clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


Indiana's season is on the brink this weekend. At stake for the fourth-ranked Hoosiers is the Big Ten title and a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

"You play for this," coach Bob Knight said. "That's what the season is all about."Indiana's regular-season ends Sunday at intrastate rival Purdue. The Boilermakers (15-14, 7-10) are harboring slim NCAA hopes of their own and would relish an upset of Indiana on national television.

The Hoosiers (23-5) gave Gene Keady his worst defeat as Purdue coach with a 106-65 victory in Bloomington earlier this season.

"It's a game we need . . . to get rolling in the (NCAA) tournament," senior Eric Anderson said. "We're hungry for another one and we know what it takes to get it done."

A year ago, Michigan State was touted as the Big Ten's top team, but Indiana went the farthest, losing to Kansas 83-65 in the NCAA regional semifinal. Ohio State and Indiana shared the Big Ten title.

"We snuck in a little bit last year," Knight said. "To come back with everything focused on Indiana this year, to be able to get to the point where they are, speaks very well of what these players have been able to do."

Indiana regained a share of the Big Ten lead with a 66-41 victory over Wisconsin Thursday night. The Hoosiers and No. 5 Ohio State are tied for first place at 14-3.

Ohio State can increase the pressure on Indiana with a victory at Minnesota today. If both teams win, the Hoosiers would claim their third Big Ten title in four years because they beat the Buckeyes twice this season. If Ohio State wins and Indiana loses, the Buckeyes win the Big Ten.

Indiana can win the title outright with a victory at Purdue and an Ohio State loss. That would give Knight his 11th Big Ten title in 22 years, tying him with Purdue's Ward "Piggy" Lambert for most in conference history.

Whether Indiana rejoices in any March Madness likely depends on everyone hitting at once.

"If you don't have everybody playing well, you're not going to go anywhere. There'll be one or two teams maybe that you can beat and then it's all over with," Knight said.

"I don't think there are 64 good teams, but once you get to where there are 32 teams left and you're going to play somebody, everybody has got to be playing well."