INDIANAPOLIS – By virtue of being a No. 3 seed in the NIT, the Indiana Hoosiers (18-15) could have hosted their first round game. They were originally supposed to host No. 6 Georgia Tech on Tuesday night (9 p.m. ET/ESPN/93.1-WIBC FM). But, it was first reported that IU couldn’t host the game due to some ongoing renovations inside Assembly Hall this week. Then, it came out that they didn’t want to host because their students were on Spring Break. For the record, Georgia Tech’s students are not.
No matter what you believe, the truth is in there somewhere. I honestly don’t think IU wants to play in front of a small crowd, which is what you’re going to get for them when you’re a program of IU’s stature playing in the consolation tournament anyways. It comes with the territory. They honestly would have been far better off declining an invite rather than playing in the NIT and declining a home game.
But, that’s where we are now, and we’re to a point where IU can honestly lose their first round game because of that decision.
Georgia Tech was 15-4 at home during the regular season. On the road? They were 2-10. IU on the other hand, was 14-4 in Assembly Hall and 2-8 in true road games away from it. On neutral courts, IU was 2-3.
Furthermore, the Yellow Jackets beat teams like North Carolina, Florida State, Notre Dame and Syracuse at home this year.
So, IU turned down a home game for the NIT where they were 14-4 at home, against an opponent that was 2-10 on the road this year. In turn, IU who was 2-8 in true road games and lost 11 of their 15 games away from Assembly Hall this year, is going to play a road game against that same team who was 2-10 on the road but 15-4 at home and among those 15 home wins were against North Carolina, Florida State, Notre Dame and Syracuse.
I’m assuming you’re as confused as I am.
IU struggles against good defensive teams and Georgia Tech is just that. They were 52nd in the nation in defensive points-per-game this year in yielding just 66.8 per contest. Wouldn’t you rather want to play at home with your own rims against a team like that?
Yes, IU is 2-0 in both games against Georgia Tech all-time, a 87-65 win in Los Angeles in 1969 and a 83-79 victory in Bloomington in 2008, but this is a different time era.
For Georgia Tech, an NIT game is a successful season for them this year, for Indiana, it’s never a good year to be in the NIT. Mix where then game is being played versus where it could have been played, and you can see why IU could very easily lose Tuesday night in Atlanta.