Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Indiana to the Final Four.......of the Big Ten Tournanment
You all might think I'm crazy, but I think Indiana has a realistic shot of making it to the Final Four of the Big Ten Tournament this weekend. While I was looking at the bracket trying to find the start time of the game tomorrow (Listed as 25 min after game 1, so roughly 5 pm ET on ESPN2) I started looking at the Hoosiers match ups.
The Hoosiers first game is a rematch of Saturday's game against the Northwestern Wildcats. The Hoosiers won that game in overtime despite giving up a sizeable lead over the last 4 minutes of the game. The Hoosiers were in control for most of the game thanks to Hulls' three point shooting, but made some inexperienced mistakes to allow the Wildcats to stay in the game. If The Hoosiers clean up these mistake and ride the emotion of the quasi-home crowd in Indanapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse they should be able to win this game.
If the Hoosiers do succeed in beating the cardiac cats, they're second round opponent will be none other then in-state rival Purdue (6:30 ET on BTN). I know what your thinking, isn't this the same Purdue team that handed the Hoosier's a 74-55 the game before Northwestern? Yes, this is the same team, but I still feel like the Hoosiers can win. During their last meeting, it was Purdue's Senior Day and their last home game of the year. They came into the game with more emotion then the Hoosiers and it showed. This match-up will take place in a neutral court (both teams should be equally represented in Indy). Indiana played Purdue close in their game in Bloomington and had a chance to win it on a prayer from VJIII that was not answered. If the Hoosiers play like they did in Bloomington, they could beat the Hummeless Boliermakers.
If the Hoosiers win that, who would they play next? Most likely Michigan State. I'm not even crazy enough to predict the Hoosiers in the title game.
If the Hoosiers do get one or two wins in the Big Ten Tournament, it would be a great jumping off point for next season. The Hoosiers need a successful season next year or Hoosier fans might stop being patient with Crean. This season has had it's ups (Beating Pittsburgh in Madison Square Garden) and downs (losing to Iowa twice) but the team has shown a lot of promise. They played a lot of close games but couldn't win them. When the game was on the line last Saturday against the Wildcats, there was 4 freshmen and 1 sophomore on the court. Yes the team is young (led the nation in % of minutes played be freshmen) and inexperienced, but if they can grow on this season, the future could look brighter in Bloomington.