Here are some links to get the week started on this Monday morning of lousy Smarch weather in the Hoosier state:
- Postgame recaps of yesterday's huge win from the losing side, courtesy of OSU blogs Land Grant Holy Land and 11 Warriors. What's wrong with the Buckeyes? The 11W commenters seem split on who to blame - Craft or Matta.
- Will Sheehey shot chart against Iowa and Ohio State, courtesy of UMhoops.com.
- The always excellent Brian Phillips writes about the paradox of college athletics for Grantland, centering his story around Noah Vonleh. The story was published before we won without Vonleh yesterday, but this quote rings true: "To do what’s best for Vonleh, Crean has to urge him to go. To do what’s best for himself, Crean has to keep his most talented big man at all costs. So the cynical outcome involves college basketball keeping one of its most innocent players for another season. The innocent outcome involves college basketball losing that player to a whole lot of NBA money."
- Inside the Hall does a Q&A with IU legend and Bloomington native Jared Jeffries, who returned yesterday to be the honorary IU captain before the OSU game. He talks about his NBA career and hunting with Brad Miller.
- IU Men's Swimming placed second in the B1G Championships over the weekend, falling only to host Michigan. Senior Eric Ress set a school record in the 200 meter backstroke, while senior Cody Miller won the 200 breaststroke, and senior Conor Murphy placed first in platform diving.
- SI.com features the IU win over the Buckeyes as part of its Bubble Watch column.
Which brings me to the question: Can this team, throughout all of its struggles, actually make the NCAA Tournament? What once seemed out of the question (especially after Penn State and Purdue) is still a possibility, and the Hoosiers can help themselves toward this goal this week. Obviously, the only sure way to get a berth would be to win the Big Ten tournament, which would involve winning four games in four days. This team has gone 3-1 over the course of a tough nine-day stretch, but winning that many games in that few days is tough for any team (Unless you have Kemba Walker).
Beating Nebraska on Senior Night would be an excellent way to close out the home schedule, and put us closer to a berth. But I think what would help us even more is a victory over Michigan on Saturday night. The Hoosiers haven't gotten a marquee road win all season, so I'd love to see that happen at the site of our B1G-clinching victory from last season. We should all hope that the Wolverines beat Illinois in the Urbana-Champaign UFO tomorrow night, so that Michigan has already clinched an outright B1G regular season title by the time they play us. Winning both games would put us at .500 in what has been a wild season in the nation's best basketball conference, and give us a 50/50 or better chance at making the Dance.
Personally I think it comes down to this: Beat Michigan (or both teams) this week, and we need one B1G tournament win to feel decent about our tourney chances. Beat only Nebraska, and we need at least two conference tourney wins to feel better about our situation. Lose to both? Well, we better have a B1G title run in us. And if we somehow did that, would Coach Crean raise a banner and cut down the nets? You know the answer to that one.