6-Banner Sunday: Indiana awaits Selection Sunday after two wins in Big Ten tournament
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Welcome to another edition of 6-Banner Sunday, a joint production between The Assembly Call and Inside the Hall where we highlight the five most essential IU basketball stories of the past week, plus take a look at how the other IU sports programs are doing.
In a complete twist of fate that was a foreign concept but pleasant surprise to every IU fan, the team used the Big Ten tournament to save their season and almost certainly play their way into March Madness for the first time in six years. The conference tournament has been a place of horror in past seasons and with this one teetering away things looked bleak. However, for the first time since 2003, the Hoosiers won multiple games in the Big Ten tournament and played their best basketball of the year.
Nearly every bracketologist (more below) has the Hoosiers in the field of 68 now with their performance this week.
The IU women’s team turned their fate around as well and used the Big Ten tournament to accomplish their goals and we will conclude six-banner looking at them and other IU sports.
• Hoosiers beat Michigan with an improbable comeback
• IU knocks off top-seeded Illinois to likely clinch spot In NCAA tournament
• Hoosiers tournament run comes to an end against Iowa on buzzer-beater
• Bracketology update
• AC Radio and Podcast on the Brink
• Hoosier Roundup
Banner #1 – Hoosiers beat Michigan with an improbable comeback
With their season coming apart and IU down 17 points in the second half of their first Big Ten tournament game, another NIT bid looked likely. After all, the conference tournament has been extremely unkind to the Hoosiers since Mike Davis was fired from the program. However, with another Mike (Woodson) on the sidelines coaching and a different Davis (Trayce Jackson-Davis) leading the way, IU made an impossible comeback from down 60-43 to a 74-69 win. Jackson-Davis overcame his issues against fellow elite big men and dominated Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson in the final 20 minutes while finishing with 24 points. With the win, the Hoosiers advanced to Friday in the conference tournament for the first time in five years.
Afterward, Woodson spoke as did Michigan’s Juwan Howard, Inside The Hall had a Photo Gallery, Ryan Corazza had his Minute After and Film Session, Alex Bozich wrote Five Takeaways, and Grace Ybarra and Tyler Tachman had columns.
Banner #2 – IU knocks off top-seeded Illinois to likely clinch spot In NCAA tournament
The Hoosiers played their best 40 minutes of the season against the Illini to all but certainly lock up a bid in March Madness for the first time in six years. Kofi Cockburn has been a thorn in Jackson-Davis’ side more than any other center in the conference. However IU’s star big completely turned the tables this time with 21 points and won the matchup. As a result, the Hoosiers got a 65-63 thrilling win with Jackson-Davis hitting two free throws to go up one with under a minute left.
Afterward, Woodson spoke as did Illinois coach Brad Underwood, Inside The Hall had their Photo Gallery, Corazza had his Minute After and Film Session, Bozich penned Five Takeaways, and Tachman and Ybarra once again had columns.
Banner #3 – Hoosiers tournament run comes to an end against Iowa on buzzer-beater
In the ultimate contrast in styles, IU faced a red-hot Hawkeye team Saturday in the Hoosiers’ first Big Ten tournament semifinal appearance in nine years. Iowa had zero answers for Jackson-Davis inside and IU had a hard time stopping the Hawkeyes outside shots as Iowa hit 14 three-pointers. In the end, it was sixth-year senior Jordan Bohannon hitting a nearly impossible long-range shot in the last second for an 80-77 win.
Overall the weekend was a massive success for the Hoosiers in the conference tournament. IU rode what was essentially a home crowd in Indianapolis to its best basketball of the season and almost certainly achieved their goal of punching their ticket into the NCAA tournament.
Afterward, Woodson and Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey spoke, Inside The Hall had their Photo Gallery, Corazza his Minute After, Ybarra had the Five Takeaways, and Tachman a column about IU’s success on the weekend.
Banner #4 – Bracketology update
With the Hoosiers almost certainly headed to March Madness, now IU fans can start thinking about matchups and seeding. The selection show will be at 6 p.m. ET today on CBS.
The players were not afraid to mention they had ended the program’s six-year absence in the NCAA tournament. Jackson-Davis tweeted “Let’s Dance” following the game Saturday in acknowledgment of the Hoosier’s near-certain appearance in March Madness. Jordan Geronimo also posted on social media that the team had “some dancing to do” and he would be ready for next week following a minor injury suffered against Illinois that kept him out of yesterday’s game.
As for where IU might end up, Andy Bottoms had IU clear of the ‘First Four’ games in Dayton as an 11 seed against Colorado State in San Diego as of Saturday morning. One important note though is Bottoms had Virginia Tech as a team just outside the field as of yesterday and by winning the ACC tournament this pushes the Hokies into the dance and out of Dayton altogether as a conference champion. Texas A&M could be in the same boat today as they are also barely out per Bottoms, but could play their way in and bypass Dayton by winning the SEC championship versus Tennessee. These two developments could push an 11 seed like IU into Dayton to replace a team that gets knocked out of the bracket altogether.
Most projections have IU as either an 11 or 12 seed and the main question is whether they are placed in Dayton or get a bye to Thursday or Friday. As of last night, the Hoosiers were included in 133 of the 143 brackets published, and most of the ones that did not include IU were not updated before the Illinois win.
Banner #5 – AC postgames And Podcast on the Brink
With the Hoosiers run in the Big Ten tournament, Assembly Call had postgame shows after each game. On the women’s side of things, Doing The Work had its postgame show following the loss in the Big Ten Championship to Iowa, as well as the Grace Berger Show later in the week.
Podcast On The Brink had their episode last Monday that previewed the Big Ten tournament.
Banner #6 – Hoosier Roundup
Big Ten tournament success has eluded IU for years with both the men’s and women’s teams. However, like the men, the women made a long run in their conference tournament before losing in the final game to the Hawkeyes. By doing this they reversed a late-season fade and all but certainly achieved their goal of hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament in Assembly Hall for the first time. The team is so confident they will be selected as a top-four seed to do this they are already selling tickets for the anticipated matchups in Bloomington.
The selection show is tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and noted bracketologist Autumn Johnson has the Hoosiers as a three-seed hosting 14 seed UNLV. I had an article for subscribers of the Assembly Call Community breaking down IU’s stellar resume that features six quad-one wins and a NET of 15. For the first time since 2016, it should be a fun Selection Sunday for Hoosier fans of both basketball programs.
As for other IU sports:
• Softball competed at the Bluegrass Invitational.
• Men’s Tennis fell to Auburn.
• Women’s Tennis lost to Michigan.
• Men’s Golf finished seventh at their event.
• Wrestling is sending two athletes to the National Championship.
• Swimming and Diving announced their qualifiers for the NCAA Championship.
• Water Polo lost to USC.
• Track and Field competed at the Indoor national championship.
• Men’s Soccer has several former Hoosiers now competing in the pros this season.
Thanks for your continued support for The Assembly Call and Inside the Hall. We’ll be back next weekend with a new roundup.
Now go enjoy yourself a 6-banner Sunday.
Aaron (Ari) Shifron
Assembly Call Contributor