3 Things that Have to Happen for IUBB to Make the 2024 NCAA Tournament

Kel'el Ware, Indiana Men's Basketball
Kel'el Ware, Indiana Men's Basketball / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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Mackenzie Mgbako, Blake Smith
Mackenzie Mgbako, Indiana Men's Basketball / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

1. BUY IN!

It is much easier said than done, but this entire unit has to collectively come together and make the conscious decision to do what needs to be done to get back out on the dance floor. That means the coaches rolling their sleeves up a little higher when strategizing, the players fully committing to their roles, and so on. Mike Woodson needs to take charge and steady the ship. Trey Galloway needs to set the table. Xavier Johnson needs to redeem himself. Kel'el Ware needs to be the defensive anchor and rebounding maestro. Malik Reneau needs to stay in rhythm. Mackenzie Mgbako needs to be consistent. The other guys do not need to be highly electric as far as scoring points go, but they do need to be highly energetic as far as making their presences felt goes.

2. Go AT LEAST 5-1 in the Final 6 Regular Season Games

Take a second to consider Indiana's remaining 6 game slate: vs Nebraska, at Penn State, vs Wisconsin, at Maryland, at Minnesota, vs Michigan State. They have already lost once fairly badly to each of Nebraska, Penn State, and Wisconsin. They have also taken care of business in the previous matchups with Maryland and Minnesota. They have yet to play the Spartans, who currently have a record of 17-10 overall and 9-7 in conference play (5th). Step one is pulling out a win tonight against the Cornhuskers. If they can get past that step, it will only get more difficult when they travel to face a Nittany Lions team that beat them by 14 in Bloomington just a few weeks ago. Let's say they fall in that one.

The second matchup with Wisconsin will be much more favorable than the first, as the Badgers have stumbled recently to the extent of falling completely out of the top 25 after being ranked 11th in the country heading into the previous matchup on January 20th. If they can grit their teeth through that one and come away victorious, they would then need to secure two consecutive dubs on the road. It is no secret that neither Maryland nor Minnesota are among the elite, but anyone can beat anyone on any given night. If they can scratch and claw their way to a 4-1 (or miraculously 5-0) run leading up to the home/regular season finale against Michigan State then they should be able to use that momentum to propel them to a regular season exclamation point in the win column.