Indiana Basketball: Big 10 Showdown with Michigan Is a Must-Win for Hoosiers

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IMarch 10, 2013

On the surface, it may not look like the Indiana Hoosiers need a win over the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

The Hoosiers have already clinched a share of the Big 10 title regardless of what happens against the Wolverines, so that accomplishment is already locked up.

However, sometimes it isn't just about being satisfied with the minimum, and the Hoosiers should want more for their own pride.

It's been 20 long years since Indiana has notched an outright Big 10 title, which is far too long for such a storied program. Sure, the Hoosiers have shared plenty of titles in that time, but it simply isn't the same kind of accomplishment.

To win the title outright means the Hoosiers are the undisputed best team in the Big 10, and the same can't be said if they end up splitting the season series with the Wolverines, who in turn would own the same record.

Taking more luster off the Big 10 title, the Hoosiers may have to share it with multiple teams that aren't necessarily on their level talent-wise.

The No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament is also still at stake for Indiana, and winning this matchup will go a long way to earning the top spot. That would make Indiana's road to the Final Four a bit easier if they have to go through Indianapolis.

A pro-Indiana crowd will no doubt be of great benefit to the Hoosiers' hopes of winning the Big Dance, but you can kiss those hopes goodbye if Indiana doesn't emerge victorious on Sunday.

The Hoosiers are in a great position with their destiny in their own hands, as one win will give them the Big 10 crown. If they can't pull it off and end up giving it away after three losses in their last four games to end the regular season, that would be a tough pill to swallow for the Hoosiers.

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