By Dustin Dopirak —
The 2021 NCAA Tournament is going to be a wild bracket to put together considering the truncated schedule and the limited amount of non-conference games played in November and December, so anyone who does that sort of thing this season is engaging in a fair bit of guesswork.
That being said, the consensus is that if the bracket were released today, Indiana would just barely get a berth to the event that will be held entirely in its state with two games being played at its home gym. The Hoosiers road upset over Iowa on Thursday will be a gift that keeps on giving for their NCAA Tournament resumé, but following that with a home loss to Rutgers certainly didn’t help. The Hoosiers (9-7, 4-5 in the Big Ten) are currently ranked No. 47 in the NET rankings with a 1-5 record in Quad 1 games with that win over the No. 5 Hawkeyes being their only victory. However, they’re also 4-1 in Quad 2 games with wins over Maryland, Penn State, Stanford and Providence in the top 100. They are also 4-1 against teams in Quads 3 and 4.
Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News released his latest Bracketology on Monday with the Hoosiers listed as a No. 11 seed in the West region (the geographic names of the regions, of course, don’t so much matter this year) and set to play No. 6 seed Clemson. This would apparently make Indiana one of the last four teams to avoid a First Four game.
CBS’s Jerry Palm also has Indiana as a No. 11 seed, but in this case he has the Hoosiers having to play their way in against fellow No. 11 Utah State. The Hoosiers would not be allowed to play at home in a First Four game.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Indiana seeded No. 10 and playing Virginia Tech in what he refers to as Region 3, but Lunardi’s last update came Friday after the Iowa upset and before the Rutgers loss. He will update his brackets Tuesday morning, and Indiana will most likely fall at that point.
Shelby Mast, who does bracketology work for USA Today, has the Hoosiers as a No. 12 seed and one of the last four in and in a very interesting play-in game against North Carolina.
There’s still over a month of basketball to go and the Hoosiers have plenty of chances to help themselves, though they may not be playing again until Feb. 2. They have at least three games left against teams ranked in the top 10 of the NET (Michigan, Illinois and Iowa) and possibly four depending on the fate of the Michigan game that was scheduled for Saturday before the Wolverines went on a two-week COVID pause. Games against Ohio State, Minnesota, Purdue and Rutgers provide four more games against opponents currently ranked in the Top 50.
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