In 49 other states, it's just basketball.
Indiana has forever been known as a basketball state and most Hoosiers got a taste of history last season, when Butler made a run for the title falling inches short seven miles from home at Lucas Oil Stadium.
This season, six college hoops teams in the state have a chance to go the big dance and if you want to stretch it, possibly seven.
Clearly, this can go either way.
The State has two locks for the tournament, Purdue and Notre Dame, three that have a pretty good shot and one that could get in on a long shot. Ball State, Butler and Valpo have pretty good shots to get in, with IPFW and Indiana State being long shots to go dancing.
The last time five teams made the tournament from the state was 2004.
So what needs to happen? Let’s start in the Horizon League.
Quietly a top ten conference in the country, Valpo and Butler sit first and third in the Horizon League and control their destiny. Butler knocked off Valpo at Hinkle on Jan 1st and the two teams will be at Valpo this Saturday.
Both teams can make the tournament by going deep in their conference tournaments, if they tangle in the Horizon League final, both teams are in.
Ball State and Indiana State are on the doorstep of making it. For Ball State, it would be the first time going to the tournament since 2000. The Cardinals sit 5-0 in the conference and have a two game cushion on Buffalo; for Indiana State, it has been since 2001.
The Sycamores have some work to do. They are 7-2 in the Missouri Valley trailing Missouri State and Wichita State. They lost to Wichita State in three overtimes but topped Missouri State at home.
IPFW has work to do to get in. Oakland leads the way in the Summit at 9-0. They rank seventh in the nation in scoring.
Four of IPFW’s seven losses are to teams that will be tournament this season (Purdue, Xavier, Cincinnati and Valpo).
It may be a long shot to get five or even six teams in, but Notre Dame is projected to be a three seed, as well as Purdue.
If Butler and Valpo both get in they will be higher seeds (9-13). Ball State, Indiana State and IPFW, if in, would be 13-16 seeds.
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