Indiana Daily Student

Did IU get a favorable schedule?

Saturday marks the culmination of the Big Ten season. And, as of now, it’s looking like IU will most likely snatch third place in conference with a 10-6 mark.\nNow, was this because IU was, in fact, the third best team in conference? Or was it simply because the Hoosiers didn’t have to play Big Ten powers Ohio State and Wisconsin more than once each?\nLet’s examine this, shall we?\nIllinois, Iowa and Purdue will likely finish right behind IU at 9-7 on the season. Iowa played Wisconsin twice and Ohio State once. They lost all three games. \nPurdue had the Buckeyes twice and the Badgers once. They lost all three as well. \nIllinois had Ohio State and Wisconsin once each at home and lost both.\nIU, as we know, had Ohio State on the road and Wisconsin at home, splitting the series.\nNow, say, if IU had Wisconsin on the road as well and one fewer home game this year, it’s likely IU finishes 9-7 on the year, and we get into a whole mess of tiebreakers. \nAnd what if Ohio State came into Assembly Hall to play this year? Would IU have been able to topple both the Buckeyes and the Badgers? Would they have finished 8-8 on the year and finished smack in the middle of the Big Ten standings?\nMaybe, maybe not.\nI know scheduling for the most part is cyclical. IU, due to previous seasons, was set to only play Ohio State and Wisconsin once each this season. And the Hoosiers did a good job of defending home court this year, especially against Wisconsin. That has led them to where they are.\nKelvin Sampson has said the last few weeks that, after Ohio State and Wisconsin, the remaining five or so teams after them in the conference are pretty darn equal.\nThanks to some favorable scheduling and playing Wisconsin at the right time, the Hoosiers are most likely going to stick their heads just above those middle teams. \nAnd hey, I know this column is a bunch of hypothetical malarkey, but I still think it’s worth exploring.\nBut back to my question at the beginning of this thing. Is IU the third best team in this conference? It’s debatable. I think if this team plays at its very best, then yes, it’s better than a Purdue or a Michigan State.\nThe Big Ten tournament in Chicago will be a good indicator of what this team can do in the NCAA tournament, and just how good they are in regards to their conference counterparts. \nAt home, they’ve ruled. At opponents’ arenas, they haven’t. But what can they do at a neutral site? We have to go all the way back to the beginning of the season to get an indicator of that, when they played in Indianapolis at the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament. Even still, this is a much different team than what it was in November, so I don’t know if that’s a fair set of games to judge them by.\nIn any event, after this team has come under such constant scrutiny from media and fans alike the last few years, the way its schedule and season have played out thus far, it’s exactly what it and its first-year coach deserve.

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