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Big Ten Tournament: Bracket is set and Indiana will open against Iowa on Thursday

With two wins in their last three, the Hoosiers narrowly avoid the dreaded Wednesday start, and have a manageable route to make their first conference tournament run ever.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With Nebraska falling to Michigan, the Big Ten regular season comes to a close and each team, including Indiana, is now afforded the opportunity to play until they lose. If the Hoosiers can win their next ten games, they'll be National Champions for the sixth time.

Here's the bracket:

Indiana begins the journey on Thursday evening at 6:30 PM ET against Iowa on ESPN. If they win, they'll play Wisconsin at 6:30 PM ET on BTN.

As we pointed out earlier today, this is as good of a draw as anyone with hopes of getting into the Big Dance could ask for. I'll let Alex take it from here:

Indiana's path, then, to Sunday, and to joining the bubble discussion, would include Iowa, Wisconsin, and then either Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State, or Rutger. Not the easiest path in the world. But consider this: at the height of its ineptitude this season, the 5-game losing streak bookended by sloppy wins over Penn State and Northwestern, the Hoosiers lost to both Iowa and Wisconsin on the road. They hung with the Badgers and lost by five. They took Iowa to overtime after completing collapsing down the stretch. Then, when Maryland was playing much better than they did to close the season, they took the Terps down to the wire in College Park. They have beaten Northwestern, Ohio State, and Rutger.

You're never going to feel confident in a 7-11 conference team with a history of tournament ineptitude (more on that tomorrow) but, if optimism is your bag, there is a somewhat justifiable reason for it.

It all begins Wednesday in the epicenter of Big Ten Country: Washington D.C.