Another important week for Indiana’s NCAA Tournament resume is on tap.
Home games against Purdue and Michigan represent opportunities for the Hoosiers to earn wins when they need them most. Indiana standing in the RPI — No. 74 — is concerning with a month’s worth of regular season games left to play.
This week could provide a boost.
The No. 16 Boilermakers are firmly in the tournament picture, while the Wolverines are on the bubble. The Hoosiers have already lost four of their five Big Ten road games, with four of their final seven contests overall scheduled away from Assembly Hall.
At this point, given IU’s road troubles, Indiana’s margin for error in Bloomington is dangerously thin.
KenPom.com projects a 3-4 record down the stretch, including wins against Michigan, Northwestern and at Iowa. Forecasted losses included Thursday against Purdue (39 percent chance of victory), next week at Minnesota, at Purdue and at Ohio State.
That would put the Hoosiers at 18-13 overall, 8-10 in the Big ten, potentially 5-7 in their final 12 and without a RPI top 50 road win in the conference. According to KenPom.com, IU’s non-conference strength of schedule is ranked No. 309.
Even with a weak bubble, this is not good news for Indiana. There is, of course, a month with which to work.
Here’s how Indiana stands in some of the latest bracketology projections:
— At Assembly Call, Andy Bottoms has Indiana as a No. 10 seed facing No. 7 Xavier in Orlando.
— At CBS Sports, Jerry Palm has Indiana as a No. 11 seed facing No. 6 Notre Dame in Salt Lake City.
— At USA Today, Shelby Mast has IU as as No. 11 seed facing No. 6 Saint Mary’s in Salt Lake City.
— At ESPN, Joe Lunardi has Indiana as one of the last four teams in the field. Lunardi puts the No. 11 Hoosiers in a Dayton play-in game, where they’d face No. 11 Clemson.
— At SB Nation, Chris Dobbertean also has Indiana in a play-game. Dobbertean has the No. 11 Hoosiers facing No. 11 Seton Hall.