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3/19 NIT Recap: Indiana Tops St. Francis (PA)

Recap what happened in Tuesday night’s NIT.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Indiana-Ohio State David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten’s postseason play for the 2018-’19 college basketball season officially started on Tuesday night as the Indiana Hoosiers tipped off against St. Francis (PA) in the NIT. All told, Indiana was able to grab a win to advance to the second round.

Let’s take a look at what happened.

Game of the Day:

-No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers 89, No. 8 St. Francis (PA) Red Flash 72

Coming into Tuesday night’s NIT debut for the Hoosiers, the primary question would be about the team’s mindset and motivation for the matchup. Would Indiana come in with fire and attempt to put on a show, or simply put in the motions to get to the offseason?

Early on, it looked like the latter. Romeo Langford sat out the game and the Hoosiers offered little to impress fans. The game was competitive deep into the second half. However, Indiana was able to pull away in the closing minutes and grab an 89-72 win.

For Indiana, this will put the Hoosiers into the second round of the NIT. The Hoosiers will nowface either Providence or Arkansas in the next game. The Friars are the higher seeded team, but the two look relatively close on paper. And consider Indiana lost to the Razorbacks earlier this season, fans might actually prefer Providence.

Assuming it is Providence, Indiana’s primary goal has to be slowing down Alpha Diallo and Nate Watson in the frontcourt. The two have been a dynamic duo for much of the season. Both are quality rebounders and Diallo can hit from deep as well. Undoubtedly, Indiana would need some quality play from Justin Smith and Juwan Morgan to get past the Friars.

If it’s Arkansas, Indiana has to find a way to stop Daniel Gafford. He tore Indiana apart in the first game, scoring 27 points and finishing with 12 rebounds. The Hoosiers would also be wise to focus on the boards, as Arkansas is a relatively weak rebounding team.