At some point, strength of schedule and the long coattails of the Big Ten cease to be enough to carry a team without enough wins to an NCAA Tournament berth, and if the experts are to be believed, Indiana has hit that point.
It’s odd, perhaps, that the Hoosiers’ least surprising loss of the season appears to the the one that has pushed them over the edge. But it’s more the combination of Saturday’s loss to No. 3 Michigan along with collapses against Rutgers last Wednesday and at home against Michigan State the previous Saturday that have driven the Hoosiers from safely in as a No. 10 seed after their Feb. 17 win over Minnesota to out of the bracket according to many of the media members who produce brackets.
The Hoosiers are now 12-12 overall and 7-10 in the Big Ten, meaning they are certain to finish with a losing conference record. They are currently ranked No. 57 in the NET rankings with a 3-9 record in Quadrant 1 games and two Quadrant 3 losses. The Hoosiers have two road games left against Michigan State on Tuesday and Purdue on Saturday. The Purdue game is in Quadrant 1 with the Boilers ranked No. 21 in the NET and the game against the Spartans, ranked No. 77, could become one. However, they apparently can’t skate in by losing.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports doesn’t even have the Hoosiers as one of the First Four Out, but apparently they’re one of the next four out after that. Saint Louis, Duke, Seton Hall and Stanford are the teams still out but apparently also ahead of the Hoosiers.
Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News, who does bracketology work for Fox Sports, also has the Hoosiers as one of the Next Four Out. The others are St. Louis, Richmond and Minnesota. The teams above them in that case are Stanford, Duke, Wichita State and Utah State. This is his actual bracket, otherwise loaded with Big Ten teams.
Joe Lunardi, despite Indiana coach Archie Miller’s rant last year that compared him to Oscar the Grouch, has been forgiving to the Hoosiers this season and he still has them as one of the first four out according to this post on his Twitter account, but he has not fully updated his bracket on the ESPN website yet. The last bracket still has the Hoosiers as one of the last four in, but that came before the Michigan game.
Shelby Mast, who does bracket work for USA Today, also has the Hoosiers as one of his next four out, along with Syracuse, Memphis and Stanford. His first four out are Duke, Michigan State, St. John’s and SMU.
According to BracketMatrix.com, an aggregation of 100 brackets, the Hoosiers equate to one of the last four out. They appear in 35 of those 100 brackets with an average seeding of 11.54. That gives them the second-highest average seed of teams not currently included in the field behind Georgia Tech, which appears in 53 brackets with an average seeding of 11.42.
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