The Big Ten is one of the strongest conferences in college basketball. Indiana was expected to contend, but most thought Michigan State would win the regular season. Indiana ended up winning the conference outright, but fell short in the conference tournament.
The Southern Conference is a perennial single-bid conference in the NCAA Tournament. The conference tournament winner has went on to play the role of Cinderella in the past.
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The Indiana Hoosiers had lackluster non-conference schedule results before heading into Big Ten season. They didn’t have any marquee wins during that stretch and lost at Duke and also lost on neutral courts to UNLV and Wake Forest. They were expected to finish in the top four in the Big Ten, but IU went on to win the regular season title. Yogi Ferrell has been a true leader for the Hoosiers. He controls the pace of play. I also want to point out freshman OG Anunoby’s lockdown defense late in the season.
The Chattanooga Mocs swung for the fences early this season. They didn’t shy away competition. They won at Georgia, beat Illinois on a neutral court and even won at Dayton. They bit a little more than they could chew when they played at Iowa State (losing 83-63). The Mocs are a smaller team, but uses ball movement to get good shots. They are a weak rebounding team, so they can’t afford to take bad shots.
Indiana is a solid team and one of the more well-rounded teams in the Big Ten. Chattanooga does have a little Cinderella in them, but Indiana should pull away late in the game.
Prediction: #5 Indiana Hoosiers
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.