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Indiana Hoosiers B1G Tournament Outlook

No team has more to win or lose in this week's B1G Tournament than Indiana. The Hoosiers have lost 8 of 12 games and desperately need at least one win and probably two wins to get into March Madness. Can they do it?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana enters the B1G Tournament in a very precarious position after losing 8 of their last 12 games. By most accounts - the Hoosiers need at least one victory and possibly two in order to make the NCAA Tournament. Indiana is squarely on the bubble and with likely conference tournament upsets to come, the Hoosiers are almost certainly going to fall off the bubble without one or two wins. Given how the season was going in mid-January - with the Hoosiers tied for first place in the B1G - it is hard to describe the season as anything but a disappointment thus far. The Hoosiers will have one more shot to try and save face and that will come at the B1G Tournament in Chicago this week where Indiana will enter as the #7 seed.

Assuming no upsets occur outside of the Hoosiers road to the final - they will face off against #10 Northwestern, #2 Maryland, #3 Michigan State, and #1 Wisconsin. No one expects Indiana to complete that run and win the B1G Tournament. The good news is they shouldn't have to do that. Two wins would almost certainly have Indiana dancing a week later in the NCAA Tournament and you never know what can happen once you are there - especially with Indiana's ability to shoot from deep. So how did Indiana fare against Northwestern and Maryland during the regular season?

#10 Northwestern


L 72-65 (A)

#2 Maryland


W 89-70 (H) & L 68-66 (A)

One of the most frustrating losses of the season for Hoosier fans came on the road at Northwestern. Indiana got 14 more shots, but shot only 36.5% compared to Northwestern's 51%. James Blackmon Jr. was 1-10 from the field in one of his worst games of the year.  Against Maryland at home, Indiana made 15-22 from three which tied the Hoosiers for first place in the B1G at the time. That game also represented the best environment in Assembly Hall all season and Maryland really struggled to deal with that.  In the loss at Maryland, Indiana did everything it could to win except make shots. They had 67 attempts to Maryland's 49 and Yogi Ferrell had a shot to win it as time expired but came up empty. If a couple of those extra 18 shot attempts would have fallen - the Hoosiers would already be locked into the NCAA Tournament at this point. The common denominator with the Northwestern loss was Blackmon Jr again struggling at 2-14 from the field.

One thing that is going to be key to watch in every Indiana game going forward this year is their ability to rebound the basketball. The Hoosiers did a tremendous job of this for a good portion of the season given their lack of size at every spot on the court. During this late season swoon though, they have been beaten on the boards consistently. Troy Williams, James Blackmon Jr, and Robert Johnson need to get back to crashing the boards on both ends of the court. Against a much taller Minnesota team earlier this year, the Hoosiers won the boards 35-16. If they can find a way to do that to Northwestern & Maryland - the Hoosiers should be good shape to survive and advance.

No one knows for sure what is on the line for the coaching staff and some of the players in this week's conference tournament. Rumors and speculation have been swirling around the program and message boards for weeks now. I have no idea what next year's Indiana team is going to look like, but it isn't next year yet. This Hoosier team has talent and has the ability to make a run - the question will be - can they block out all the noise and get back to performing like they were in the middle of January? If they can - all will be right in Bloomington at least for a few weeks. If they can't - well - we will just have to sit back and see what happens.