The Indiana basketball team takes on Purdue on Saturday in a game that is a must-win for the Hoosiers.
Indiana is at a spot in its season where it is starting to feel like deja-vu. The Hoosiers have played very well at times this year, have a great resume for a tournament bid, but yet they are starting to lose a few games in a row and need to turn it around. Stop me if you have heard this before.
It was just last season that the Hoosiers were in about the exact same situation when they proceeded to lose 12-of-13 games and effectively blew their chance at making the tournament. It happened earlier in the season then this little stretch, but it still has to have fans thinking, ‘here we go again.’
It wasn’t that long ago when the Hoosiers had a big win against Michigan State and looked like they had a golden opportunity to make a run at the top of the Big Ten. But then they blew a late lead in their loss to Maryland, had a horrible second half against Penn State, and then played a dud of a game at Ohio State. Three straight losses later and the Hoosiers faithful are getting a bit uneasy.
That leads us to the upcoming home game against Purdue. It’s a game both teams desperately need to win. The Boilermakers are still looking to get their first quality road win of the year. The Hoosiers are looking to bounce back from their first Big Ten home loss when they dropped that heartbreaker to Maryland two weeks ago.
It turns into a must-win game for the Hoosiers. They need this game more than the Boilermakers do and they need to come out and prove it. A loss in this game could signal the beginning of the end for the Hoosiers in their bid to make the tournament.
We recently wrote about the Hoosiers still being firmly in the field of 68, but things can change quickly and a loss to the Boilermakers would be one of those things. A fourth straight loss including two straight at home and all of a sudden you would have to question Indiana’s ability to right the ship.
The way the Big Ten has gone this year, losing on the road (unless it’s to Nebraska or Northwestern) is not going to hurt a team’s resume much, if at all. But losing at home is a big problem. You must defend your home court and the Hoosiers have done a great job of doing that this year, losing just once in conference.
The Hoosiers probably don’t even have to win on the road again, but they must win at home. The ability to beat a rival can revitalize a team and that is the chance the Hoosiers get this weekend. But lose, and the doubt will start to creep in and the 2019 collapse will be all too real again.
Losing to the Purdue won’t sink the Hoosiers’ season, but it may spring a leak in it. The Hoosiers must win this game to get back and track and cement their position as a tournament team.