IU misses NCAA Tournament for 3rd straight year

For the third consecutive season, and the seventh time since the 2008-09 campaign, Indiana will miss the NCAA Tournament.

The Hoosiers were among the first four teams left out of this year’s field, automatically making them a No. 1 seed in the National Invitation Tournament. IU will open the NIT on Tuesday, when it hosts No. 8 seed St. Francis at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

“It is an honor to earn an invitation to postseason play of any kind and our program will treat it as such,” IU coach Archie Miller said in a statement. “We look forward to the opportunity to be a No. 1 seed in the NIT and our goal is to win and take advantage of the experiences we can gain as a team.”

Despite posting six Quadrant 1 victories, along with five wins over teams included in the final field of 68, Indiana couldn’t separate the best parts of its resume from the string of rotten performances it turned in during the middle of Big Ten season. The Hoosiers lost 12 of 13 conference games during a stretch that spanned January and February, tumbling out of the Associated Press top 25 poll and putting their NCAA Tournament hopes in doubt.

A four-game winning streak, which included wins over No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 6 Michigan State, seemed to revive IU’s hopes for an at-large bid at the end of the regular season. But the Hoosiers failed to capitalize on that momentum in a must-win scenario this past week, losing to Ohio State in the first game of the Big Ten Tournament.

Ultimately, a rash of injuries, along with inefficient offensive play, doomed IU during Archie Miller’s second season as coach. After starting the season 12-2, IU will enter the NIT at 17-15.

Despite notching quality wins early and late in the season, Indiana was missing a key part of the equation — quantity of wins. Bernard Muir, the athletic director at Stanford and the selection committee chair, said the total number of losses factored into high-major teams such as Indiana, Alabama and Clemson being left out of the field.

Despite including eight Big Ten programs, the selection committee also didn’t seem especially impressed by a league ranked No. 1 nationally in adjusted efficiency by KenPom.com. Michigan State, which shared the Big Ten regular season title with Purdue and won Sunday’s conference tournament championship, settled for a No. 2 seed in the same East region as No. 1 overall seed Duke.

No. 6 Maryland and No. 10 Minnesota were also sorted in the same East Region, while Purdue grabbed a No. 3 seed in the South. There, the Boilermakers will be joined by No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 10 Iowa. Michigan picked up a No. 2 seed in the West, while the Buckeyes received a No. 11 seed in the Midwest.

At the same time, the Big Ten didn’t seem to help itself by moving to a 20-game schedule. Instead of allowing conference teams to schedule two additional buy games — and therefore positioning themselves for two extra wins — the conference spent the regular season beating up on one another with little payoff at the end.

While two more non-conference wins may have helped Indiana improve the optics of their raw regular season record, the Hoosiers have only themselves to blame for losses such as those to Nebraska, Rutgers and Northwestern inside of the league.

IU’s lengthy list of defeats now leaves the Hoosiers looking at their path in college basketball’s second-tier tournament. The winner of Tuesday’s game will play the winner between No. 5 Arkansas and No. 4 Providence on a date to be determined.

Indiana would host each of its games in the NIT until the semifinal round. The NIT semifinals and final will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York, beginning on April 2.

St. Francis, based in Loretto, Pa., lost to Fairleigh Dickinson in the Northeast Conference Tournament championship last week. The Red Flash enters the NIT with an 18-14 record, which includes a pair of victories over non-Division I programs. The best win for St. Francis, which is ranked 261st by KenPom.com, came at Fairleigh Dickinson on Feb. 14. St. Francis and Fairleigh Dickinson shared the Northeast Conference regular season title.

As has become customary, the NIT will feature a series of experimental rule changes for the 2019 event.

The 3-point line will be extended by approximately 1 foot, 8 inches to the same distance used in international competition. The free throw lane will be widened from 12 feet to 16 feet, the shot clock will reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30 seconds, team fouls will reset at the 10-minute mark of each half and one-and-one free throws will be eliminated.

Indiana will be making its sixth appearance in the NIT, having appeared in 1972, 1979, 1985, 2005 and 2017. IU won the event in 1979 and finished runner-up in 1985.

Tickets for Tuesday’s game are $20 and are available at IUHoosiers.com. All seating in the main and balcony levels will be general admission.

36 comments

  1. Very disappointing, the injuries cost this team greatly. The final straw was Rob being hurt in late December and effectively limited fully and partly for two months afterwards. Have to believe if he were at full speed in January and February at least three to four games would have gone the other way. Coupled with all the other injuries, especially to Jerome Hunter and Race Thompson, the team was fortunate to win what it did.

  2. IU is better than 10 to 15 teams in the tournament as are others. It will be the same parallel for NIT to a lesser extent. Forget about conference tournament championships and go to a format of wide open tournament. Yes everyone gets in like the Indiana high school basketball tournament use to be.

  3. With I U playing in the NIT, I would like to see Coach Miller give the young players that are returning for next season some extended minutes in these games. Treat the NIT as getting ready for next season for these players. No reflection on the senior players however, the young players need to have some playing time, I don’t see the need to worry about your NIT record this year.

  4. Hope we have a good showing in the NIT. Would be nice for our Men’s team to catch up to our women’s team success. Win the NIT and get into the Big Dance next year just like the ladies.

  5. Steve there were more than 300 teams in Indiana tournament. Travel would have to be worked out but it reasonably could be with tournament design. After first games teams are cut to half.

  6. The idea is to improve your program to earn your invite to the tournament. Not include everyone as a participation trophy.

  7. Well, what does ssah stand for?
    Typed it in four times and spell check changed it so it can’t stand for much.
    The gym will be as loud as a cemetery.

  8. T, ever been to an IU home game? Men’s team plays there and were good before the internet and cell phones were invented.

  9. Though it wasn’t typical of NIT championships, I was on campus for the last time IU won the NIT. It was a big deal and fans were dancing in the streets.

    It probably played a role that Purdue was the opponent.

  10. Been to the old field house but not ball game, rather Scout O Rama. However, I have been to ball game at Assembly Hall.

  11. 20 games is way to many conference games 18 is good enough12 teams is enough adding Rutgers and Maryland was a bad idea

  12. Yes we need to cut back on conf games and schedule more cupcakes. Getting too difficult for us to compete in this conf.

  13. We got what we deserved, an NIT home game.

    I’ve always had the hardass mindset that if you don’t make it to the final game of the NIT, you have no beef that you should’ve made the NCAA tournament. We’ll really see what this team’s made of.

    In 1985, we went to the NIT & made it to either the NIT final four or final game. Can’t recall exactly. But I do recall what happened 2 years later with many of the same nucleus of that team; Alford, Thomas, Hillman, Eyl, Sloan. We added two pieces to that puzzle (Garrett & some kid named Smart) & the rest is history.

  14. Actually, NCAA March Madness tournament is already a version of the old Indiana high school basketball tournament…. This is because all schools either qualify by winning their respective conference season championship or keep winning in there respective conference tournament championship either the title or enough games in season plus enough games in tournament to get into March Madness tournament field.

  15. Keep the 20 game conference and get rid of the stupid – we do it for the $$$ – conference tourney.

  16. Conference tournaments are just another drugged induced addiction for money. Same principles that nba and nfl uses as half the teams make playeoffs and there local markets puff out there chests with fantasy pride. Boring boring boring. Analysis of why , and what has happened , is happening, continues, , and what will happen in the future..

  17. The committee did a Tom Crean squat over the state of Indiana and defecated on it.
    Listened to Seth Greenberg last night explaining how all the “science”(RPI, power indexes, wins, losses, quad this…and quad that) is all basically meaningless. At the end of the day, each and every selection room committee member can use whatever variables (or simply an eye test) to make a decision on the ‘at large’ bids. He kept reiterating: It’s and “individual” process and there is no one given standard in making determinations/decisions on teams. In other words, a system full of politics and bias….

    As soon as the CBS Selection Show came on the air (before going through the brackets)…I knew our slim chances had gone up in smoke and we hadn’t made the field. How did I know for certain? Seth Davis had the biggest smile I’ve seen on his TV face… ever. I said to myself…Wow…I’ve never seen that many pearly whites glowing from Seth. It’s nearly blinding. We’re not in.

  18. I was listening to a podcast last night and they brought up a good point. You are going to see teams start scheduling teams in the 150-250 range at home because they won’t crush your non conference SOS while racking up big wins. That means blowouts in November and December and then sprinkle a tougher opponent hear and there.

  19. Win the NIT or lose in the first game. Who cares? The only value for playing in the NIT is for the younger guys on next year’s roster to get more game-experience as IU South stated above. I’m not saying bench Romeo or JM (if they even choose to play), but give more minutes to guys that Archie thinks may be contributors next season and see what they’ve got going against real competition with real refs. See if anyone can make more than 30% of their three-point attempts or hit more than 60% of their free throw attempts.

  20. Probably some of the best teams I’ve seen in years in the NIT. Creighton, IU, Georgetown…to name a few. Though it is the Nothing Important Tournament, I’d still play it to win it.

    Doesn’t Knight have one NIT title to his name…? Might as well get one for Archie….and believe he is the man to get us a couple more of the bigger banners. At least we know we tried(within a ever-increasing unfair system) to get to the promise land with a competent instructor of the game.

  21. Also remember that the rules for the NIT will be different than regular NCAA games this year. Will be interesting to see how quick teams adjust.

  22. The 3-point line will be extended by approximately 1 foot, 8 inches to the same distance used by FIBA for international competition (22 feet, 1.75 inches).
    • The free throw lane will be widened from 12 feet to 16 feet, consistent with the width used by the NBA.
    • The shot clock will reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30 seconds.
    • Team fouls will reset at the 10-minute mark of each half for the purpose of determining free throws and one-and-one free throws will be eliminated. Teams will shoot two bonus free throws after the fifth team foul of each 10-minute segment. Additionally, teams will be awarded two bonus free throws after the second team foul committed under two minutes remaining in each half if that foul occurs before the fifth team foul of the segment. In each overtime period, team fouls will reset, and teams will shoot two free throws beginning with the fourth team foul or the second team foul committed under two minutes remaining if that comes before the fourth team foul of the overtime period.

Comments are closed.