 last week)
· Home Record: 13-2
· Away Record: 1-5
· Neutral Court Record: 1-2
· vs. RPI Top 50: 3-6 (via ESPN)
· vs. RPI Top 51-100: 3-2 (via ESPN)

Bracket projections

· ESPN Bracketology (Joe Lunardi): 11 seed in South Region vs. Clemson in Dayton as part of “First Four” (updated Feb. 6)
· CBS Sports (Jerry Palm): 11 seed in Midwest Region vs. Notre Dame in Salt Lake City (updated Feb. 5)
· Assembly Call (Andy Bottoms): 10 seed in South Region vs. Xavier in Orlando (updated Feb. 7)
· Crashing the Dance: Not in the field (unchanged from last week)
· Bracket Matrix: Third No. 10 seed

Indiana is still in the tournament in many projections, but the Hoosiers are a No. 10 seed or lower in most projections. The Crashing the Dance model has Indiana out of the tournament for a second straight week.

Here’s what ESPN.com’s bubble watch wrote on Tuesday morning about IU’s chances:

November feels so long ago. On Nov. 11, in their season-opener, the Hoosiers beat Kansas 103-99 in overtime on a neutral court in Honolulu. A couple of weeks later, they convincingly handled North Carolina in Bloomington. James Blackmon Jr. was having a lights-out scoring campaign. Life was grand. It has been all downhill since. The Hoosiers are 5-6 after their first 11 Big Ten games, including a 30-point loss at Michigan on Jan. 26 and a 13-point loss at Northwestern on Jan. 29. OG Anunoby was lost to an injury; Blackmon, who has spent much of his career battling injuries, followed suit. Worst of all, the Hoosiers didn’t win enough to cover up the empty calories they gorged on in nonconference play, including six against teams ranked outside the RPI top 280. Like all empty calories, these linger far beyond their up-front enjoyment, and have thus placed the Hoosiers — who had November’s best pair of nonconference wins — firmly on the bubble moving forward. Yikes.

Final record projections

Two weeks ago, KenPom.com projected the Hoosiers to finish 20-11 overall and 10-8 in the conference. For the past week, that projection has dropped to 18-13 and 8-10. RPIForecast.com has the four most likely final regular season records for IU as: 19-12 (28.9%), 18-13 (26.9%), 20-11 (18.8%) and 17-14 (15.1%).

A look at the conference as a whole

The Big Ten is currently a seven bid league on the most recent Bracket Matrix with Wisconsin, Maryland, Purdue, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan State and Indiana in the field.

Michigan, with a home loss to Ohio State last week, has fallen out of many projections. No other Big Ten teams are under serious consideration at this point. Iowa, which is sitting at 6-5 in league play, could perhaps get into the conversation if it can get to 11 conference wins.

As the season moves along, we’ll dig more into each team’s projections, but Bracket Matrix (updated Feb. 6) currently has Wisconsin as a No. 3 seed, Purdue as No. 5 seed, Maryland as a No. 6 seed, Northwestern as a No. 7 seed, Minnesota as No. 8 seed and Michigan State as a No. 9 seed.

2017 Tournament Sites 

· First Four: Dayton
· First, second rounds: Buffalo, Greenville, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Tulsa
· Regional: Kansas City, Memphis, New York, San Jose
· Final Four: Phoenix

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  • pcantidote

    3 starters out and this is all about the undeveloped talent to you? I’ll grant you there are many shortcomings with our coach, but when you start with all of the great talent I stop reading.

  • pcantidote

    Your predictions seem plausible but if you are right then only winning the conference tournament will get us in.

  • JethroTroll

    That’s your definition of ‘sucks’? LOL To each their own.

  • kennygeorge

    I understand and agree with the erraticness, but I question why he does so much dribbling at the top of the key before deciding what and where it needs to go. I assume it’s the freshman and lack of playing time, like a dog chasing it’s tail.

  • Tim Kramer

    Although it has not received major attention, Crean has mentioned several times that Jones has been battling an ankle sprain for at least a couple of weeks. He has been iffy to even suit up, but probably has out of near necessity.

  • pcantidote

    With her, everything is about CTC. It’s nauseating.

  • pcantidote

    I agree, and it isn’t just too much dribbling but if you watch him he is almost always retreating away from the basket like he is avoiding rather than attacking.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I said runner up cuz if matchups having us go thru Peeyoo and UW and we win both or come really darn close in the title game could sway the committee. If we were to some how beat Peeyoo twice and still finish 2-5 and win 2 or more in the conference tourney I think we get in. I don’t think 4 high quality wins or more they can ignore. If we beat Peeyoo, UW or Mary in the conference tourney that also gives a bonus. If I had to vicpom it I’d say we need an excellent show in our tourney to have any chance at the dance

  • vicbert caladipo

    I told her yesterday. Save some time. Copy, paste, repeat. It’s the same post on every thread. She must think most of us have terrible reading comprehension cuz I got her point last year.

  • Pman

    Only 6 wins against the RPI top 100 is just plain bad. I suppose the big10 could get 7 or 8 bids and we get a bid. I just don’t see the big 10 as more than 6 bid league this year and with our remaining schedule it is going to be tough to finish in top 6.

  • pcantidote

    In recent years when we were way better than Purdue I dreamed of meeting them in the B1G tourney and completing a 3 game sweep. Now you just made me nervous that we are going to be the victim of the 3 game sweep. ;(

  • vicbert caladipo

    I’ve seen enough Stinky games to last me several lifetimes. It’s the only game of the year where I start off mad and am usually mad throughout. I never enjoy those games. Sure it’s nice to win and next best thing to a win is a Stinky loss, but when we win I feel more relieved than happy. At Stinky I have to mute all sound. The chant boiler up will make me PUKE faster than Copenhagen and mayonnaise sandwich

  • IndianaHoops

    This year or next, Crean has to go.

    You think the talent is down this year, wait till next year when JBJ, Bryant, and OG are gone.

    Recruiting is dead in the water and keeping Crean another year will do more harm than good.

    This current IU team, even with the injuries, has more talent than 10 teams in the B10, but will probably finish 6th or lower. And we had everyone with FW and Nebraska beating us at home. Or the last second shot to beat PSU on the road?

    I just don’t understand how people can accept this for the 9th highest paid coach in the nation. That’s what the expectation is…..where are the results?

  • pcantidote

    Wait, I thought the expression “boiler up” meant to puke? No?

  • John D Murphy

    IU is not a good team. Unless something changes, we don’t deserve to play in the NCAA. It always puts a damper on the rest of my weekend when IU loses in the first round anyway.

  • IndianaHoops

    lol…..nice…..deleted.

    Reality is going to come fast for some of you.

  • JethroTroll

    You’re contradicting yourself. You have us going 2-5 the rest of the way, and then you turn around and say “it is certainly possible” to win or runner up the conference tournament. LOL I agree that bball is certainly matchup oriented, but this doesn’t even make sense.

  • iugradmark

    I pretty much agree. I don’t think we bet NW. They are playing pretty well and their style will give them a chance to win. I think we may get a win on the road. Iowa or OSU can be beaten. The problem with OSU is that our kids may already be on vacation mentally by that point so I would think Iowa might be a better target. I am not sure I want us to play in the NIT but accept that we will if invited.

  • SCHoosier

    Re: IU..this will likely be the shortest such watch in b-ball observing history!): Hope I’m wrong.

  • Tcuomo

    I honestly think it’s just that CUJO is a frosh and doesn’t know/have the confidence to run the offense. I think that’s why we see him pounding the air out of the ball at the top of the key. Also, I didn’t notice this until several posters pointed this out, but he is very weak going to his left. These can all be addressed in the off season, but for now I feel JN and DG are the better option at this point if IU is trying to squeeze some wins out down the home stretch.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    You mean like this,,,how does it feel IU had 31 fouls compared to Wisconsin 12?

  • SCHoosier

    Anybody know if a school has to take an NIT bid if offered given the NIT ties with the NCAA? Why risk more injuries? probably some $$ at stake which would require the Hoosiers to grab them?

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    I agree and can think of 3 games off the top of my head that I believe his presence might have made a difference.
    He brings the heart!

  • N71

    Agree. I’ve had a difficult time trying to put my finger on the issue other than W/L record…what is it about his coaching that’s the short coming? He can clearly identify and develop talent but he just can’t “coach” in the sense that Knight, Wooden, and other elites could/can. He’s as active as any coach on the sideline but I’ve come to the point where I think its counter productive, there’s so much activity/messaging that if I were a player I’d perhaps overthink things. Limit what you’re telling me so I can get that done versus hitting me with 8 things and I don’t get any of them done. If you recruit smart players you don’t need to tell them to call out screens, they’ll already know that. Therefore don’t flood the airways with nitpick crap, simplify to amplify as the saying goes. You just need to be smart enough to know what 1 or 2 things the emphasize.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Say IU dumps Crean in July (deadline to reduce total payout), then we get the pleasure of watching players leave for pros, and the rest transfer. IU gets a new coach, who may or may not be better than Crean, struggling to rebuild (we’ve been here before) with lesser talent and last minute add-ons. What if we find out that it isn’t CTC’s recruiting that is the problem? What if we find out IU just isn’t an “elite” destination for players, regardless of who the coach is, like it was 30+ years ago? What if IU never will be again? That doesn’t mean don’t strive for becoming an “elite” basketball school again, but I think IU should be careful they don’t shoot themselves in the foot and take a giant step backward.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I’m concerned about your diet…

  • JethroTroll

    No, I think most here know what IU realistically is. Thanx though.

  • Donnie Vick

    Is there a chance JBJ returns?

  • IdahoHoosier

    Remember when people here argued that Tyler Ulis was a better player than Yogi and deserved to be drafted but Yogi didn’t? Including the stint in Brooklyn, Yogi is averaging 9 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds per game and has now played more minutes in the NBA in 15 games, than Ulis has in 32 games. They both play on bad teams, but Ulis has consistently sat the bench and averages 3 points, 1 assist, and 1 rebound per game. Small sample size for both and it is early, but one guy is trending up and one isn’t. I feel pretty good saying I thought Yogi should’ve been drafted over Ulis. Come on NBA! Don’t overlook an experienced, proven player for “potential”.

  • SidelineSportsNetwork

    Except Ulis has Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight ahead of him. Tyler Ulis had a great summer league and his time will come.

  • IdahoHoosier

    As I said, it’s early. Time will tell. It’s nice that Ulis had a good Summer League (6 games) against fringe rotation players. Yogi is giving it to NBA stars like Lillard and Kyrie Irving 5 games and counting. I just like what I’m seeing from Yogi.

  • SidelineSportsNetwork

    NBA will always go with potential because of the long term.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Try filling in the cracks(of your head) and not just going word for word. How about instead of insulting you read into it as “this is what he means”..which I have to spell it out for you to “make sense”. I believe we will go 2-5. Ok..now bear with me this is where it gets tricky. I believe we can make the tourney with a strong conference tourney. Why? Because the bigten tourney is a new chapter. Out with the old (2-5) and a whole new slate. I even mentioned a new slate. Do you not remember Iowa, or Ill , or even Peeyoo one year where their regular season was not good but they kicked butt in the bigten tourney. I realize I talk in circles sometimes but if you just bothered to think instead of insult then you may have understood me. It’s you you and others that keep harping how terrible the bigten is so why is it unfathomable to think just cuz we finish 2-5 that I can’t believe there is hope we can win the tourney. It’s called getting hot at the right time. Getting healthy. Young team forgetting the past and looking forward to the future. Glad I can help confuse you further

  • vicbert caladipo

    I just can’t get past how in past years NW has a tendency to choke. They have a tough schedule left and I seriously can see them choking to the point of missing the dance. Plus they are without their leading scorer and probably best athlete, Lindsey, and their best 3 pointer, Taphorn.

  • vicbert caladipo

    That always gets me too. If we are so talented, than why haven’t we won more. At some point talent has to equal results no matter how bad the coach appears to be to some. It’s amazing how after the first game we were exalted as this super talented bunch, of which I was guilty too of thinking, but now that we sit at 5-6 it’s all the coaches fault. Has anyone ever thought maybe we over rated the talent? I certainly I admit I did.

  • Missing Moye

    I think if they make a change, it needs to happen before the payout deadline and the money needs to be eaten. Otherwise, you’re not going to get a coach you want that late. That said, if they do make a move, I think you try to retain Buckley as an interim coach for a season (which may help ease the players with the transition) and it gives you a year plus to make sure you are choosing your next coach wisely.

    There seems to be a common misconception that when there is a coaching change, every player transfers off the roster and you have to start some 8 year rebuilding process or some nonsense. What happened at the end of 2007 with IU was a unique situation. You had a coach the was dismissed mid-season, that by all accounts had some less than stellar character guys, with a program on probation, and a new coach coming in that valued character above talent and kicked a couple people off the team that wanted to stay. That’s not the norm. It might take a coach of a few years to get a team of “his” guys, but I’m pretty sure that whoever that coach is has a chance at coaching Crean’s guys as well as Crean does.

    “What if we find out IU just isn’t an “elite” destination for players, regardless of who the coach is, like it was 30+ years ago?”

    So, what? Settle for mediocrity and never find out? I really hate the “we could do worse” mentality. I happen to believe that while we could do worse, I’m also certain there’s a possibility of doing better. I’d rather find out whether we can be elite or not than doom ourselves to another 9 years of being slightly above average.

  • Missing Moye

    I have not met CTC in person or had the opportunity to speak with him, but I’ve always been concerned that he talks to the players that same way he talks to the media in his pressers. If I were a player and my coach was talking in circles and waxing philosophical about every last little thing, I’d probably tune him out too.

    All speculation of course, but it does make me wonder. I can’t imagine that jargon goes over great in recruiting, either.

  • Missing Moye

    Ultimately, whether we are that talented or not, the coaching staff is the one that recruits the talent. We can come up with a thousand ways to make excuses for CTC, but in the end it’s his job to put a winning team together on the floor and he’s not consistently doing that, no matter what the reasoning.

  • Piker

    It takes some time to get where your going in Division 1 sports. I will just use one example, arguably the best coach in history Coach K. 12 years until a final 4. Then he went on a big run. Then a 6 year drought of no final 4s after 2004 and only 2 in the last 12 years. Both were championships which did help. It ain’t easy and yes we would definitely take a step back with any coach. IU has never been a 5 star haven….. more like 3 to 4+

  • Missing Moye

    There have been some teams turn down NIT invites in the past, but it’s pretty rare because most teams want to grab the extra money, as you guessed.

  • iugradmark

    For me, it is his constant focus on the “odd” stat that justifies the way he wants to play. He believes it is OK to have lots of turnovers because we are playing fast and getting deflections. When we have a bad defensive game, he usually starts out talking about what the offense did wrong. He believes he has found some undiscovered way to play that is better and cannot be understood by fans, media, or other coaches. Year after year we struggle with defense and turnovers. If you can’t fix it and you don’t have the correct assistants, make a change and bring some help in. Same for recruiting. If you cannot make nice with your state coaches, find someone who can. It is maddening to watch loss after loss where we start slow, don’t take care of the ball, don’t get our hands up on defense and as fans are wondering if we even get into the dance.

  • Missing Moye

    OT, but how about Penn State beating Maryland? Take IU into triple overtime on the road, lose at home to Rutgers, then beat Maryland. PSU is the one team in the B1G that can rival us in inconsistency.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Northwestern is really struggling right now against Illinois. I’m not so sure they are a guaranteed NCAA tournament team. Especially if they lose this game.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I completely agree with you. I’m just saying maybe we over rated our talent, but ultimately it comes down to the coach. As you said he recruited them and it is his job to make them better. I personally think it’s a combination of both. Coaching and not having the talent we all thought after Kansas and UNC. I think close to half of the bigten has as much talent as we do. Now of course if we were fully healthy, I’d say we have as much talent as any other big ten teams. I still think the 4 freshmen at Maryland are as talented or more than our freshman class and I think Amir Coffey is the most talented freshman in the league. It’s hard to say if our frosh and sophs would be better under a different coach. I’m not sold on that just yet.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I tend to agree somewhat, but Duke was never a power. They were the Wisconsin of their conference. It took UW many years to become a consistently good team, but they went from the outhouse to the penthouse rather quickly under Bo Ryan. On the other hand we are not quite yet in the outhouse, so we have less of a hill to climb than the two I just mentioned. How can a smaller school like Butler lose THE

  • vicbert caladipo

    Amen MM!!! We almost mirror each other in the bigten. I bet the basketball gods make sure that they are our first round opponent in the bigten tourney. Can we shoot for 4 OTs?

  • vicbert caladipo

    That’s what I’ve been saying for a couple weeks. They are notorious for starting fast and finishing losing. They are NOT a lock for the tourney like some think. I actually believe that is our easiest game yet. Not saying we will win, but it’s our best chance

  • vicbert caladipo

    Add Nick Ward to the list of thugs in the mold of Grayson Allen. This is at least the 3rd time in a couple weeks he has shoved someone or tripped someone going into a timeout. He thru a shoulder at ZM in our game and just tripped Mo Vagner 10 seconds ago. I’m no fan of Wagner as he’s a guy who likes to get under your skin, but I am seeing a pattern with Ward and Izzo does nothing. This, more than anything, is why I love our kids so much. You just don’t see Hoosiers taking cheap shots like that. I’d have thrown his a$$ out of the game

  • vicbert caladipo

    OK retract Izzo is now chewing him out , but guess what…the idiot is barking back and won’t make eye contact. There’s no place for this type of behavior.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Shades of IU in Ann Arbor. Halftime 55-29 UM.