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Why Indiana Fans Shouldn’t Panic after Wisconsin Loss

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The Hoosiers have now lost three out of four games and now stand at 6-4 in the B1G Conference causing many on social media to start panicking. Let's hit the reset button and take a look at the bigger picture which gives a completely different view.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana entered the game last night in Madison at 6-3 in the B1G and left Madison at 6-4 after a 92-78 loss to by far the best team in the conference. This marks the third loss in four games and has caused many on social media to press the panic button as if the season was headed into a downward spiral with no hope of improvement. So let's reset the stage a bit for what has occurred and what could occur down the stretch.

First of all - this team was predicted to finish in 10th place by almost every media publication or website at the beginning of the season. With the loss last night, Indiana is tied for 6th place and only a half game back of 2ndplace. The latest bracketology on ESPN had the Hoosiers as a six seed in the NCAA Tournament and the loss last night is not going to have much effect on that as it was a virtual guaranteed loss coming in. The Hoosiers hadn't won in Madison in 13 years and last night wasn't going to be any different, especially with star freshman James Blackmon Jr sitting out with an ankle injury.

Next, let's take a look at what Indiana has been through to this point. They have played at Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, Purdue, Nebraska, and Illinois. And they are 2-4 in those games. At home? They are 4-0 against the likes of Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, and Rutgers. At the beginning of the season - would you really have predicted Indiana to be 6-4 through this stretch? I'm not sure there is any other team in the conference (outside of Wisconsin) that would have gone 6-4 in that stretch.

Finally, and most importantly, let's take a look at what Indiana has remaining:

Date

Opponent

Location

2/8

Michigan

Home

2/11

Maryland

Away

2/15

Minnesota

Home

2/19

Purdue

Home

2/22

Rutgers

Away

2/25

Northwestern

Away

3/3

Iowa

Home

3/7

Michigan State

Home

I think when most people really look at this schedule - they are going to come away feeling like Indiana has a legitimate shot to go 7-1 to close out the regular season. Playing at Maryland is going to be difficult, but the other two road games aren't tremendously scary and the Hoosiers almost always play well in front of The Assembly Hall faithful. Purdue, Iowa, and Michigan State pose a number of matchup issues and the Hoosiers have already been blitzed by two of those teams on the road, but things typically turn out differently at home and the crowd will almost certainly be charged for those three contests.

If Indiana can actually pull off a 7-1 finish, they will enter the B1G Tournament at 13-5. Given how this conference season is unfolding, there is a good chance that is going to be the #2 or #3 seed in the tournament and give the Hoosiers a chance to make a run and continue to improve its seeding for the NCAA Tournament.  Even if Indiana drops an unexpected game down the stretch and goes 12-6 - I don't think that changes the outcome much.

In summary - stop panicking Hoosier Nation. Even with three losses in four games - this team is ahead of where it needs to be in order to make the NCAA Tournament. Those once again calling for Coach Crean's head are just making themselves look silly at this point. The Hoosiers are going to the tournament this year and Brad Steven's isn't coming to Bloomington this offseason. Your energy would be better served to get behind this team and help them get a couple of those tough games at home to finish out the season.