NCAA Football

March 14, 2019, 8:59 pm

Buzzer breakdown: IU rally falls short as Hoosiers likely play their off NCAA tournament bubble

The No. 9 seed Hoosiers started poorly, and couldn’t retrieve in time to keep their at-large NCAA tourney hopes alive.

Buzzer breakdown: IU rally falls short as Hoosiers likely play their off NCAA tournament bubble
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CHICAGO – A late mass meeting came too late and aft Ohio State was too far gone, as Indiana fell 79-75 in the 2nd circular of the Big Ten tourney Thursday.

The No. 9 seed Hoosiers started poorly, and couldn’t retrieve in time to keep their at-large NCAA tourney hopes alive. Barring an improbable turn of events, IU appears oriented for its 2nd NIT visual aspect in 3 years.

Here are 3 reasons why:

Hoosiers bombastic to start

Indiana’s full archetypal half was sluggish, scrawny and sometimes honest ugly.

IU shot just 9-of-30 from the tract in the beginning 20 points, lacking 11 of its 15 3-pointers and troubled to move No. 8-seeded Ohio State out of its antiaircraft game plan of packing the paint and making the Hoosiers get their offense somewhere else.

Absent an early 3-pointer, Romeo Langford struggled to assert himself. Kaleb Wesson locked down the paint and kept Juwan Morgan and Justin Smith from finding any rhythm. Indiana’s 10 archetypal-half turnovers only made its problems worse.

It was a archetypal half as poor as the Hoosiers have turned in all month. Only Devonte Green’s 11 bench points kept IU afloat into halftime. Little else went right.

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Starters slump

At one point in the 2nd half, aft another Green 3, he had as many points (14) as all of Indiana’s starting five combined.

That was the result of a number of things.

First, commendable defense from Ohio State, which stuck to its game plan and never gave the Hoosiers anything easy. Second, IU continued to hoist 3s that wouldn’t fall. The Hoosiers finished 11-of-27 from behind the arc. And finally, Indiana never tightened up with the ball. Seventeen turnovers led to 24 Ohio State points.

No adjustment changed the course. Nothing broke the Hoosiers out of their slump. And other than brief bursts of effort from Juwan Morgan, nobody in that starting five ever looked like asserting himself on the game. Then he sat most of the game's last seven minutes.

Ohio State big man Kaleb Wesson returned from a 3-game suspension hungry and angry, and looked like it en route to a 17-point, 13-rebound double-double. Indiana came to Chicago needing, in all likelihood, just one win to secure an at-large NCAA tourney berth, and collapsed. There was little question who was more engaged and interested in making the most of Thursday.

Hoosiers off the bubble?

This game was almost surely their chance, and they spent it poorly.

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Indiana looked sluggish, blunt and out of sorts from the beginning of the game. Reminiscent of this team’s worst performances this winter, the Hoosiers couldn’t self-correct. Poor decisions, coupled with bad execution, dug their hole deeper and deeper. Ohio State was only too happy to allow the Hoosiers to keep digging.

A late, late fight-back came too late, and while it might have energized the IU-partisan crowd inside the United Center, it wasn’t enough.

Urgency has been the buzzword of this season, primarily because Indiana’s has so often lacked it, not understood how to generate and not been able to ride it. One more time Thursday, it was so again.

Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.

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