Tomorrow's game could be a Big Ten tournament preview for the Hoosiers.
In the first round, the sixth seed plays the 11th seed.
Penn State is tied with Wisconsin for sixth place in the Big Ten standings. IU is in last place, three games behind Iowa and the Hoosiers' recent play, as well as it's remaining schedule, doesn't inspire too much hope for moving out of the basement.
The Hoosiers played a marginally good game against Penn State in Bloomington, losing by 10. The tournament will be played in Indianapolis, which should be a home game.
The 11 seed is 3-11 all-time in the tournament, but it has advanced to the tournament final before. In 1999, Illinois finished last and made it to the final, where the team lost to Michigan State. Last year, as the 10 seed, Illinois reached the final again, losing to Wisconsin.
If the Hoosiers advance, they would play the No. 3 seed, which today is Purdue. It would be a rivalry game and after the embarrassing loss in the regular season, the Hoosiers may be due for a change.
In the semi-finals, the No. 2, 7 or 10 seeds would be waiting. In order, they are Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa. The Hoosiers already beat Iowa this year and played well against Illinois and Minnesota. That's potentially three wins in three days.
In the final, No. 1 seed Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan or Northwestern. This game presents much more of a challenge. The favorite, Michigan State, will not take the Hoosiers lightly and plays all facets of the game better than IU.
This is really an unlikely scenario. IU has won only one game since Dec. 10. And in many of them they appeared over-matched. But suppose it could happen. Can you imagine the scene at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 15 if IU, a team that couldn't win 10 games in the regular season, was playing for a berth in the NCAA tournament?