Indiana has the look of a NCAA Tournament bubble team with just over five weeks to go until Selection Sunday.
That means the performance of IU’s competition this season will have an impact on the Hoosiers’ chances to return to the Big Dance for the first time since 2016.
Below we take a look at how IU’s nonconference foes are doing this season. For the most part things are playing out very much like head coach Archie Miller thought they would, with the first four games serving as tune-ups, the next three being potential mid-major conference champions, and then high majors the rest of the way.
But first, here’s a quick reminder on how the NCAA’s NET quadrant system works. In the most simple terms, Quad 1 and 2 wins are looked upon favorably in the eyes of the Selection Committee, while Quad 3 and 4 losses are problematic.
Quad 1: Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75
Quad 2: Home 31-75; Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135
Quad 3: Home 76-160; Neutral 101-200; Away 136-240)
Quad 4: Home 161+; Neutral 201+; Away 241+
Western Illinois (5-16 / KenPom No. 331 / NET No. 329)
Indiana 98 Western Illinois 65
It has been a rough season for the Leathernecks. They picked up a surprising road win at Ball State but can claim just two other Division One wins thus far on the season. This is a win that will do nothing for Indiana’s resume.
Portland State (11-12 / KenPom No. 193 / NET No. 188)
Indiana 85 Portland State 74
The Vikings have improved upon their preseason expectations but remain a middle-of-the road team in the Big Sky Conference. The schedule sets up for a good finish, but short of a conference tournament title this win isn’t likely to catch the NCAA Tournament Committee’s eye.
North Alabama (10-12 / KenPom No. 260 / NET No. 279)
Indiana 91 North Alabama 65
The Lions are a respectable 5-4 thus far in the Atlantic Sun, but this is a one-bid league and Liberty seems like a lock to earn it. North Alabama is a bit better than most expected, but their best win came over KenPom No. 240 Jacksonville.
Troy (9-15 / KenPom No. 259 / NET No. 238)
Indiana 100 Troy 62
The Trojans have been a surprising thorn in the side of KenPom No. 103 Georgia State — a team that was thought to be the best in the Sun Belt. Troy beat Georgia State twice. They also knocked off first place Little Rock. But while Troy can claim some surprising wins, they have just two more league wins and don’t have the look of a team that will ultimately help IU’s cause.
Princeton (9-8 / KenPom No. 180 / NET No. 173)
Indiana 79 Princeton 54
This is an opponent that IU was hoping for more out of when they scheduled them. While the numbers don’t look great now, this is a story that is still unfolding. The Tigers have won eight of nine after a rough start and currently sit tied atop the Ivy League. That’s the good news. But Princeton’s schedule gets very difficult, and Yale looks like the clear team to beat in what is likely a one-bid league. Two meetings with Yale this month should decide the conference.
Louisiana Tech (17-5 / KenPom No. 55 / NET No. 83)
Indiana 88 Louisiana Tech 75
Archie Miller referred to this as a game that could look good on the resume down the stretch, and that seems to be playing out. The Bulldogs played Indiana very tough and they have been playing well in Conference USA where they have won four in a row. Louisiana Tech sits tied atop the league standings at 8-2. If the Bulldogs can move up to No. 75 or better in the NET this win will become a valuable “Quad 2” victory for IU.
South Dakota State (17-8 / KenPom No. 109 / NET No. 127)
Indiana 64 South Dakota State 50
The Jackrabbits have won eight of nine in the Summit League and are currently in a first place tie. A league crown and NCAA Tournament bid could help IU optically on the margins, but this doesn’t appear to be a team that can push its way to a Quad 2 win for the Hoosiers.
Florida State (19-3 / KenPom No. 20 / NET No. 14)
Indiana 80 Florida State 64
By any measure this was IU’s best nonconference win of the season and should provide a major boost to their resume in March. FSU is tied with Duke a game out of first in the ACC. The Seminoles are no slouch on the road, going 5-3 on the season thus far including a win at first place Louisville. Hoosier fans should root for their continued success down the stretch.
Connecticut (11-10, KenPom No. 77 / NET No. 92)
Indiana 57 UConn 54
The Huskies have collapsed in league play, losing seven of nine. The big story is the loss of Tyler Polley, arguably UConn’s best offensive player, to a season ending knee injury three weeks ago. The Huskies have lost five of six in his absence. IU needs UConn to stay in the top 100 in the NET for this win to remain a Quad 2 victory.
Notre Dame (14-8 / KenPom No. 58 / NET No. 59)
Indiana 62 Notre Dame 60
After struggling out of the gates in league play, Notre Dame has won three games in a row and currently sits at 5-6 in the ACC. Those games were all at home, and a three game road gauntlet of Clemson, Virginia and Duke looms. A continued surge by the Irish into the NET top 50 would give IU another highly valuable Quad 1 win.
Arkansas (16-6 / No. 34 KenPom / NET No. 37)
Arkansas 71 Indiana 64
The Razorbacks were already struggling a bit in the SEC, and this week’s news that star guard Isaiah Joe is out indefinitely after undergoing knee surgery is not helpful. Arkansas has lost four of six and sits at just 4-5 in league play. Arkansas cracking the top 30 in the NET would help this become a Quad 1 loss and thus a defeat that does little harm to the resume.
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