Is Indiana Going to Be in March Madness Based on Joe Lunardi's Latest NCAA Tournament Projections?

The Indiana Hoosiers are teetering on the March Madness bubble and have a must-win game against Rutgers this week.
The Indiana Hoosiers are teetering on the March Madness bubble and have a must-win game against Rutgers this week. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

We are just a couple of weeks out from Selection Sunday and that means that this is the last chance for so-called “bubble teams” to make their mark on the selection committee. Even teams who are on the right side of the bubble are not safe until we know where all the chips fall after the seeding is announced. 

In what has become an annual tradition in college basketball, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi tweeted out his projections for the NCAA tournament field after Saturday’s games concluded. He added a section for his predicted last four that include Memphis, Indiana, Rutgers and Loyola Chicago. 

One of those teams, the Indiana Hoosiers, is of particular interest to me as are their chances to make it into the NCAA tournament as one of the last four additions to the championship tournament. For reference, at WynnBET Sportsbook, the Hoosiers are currently +10000 to go all the way. 

The Hoosiers almost punched their ticket by beating Ohio State outright recently but surrounded a first-quarter lead and eventually lost by 11. But the team followed that loss up by winning back-to-back games against Maryland and Minnesota.  The third-leading scorer Xavier Johnson stepped up against the Golden Gophers and dropped 24 points on 43 percent shooting. Meanwhile, there are two other players on the Hoosiers, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson, who are averaging double-digit points along with Johnson. 

It's worth noting that Indiana did beat Ohio State earlier in the year 67-51 and also has wins over No. 4 Purdue and Penn State. However, there are a lot of red flags with this team too.

They are just 3-7 away from home and 5-10 against teams with NET rankings that fall within the top two quadrants. The Hoosiers also have a losing record when playing teams in the top three quadrants. Their loss to Ohio State was just another example of them failing to close out games against Quad 1 teams. A win there would have gone a long way to getting them a berth in the tournament. 

Their remaining schedule for the regular season features two games that couldn't be more different. First up is the Rutgers Scarlet Knights which is a very winnable game. Especially with Rutgers on the road as they have become a dangerous team at home. But, they end the year against a Purdue team that is currently ranked ninth and out for revenge against the Hoosiers.

While it’s impossible to predict fully, the Hoosiers have a real shot to make the tournament if they are able to beat Rutgers and at least hang tough with Purdue. Another upset win would be unexpected, but stranger things have happened to end a regular season.