INDIANAPOLIS- Well, it was fun while it lasted. The Indiana Hoosiers entered last night’s contest in Assembly Hall against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on the verge of making a run at being a part of the 68-team NCAA Tournament in a couple of weeks.
Indiana was the winner of two straight and three of the last four entering last night’s contest and had two wins against ranked opponents just last week.
With how well they were playing, many were talking about IU making a run at the tournament. They had what should have been an easy game on senior night with Nebraska then a road game at Michigan who they already beat this year in the season finale on Saturday.
Most were looking past Nebraska and focusing on what they needed to do to actually make the big dance.
That’s irrelevant now.
Indiana is done. They’ve hit rock bottom.
You want to talk about the NCAA Tournament?
Those hopes are buried and housed away sealed in tightly with all the bricks that Indiana shot last night. How does a team with all that talent and a program with all that history lose to Nebraska, Penn State, and Northwestern at home this season?
For that reason and that reason only, Indiana is NIT bound unless they win next weekend’s Big 10 Tournament in Indianapolis.
The Hoosiers have no one else to blame but soft players. Tom Crean has been the scape goat for Indiana’s struggles all year, but last night was on the players and lack of leadership.
A team with any pulse and any kind of effort would have beaten a mediocre Cornhuskers team on Senior night in Bloomington easily.
If you would have told me Nebraska’s best player and only decent player on their entire roster would have 13 points on 3-for-10 shooting and battled foul trouble all game, I would have told you Indiana would have won by double-digits.
Instead, Nebraska (18-11, 10-7) was the one winning by that margin as they beat Indiana (17-13, 7-10) 70-60 on Wednesday night.
Where were Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey?
Those two are the pulse that keeps Indiana going and those two flat out stunk up the place.
Ferrell shot a dismal 4-for-14 from the field and a horrid 1-for-10 from behind the arc last night. That’s not the type of performance you want out of your best player with the season on the line.
Sheehey was equally as bad. It was his senior night. How does someone miss so many wide open shots on his going away party? This is the same player who was the Big 10 player of the week last week.
His stat line read – 5-for-14 from the field and 2-for-7 from three point land.
In a game with so much on the line, a team needs leadership. They need guys that will put the ball in the bucket at no cost. Nebraska’s defense was actually pretty bad last night as Indiana got open look after open look. They just didn’t make shots.
In a game like that, leaders find a way even with shots not falling to get the ball in the basket.
IU had nothing.
When your leaders combine to shoot 9-for-28 from the field and 3-for-17 from behind the arc, there’s a problem.
That’s why Indiana takes two giant leaps forward but 1,000,000 steps back. There’s no heart and soul on this team. It finally hit the bottom last night as Indiana barring a miracle is lifeless and heading to the NIT one year removed from winning the conference title outright and playing as a 1 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report covering Racing. He’s covered both IndyCar and NASCAR action since 2009 and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by both the IndyCar Series and all three divisions of NASCAR racing.
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