It's the morning after.
A seldom-used career 27% three-point shooter, Michigan's Kam Chatman became the latest in a long line of Big Ten Tournament Hoosier heartbreakers with his contested three with .02 remaining yesterday. But with the Hoosiers now at home in Bloomington getting much-needed rest, the attention turns to tournament seeding.
Let's take a look at where the Hoosiers sit on the day where the field will likely be finalized, save some Sunday tweaks, at the end of play today.
Indiana Hoosiers 25-7, 15-3
Big Ten Regular Season Champions
Good Wins: Notre Dame (n), Iowa, Purdue, at Iowa, Maryland
Bad Losses: Wake Forest (n), UNLV (n), at Penn State
vs. RPI Top 50: 6-3
vs. KenPom Top 50: 8-4
Overall, Indiana's profile is strong relative to other teams they're competing against for the low 3/4-seed range. They've got 5 strong wins, a strong profile overall against other tournament teams or near tournament teams, and an outright conference title. That's something few can match. Of course, the knock on Indiana is obvious. Non-conference strength of schedule and three bad losses. The question regarding Indiana for the committee will be simple: how much are you going to ignore the Maui Invitational? It was months ago and multiple flights away -- and the Hoosiers are a materially different with James Blackmon exiting and OG Anunoby entering the fray. That said, there are other teams that don't feature 3 losses to teams in the KenPom 130s available, and Indiana's best series of wins over a team that was once garnering first-place votes in the poll are fading fast with Iowa's struggles.
This morning, both prominent national prognosticators have dropped Indiana from the 3-line to the 4-line at the hands of everyone's favorite Kentucky Wildcats.
ESPN's Joe Lunardi dropped the Hoosiers what looks like a full four spots on the S-Curve from the last 3 seed to the last 4 seed, if you're following his first round site selection patterns. He's got the Hoosiers in Spokane taking on Chattanooga in the opening round, opposite the bracket from 5th seeded California. To send the Hoosiers that far out west, it means he's dropping Indiana past Duke, despite the fact they also lost to a team in Notre Dame not terribly dissimilar in profile from Michigan. He's also bumping Kentucky over Indiana for a win over 18-14 and KenPom 93rd-ranked Alabama. Jerry Palm's done the same. It's totally acceptable if you thought Kentucky had a better overall profile than Indiana prior to Friday, but changing an entire season's worth of work because of a buzzer-beating loss to a bubble team and a win over a near-500 team seems, well, reactionary.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN
So, how can the Hoosiers get back on the 3-line today and in Des Moines? Losses by Kentucky to Georgia and Purdue to Michigan would go a long way to help today. On top of that, root for LSU to knock off Texas A&M and Michigan State to hold serve against Maryland. If those four things happen, or even the first two, there's a dang good chance the Hoosiers will bump back up to the three line before the end of the night.