It’s Selection Sunday, and Indiana is probably headed to the NIT.
What this blog post presupposes is, what if they still have a chance?
When Indiana lost on Thursday, 79-75, to Ohio State, it was pretty much common knowledge that this would be an NCAA Tournament play-in game and the loser would be below the cut line. The Buckeyes are pretty much safely in at this point. But somehow, despite a ton of Bid Thieves (including Oregon late last night), Indiana remains a part of the picture, mainly because of its six shiny Quadrant 1 victories.
Nope.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) March 16, 2019
Still think the most likely candidate for "barely-.500 team gets in and makes everyone furious" is Indiana. Committee will be mighty tempted by those six Q1 wins. https://t.co/FNAyEHqrSx
This is the first year that the NCAA Selection Committee is using the NET rankings to evaluate teams instead of the much-maligned RPI that dominated the judgments in past years. As a result, it’s impossible to predict what the committee will do, even more so than in previous years. Only a few brackets have IU in the field right now, and the Hoosiers are in the First Four Out line on Bracket Matrix. But if the NET rankings become a key component of who gets a bid, the Hoosiers (53rd in NET) could vault over teams such as Arizona State (63rd) and St. John’s (72nd).
Then there are those six shiny Q1 wins. Of any team outside the NET top 30, only Seton Hall, with 7, has more than Indiana’s six. Seton Hall likely played itself off the bubble this week with a strong Big East Tourney. So this would give IU a heads up on other bubble teams that it ranks similarly in metrics to, such as Creighton (3-10 vs. Q1 teams), TCU (3-9), N.C. State (3-9), Clemson (1-10), and Temple (2-6). Also, there’s the question of mid-majors, such as Belmont, UNC-Greensboro, and chatty Twitter account Lipscomb, all of whom have solid resumes and could get a look. The committee has fairly been criticized in the past for leaving out mid-majors; would they want to rectify that this year?
And then finally, there are the intangibles that aren’t part of any team sheet but could play a role into the committee’s thinking. In years past, the committee has thrived on creating potential matchups that would bring huge ratings and crowds to venues (see: Indiana and UK in the same pod in 2016, and KU and Wichita in 2015). Archie Miller, of course, once coached at Dayton, where the First Four is held. Would the Committee want to bring a good story back to Dayton on Tuesday or Wednesday? Would they want a national spotlight for a player like Romeo Langford? These aren’t necessarily fair assumptions, but you never know what the committee will be thinking about in their sequestered Indianapolis conference rooms.
If Indiana makes it in, it would be great content. A lot of people would be mad about the Hoosiers and mad at the Selection Committee, and we’ll just get to sit back and laugh at it all. This blog feasts on those moments.
Personally, I don’t think the Hoosiers did enough to deserve an at-large bid this season. The final loss to OSU was especially a nail in the coffin, and despite the six Q1 wins, one also can’t look past the devastating Q2 losses to teams like Northwestern and Rutger. But if not...
See you in Dayton fam.— Alex Bozich (@insidethehall) March 16, 2019