Why My Team Didn’t Win the Championship: Indiana Hoosiers

 

After another NCAA Men’s Basketball season, the Villanova Wildcats were crowned champions. As for every other team, the season ended in a failure. At the start of every season, every team aspires to become national champs. Here we will look at why the Indiana Hoosiers failed to come out on top.

Under Seeding

In every tournament, there is a tremendous importance on seeding. Where a team is ranked could make the difference between losing in the first round or making a deep run. When Indiana was seeded five in the East, a tough path to the championship was laid in front of them.  They had to play Chattanooga, followed by their historic rival of Kentucky, then they had to face the one seed UNC.

Why did they have this seed? They won the Big 10 outright by winning one of the best conferences in college basketball.  One would expect the outright champs of the Big 10 to have a higher seeding, but they lost early in the Big 10 tournament to a Michigan team whom they beat 80-67 earlier in the season.

The twelve-five game in the NCAA tournament is known to be a common game for upsets. This year, half of the five seeds were eliminated by the twelve seeds. As far as the tournament no team should be over looked, or underestimated. They made it into the tournament for a reason. Chattanooga plays at a fast pace trying to score early and often. The Chattanooga Mocs score an average of 76 points per game, enough to beat most teams. Indiana failed to put up at least 76 points nine times earlier this season. However, Chattanooga’s quick push was no match for IU.

When the tournament bracket was released the entire country looked at the possible second round matchup between Indiana and Kentucky. This was a revival of an old school rivalry. Kentucky has Tyler Ulis one of the best pure point guards in the country and proved to be tough to stop. With 27 points the rest of Kentucky wasn’t able to put up enough points to beat Indiana.

In the sweet 16, Indiana faced off against the one seed North Carolina. Not only were they the top seeded team in the east but they breezed through the tournament to this point. The Sweet 16 re-rankings touted this game as the best in the round because both IU and UNC were ranked in the top 6 of many of the rankings.  Going into this game Indiana knew who their guy was, Marcus Paige.  Paige was there most talented player but Indiana seemingly didn’t get the memo. Of UNC’s first 14 points Paige scored 12 of them. Indiana made mid-game adjustments and held Paige to 9 points for the remainder of the game, but it wasn’t enough.

North Carolina played a game to remember. The way they played against Indiana they were unbeatable. North Carolina was a terrible three point shooting team over the course of the year. Yet, against Indiana the hoop seemed bigger to them and they shot 55% from beyond the three point line.  Indiana simply couldn’t compete, but neither would most teams. At no point did Indiana have the lead, and they were playing catchup for the entire night. Indiana’s best defensive guard Robert Johnson did not play in this game because of a very serious ankle injury that he suffered in the first half of the Kentucky game. He would have been responsible for guarding Paige and may have been able to slow Paige down in the first half if he was not injured.

Indiana was given a tough seeding to march its way through the tournament. If they would have been matched up with Virginia, Syracuse, Notre Dame, or Wisconsin the Hoosiers would have likely fared much better even without Robert Johnson playing. Indiana had a tough seeding to begin with and then subsequently ran into the hottest team in the tournament. The Hoosiers need to play better down the stretch and in the Big-10 tournament in order to get a better seed in the NCAA tournament and be more successful.

Justin Mirro

Indiana University

Class of 2020

Leave a Reply