The Big Ten only had one game on Wednesday night, but it was an important one for the league and its postseason hopes. Indiana went on the road to face Rutgers in a game that would unquestionably impact both of their NCAA at-large hopes.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Rutgers Scarlet Knights 74, Indiana Hoosiers 63
The Hoosiers started well in this one, but the fast start didn’t hold up as Indiana faded in the first half and had few answers for Rutgers’ defense in the second half. Trayce Jackson-Davis finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, but only two Hoosiers finished with offensive ratings above 75 as the team limped to 0.90 points per possession. Rutgers got an even approach with four players scoring double-digits en route to the win.
Rutgers now sits at 13-9 overall, 9-9 in Big Ten play, and on the verge of locking up an NCAA bid with Wednesday’s win over Indiana. Bracket Matrix now has the Scarlet Knights as an eight seed in its latest bracketology and TRank gives the team an 88.9 percent chance of making the cut. There’s always the possibility for weird things happening in March, but it does feel like Rutgers is just one win away from locking up a spot. The good news is with Nebraska next on the slate, the team seems likely to get that 14th win soon.
On the other side, Indiana fell to 12-11 overall and 7-9 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Hoosiers have now lost three of the team’s last four games, including two games that looked pretty winnable on paper.
Unsurprisingly, those losses have dealt devastating blows to Indiana’s resume and now put the Hoosiers in a position where the team likely needs to make up ground in its closing games. More simply stated, if Indiana is on the bubble at this point, it’s only barely. Bracket Matrix still has Indiana in the field (just barely) and TRank gives Indiana just a 16.5 percent chance of making the cut.
Indiana’s probably going to need to win at least three more games to feel any confidence heading into Selection Sunday. And unfortunately, that’s going to be a tall task. The Hoosiers get Michigan at home on Saturday and follow it up with road trips to Michigan State and Purdue, who both already beat Indiana in Assembly this year. If Archie Miller has some magic up his sleeve, he’s going to need to use it now.