Coming into this season, expectations were sky high for the Indiana Hoosiers. The team brought back a number of contributors from last year’s squad and also added one of the league’s best recruiting classes. With Romeo Langford on the roster, it looked like Indiana could achieve some major things this season.
Unfortunately, that didn’t end up happening. Indiana collapsed down the stretch and now finds itself in the NIT. But even if the team can’t achieve its broader goals, can the Hoosiers do some damage in the NIT? Let’s take a look at Indiana’s first round matchup.
-No. 8 St. Francis (PA) Red Flash at No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers
- Time/TV: 7:00PM ET/ESPN
- KenPom Spread: Indiana (-20)
Predicting the NIT is generally a pretty difficult task. Not only do you have the challenge of predicting postseason play, but motivation is a key component in the NIT. How hard will teams play to advance and who comes in with the legitimate desire to advance. For Indiana, this will be the major question on Tuesday night.
On paper, this is a complete mismatch. The Hoosiers barely missed the NCAA Tournament and easily could have made it with just another win or two. Meanwhile, St. Francis (PA) finished the regular season at 261st nationally on KenPom. The team got blown out in virtually every game it played against a quality opponent and never showed any real signs of playing at a high level.
Keith Braxton and Jamaal King are the players to watch for St. Francis (PA). Braxton is a really solid player on the boards and King leads the team’s offense. Indiana’s size and defense should be able to slow these two down pretty well.
All told, Indiana should win this game. Even if the Hoosiers show up with marginal effort, they should be able to get to the next round. Things will get from more interesting starting then in Bloomington.
- Pick Against The Spread: Indiana