In today’s edition of Banner Morning:
• What does the win over Penn State do for Indiana’s NCAA Tournament hopes?
Welcome Hoosier fans to today’s edition of Banner Morning — your daily rundown of IU basketball news and notes.
I’m Cameron Drummond and Indiana has taken another step toward the NCAA Tournament.
Indiana’s 68-60 home win over No. 9 Penn State on Sunday afternoon was a monumental leap for the Hoosiers’ hopes of playing meaningful postseason basketball in March.
The Hoosiers now own 5 wins over nationally ranked teams this season, which places Archie Miller’s group among the best teams in the country at knocking off ranked foes.
This fact, combined with Indiana’s ability to decently navigate a difficult Big Ten schedule and the lack of bad losses suffered during nonconference play, means Indiana is only a win or two away from unofficially punching its ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
“I think our team in general hasn’t worried, definitely has had a blind eye to ‘Hey, we played good, then we played bad.’ It hasn’t been, ‘Oh, we played bad, let’s worry about that,’” Archie Miller said Sunday after the Penn State win.
“It’s been, ‘Let’s move on to the next one, let’s see if we can’t play better.’ Which is why I think we’ve won three out of our last four.”
Indiana’s earmuffs and blinders approach toward the next game on the schedule is admirable, but taking a look at the Hoosiers’ NCAA Tournament resume, it would be hard for the selection committee to deny the quality on it.
Now ranked inside the top 40 of all college teams in KenPom, Indiana has an adjusted offense and an adjusted defense both ranked inside the top 55 in the country.
Couple that with a .500 conference record with just four Big Ten regular season games to go, and there aren’t too many holes left to poke in the resume.
A third road win in the regular season, which could come at either Purdue or Illinois next week, would all but solidify the 2019-20 season as Miller’s first to result in March Madness participation.
But something else for Hoosiers fans to take note of over the coming days are the Big Ten standings, and which day Indiana will play on to open this year’s conference tournament in Indianapolis.
Avoiding a bottom four seed in the tournament, which means not finishing between 11th and 14th in the league standings, means Indiana can skip a Wednesday night game against one of the league’s worst teams like Nebraska or Northwestern, and with it a final chance to possibly suffer a bad loss that could haunt the Hoosiers on Selection Sunday.
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We’ll be back tomorrow with a new edition of Banner Morning. Until then, keep your elbows in, your eyes on the rim, and go Hoosiers.