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Hoosier Basketball in the Non-Con: A Look Back

With Big Ten play opening on New Year's Eve, it's time to see how IU has done so far.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The good news: Indiana is 10-3, with all of its losses coming to teams that were ranked at some point this season (only Notre Dame was not ranked at the time it beat IU). The Hoosiers played Connecticut extremely close in Madison Square Garden, came up just a few possessions short against the Irish, survived the only other close game it played, and hung with Syracuse for a half before fading down the stretch at the Carrier Dome. In the other 9 games, the Hoosiers won comfortably. For specific players, Hanner Mosquera-Perea has certainly improved from where he was last year, and Noah Vonleh has been just about as good as advertised. Yogi seems to be stepping into the role of team leader, and Evan Gordon has shown pretty good range and flashes of greatness. The bench is young, but willing, and fresher due to spreading the minutes around a lot.

The bad news: LIU Brooklyn, they of the close game mentioned above, is 4-7 on the year. Shabazz Napier dropped 27 on the Hoosiers, including the game winner with 1:34 left, in that Connecticut game. The Hoosiers allowed Syracuse a 12-0 run in the second half to put what could have been a close game out of reach too early. IU never actually led against the Irish, despite keeping it within reach the entire game. All of that means that IU's best win on the season so far is probably either Washington on a neutral site (102-84), or Evansville at Assembly Hall (77-46). For the players, while Noah has looked spectacular at times, other outings have been marred by foul trouble. Will Sheehey is only now starting to round into good form, and Jeremy Hollowell has been frustratingly inconsistent, though still growing into his spot. Other freshman have been, well, freshman. This team is extremely young, and can't gain experience fast enough. Also, while the team has shown that it can play 10, 11, or 12 players deep, Tom Crean is still trying to figure out who he can play together and how long, and it's led to some fairly questionable sub patterns.

What it all means: It's kind of hard to say. While the Hoosiers have looked very good at home, as they often do during the non-con, they also haven't beaten anybody particularly impressive. They have been competitive in all of their games (for at least parts, anyway), and the Big Ten is not so strong from top to bottom that the Hoosiers can't get 8 wins and an NCAA bid, or possibly do even better. However, there are any number of things out there that could trip up the Hoosiers, so for now we just have to wait and hope that they don't happen to us.