When Romeo Langford signed with Indiana, fans were already hanging a sixth banner in their heads. After a 12-2 start, the excitement was back in Bloomington. And with in-state rival, Purdue, getting off to a slow start, the Hoosiers were on cloud nine. Roles would be reversed, and IU was one of the first four teams to miss the tournament.
Then out of nowhere the season took a turn for the worst. After a tough loss to then #2 Michigan, the Hoosiers proceeded to lose six more games in a row with losses coming to Maryland, Nebraska, Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan again, and Rutgers. IU was suddenly 12-9 on the season and their tournament chances weren’t looking very good as their schedule was only going to get harder.
Case for the Hoosiers
The Big Ten was arguably the hardest conference in the country this year. The Hoosiers did sweep the conference regular and tournament champions in Michigan State. They also picked up quality wins against Wisconsin and a red hot Fighting Illini squad. With two more great wins against Louisville and Marquette, the Hoosiers were sitting uncomfortably on the bubble.
Ultimately, IU was left out of the field of 68 and put on the “First Four Out” line. Their 17-15 record didn’t give them a lot of appeal to many fans or the committee. Their overall NET ranking was higher than three of the four teams that got in ahead of them and I’d say their quality wins are comparable if not better than all four. Did the Hoosiers get snubbed or did the committee get this one right? The Hoosiers have now missed the tournament in six of the last 10 seasons, and with Romeo Langford likely declaring for the NBA Draft, next year doesn’t look that promising.
Maybe fans will get to hang their sixth banner after all. The Hoosiers will be a one seed competing for an NIT championship this year.