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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Breaking down IU men’s basketball’s path in the Big Ten Tournament

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In the 22 years the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament has existed, IU has a 12-22 record in tournament play. The Hoosiers have never won a title despite being crowned the regular season champions three times since the tournament started.

IU opens tournament play this time around at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night against Nebraska at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Hoosiers earned the No. 11 seed after finishing Big Ten play with a 9-11 record. It’s the fourth season in a row they’ve finished the conference season with a record below .500. 

It’ll take five wins in five days for IU to win its first conference tournament. But with roughly 10 Big Ten teams projected to make the NCAA Tournament field, there’s no heavy favorite coming in. The lone time they made it to the championship game was in 2001 under former head coach Mike Davis.

IU has already defeated Nebraska twice this season. The first victory came Dec. 13  in overtime at home by six points and the second one was Jan. 18 in Lincoln, Nebraska, by eight points. Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis is averaging 21.5 points and 14 rebounds per game against the Cornhuskers. 

Nebraska's starting guards Cam Mack and Dachon Burke were suspended indefinitely Saturday morning. The duo combined to average 36 points and 10.5 assists per game against IU. 

If IU defeats Nebraska, it’ll face No. 6 seed Penn State on Thursday night. The Hoosiers lost their first game on the road to the Nittany Lions by 15 points before winning at home by eight points.  

Penn State will enter the matchup on a three-game losing streak. The Nittany Lions have been outscored by an average of 9.3 points over that stretch. Their leading scorer, senior forward Lamar Stevens, has shot 28.1% in the three losses. Stevens has shot 37.5% and hasn't made a 3-pointer against IU this season. 

If IU can hand Penn State its fourth straight loss, No. 3 seed Maryland would be the next opponent in the quarterfinals. The Terrapins are one of only two teams the Hoosiers have lost twice to this season.

IU lost by 16 points Jan. 4 when the two teams first met. The Hoosiers were well on their way to pick up a victory Jan. 26 in Assembly Hall against the Terrapins, but they gave up a 7-0 run to end the game with a loss. It marked the beginning of a four-game losing streak that spanned over the end of January into the beginning of February.

IU hasn’t seen much success in the Big Ten Tournament, but after the loss to No. 24 Wisconsin on Saturday it can’t afford to sustain a loss to Nebraska in the opening round. The Hoosiers are on the bubble in some NCAA Tournament projections but are in 108 out of 112 brackets, according to Bracket Matrix.

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