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Bracketology: Indiana trending toward protected seed, Chicago & Louisville regional sites

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Rising to the mid-teens in the polls and sitting atop the conference, bracket projectors are starting to view the Hoosiers as nearing a possible Top-4 protected seed.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Back in November and early December, there were obvious and fair questions to ask about whether Indiana would even make the NCAA Tournament. Now, it's more about the Hoosiers' possible path to Houston -- and whether than can stay close to home.

Let's take a look at where prognosticators have the Hoosiers slated with three games left in the regular season

THE RESUME

Indiana Hoosiers (22-6, 12-3)

Coaches/AP: 15/18

RPI: 29

KenPom Top 50 wins: Iowa, Purdue, Notre Dame (N), Creighton, Wisconsin, at Michigan

KenPom Sub-100 losses: Wake Forest, UNLV, Penn State

BRACKET MATRIX

Average seed: 5.9

In-field percentage: 100%

High/Low: 3/9

Of the 88 brackets being tracked on Bracket Matrix, every single one has the Hoosiers safely in the field of 68. In addition, no bracket that has been updated after the Saturday's win over Purdue has the Hoosiers slated for anything worse than an 8-seed. Again, even that seems like an outlier -- there's only one predictor that has the Hoosiers pinholed for an 8/9 game -- far less than have the Hoosiers slated for a regionally-protected 4-seed.

ESPN

Oh, oh boy.

Lunardi has the Hoosiers in the Louisville regional, and heading to OKC for a first round game against hot-shot in-state underdog Valparaiso. The matchups here aren't as important as the seeding and the site selection -- but a possible Indiana-Kentucky matchup for a shot at returning home to basically be the home team at the Yum! Center? Oh boy.

CBS

Jerry Palm likes the Hoosiers in the same opening round 5-12 matchup with Valpo, as well -- but in Spokane.

THE TAKEAWAY

For an Indiana team that has played so well at home, it might benefit the Hoosiers to end up in a favorable location moreso than a favorable seed. What does that mean? Ending up as a top-4 protected seed, but on the high end of a seed line. With games remaining against Maryland and Iowa and a Big Ten title on the line, there's plenty of opportunity for Indiana to jump a seed line or two higher still -- so such a spot on a 3 or 4 line isn't unreasonable.

That said, there's not a ton of locales that are close by or IU hotbeds among the first & second round sites. Save St. Louis, there aren't a ton of short-drive locations from Indiana available. The focus would be on the regional sites after the first weekend -- where Louisville & Chicago could become Hoosier strongholds.