You'll hear plenty of talk over the next few days regarding what Indiana needs to / will do in the Big Ten Tournament. Our humble blog has already taken part, laying out seed scenarios and at-large possibilities should the Hoosiers make a run.
But let us not forget that the overwhelming chance, based on historical data, is that Indiana will lose to Iowa in some sort of bizarre fashion that would be characterized as "heartbreaking" if any of us had any heart left to have broken.
LOOK AT THESE NUMBERS:
OVERALL RECORD: 11-19
Semi-Final Appearance: 5
Semi-Final Appearances When First Game isn't in Quarterfinals: 1
Lost First Game They Played: 10
Played in Indianapolis: 10
CHRIST. And that isn't even all of it! In nineteen Big Ten Tournaments, Indiana has only beaten a team with a better seed than them three times:
2001: 4 Indiana beat 1 Illinois to advance to their only championship game appearance, where they were beaten (of course) by 6 Iowa.
2003: 6 Indiana beat 11 Penn State and 3 Michigan to advance to the semifinal, the only time they managed to do get that far without starting in the quarters.
2006: 5 Indiana beat 4 Wisconsin before losing to 1 Ohio State.
When you're failing to spring upsets that spectacularly, it helps to avoid also getting upset a bunch of times but GUESS WHAT Indiana hasn't done that either. Indiana has been bounced out of the event nine times by a team seeded worse than them. In those nine games, Indiana's average seed is 3.4 and the average seed of who beat them is 7.1!
Sure, single-elimination tournaments are zany as hell, but it's stunning that Indiana hasn't pulled this off at least by accident once or twice. Moreover, the Hoosiers exploits are too-often marred by nonsense like this:
Here's Michigan's Kam Chatman, who hit all of seven three-pointers prior to this game, traveling before hoisting the game-winner from the corner:
Here's Blake Hoffarber, pulling a victory directly out of his ass:
Ultimately, the importance of the conference tournament is greatly diminished when teams can achieve an NCAA bid without winning it. Most Indiana fans are land somewhere between "disinterested" and "openly hostile" toward the event's existence and it's hard to blame them. If you're already firmly in the field (like Indiana was last year), it might serve you better to heavily rotate guys for the games and avoid any unneeded exhaustion or injury from playing multiple straight games in a glorified exempt event. If you need some sort of deep tourney run just to make the field (like Indiana this year), you're not likely going to have a memorable weekend in the Big Dance anyway because, chances are, your team is bad.
So any time in the next 48-72 hours when you think "you know, I think Indiana has a real chance this time around!" do yourself a favor and watch those videos again, look at those records, and remember that it is all but written in stone that Nicholas Baer will fire a basketball out of his butt from half court, which will deflect off of Thomas Bryant's head and into the hoop as time expires for a walk-off victory.