The Indiana Hoosiers suffered a big upset when they lost to the Penn State Nittany Lions 68-63 at State College on Saturday. While it was a bad loss, the damage from it isn’t irreversible like some might fear. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t freak out about Indiana’s loss at Penn State:
- Almost Every Good NCAA Team Has A Bad Loss This Season: It’s understandable why some may fear a loss like this could have repercussions on a team’s NCAA tournament resume, and in most seasons it might have had that kind of impact. But the type of loss that the Hoosiers just suffered has been a common occurrence among most teams vying for the NCAA tournament, including some teams that are considered championship contenders (On the same day IU suffered a bad road loss, #1 Oklahoma loss at Kansas State, who just like Penn State only had two conference wins coming into Saturday’s game). Even if you just want to look at the Big Ten landscape: Purdue lost at Illinois, Michigan State lost at home to Nebraska, and Maryland lost at Michigan to a Wolverines team without Caris LeVert. It doesn’t excuse the Hoosiers for losing to the Nittany Lions but it’s not like the Hoosiers did something that should disqualify them from being a good team.
- IU Won’t Be Shooting Under 40% That Many More Times This Season: The Hoosiers shot 36.2% from the floor on Saturday, which is not just a season-low but is also the first time Indiana has shot under 40.0% in a game this season. Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell had a very uncharacteristically bad shooting day as he only made 3 of 12 while Thomas Bryant and Nick Zeisloft were the only two Hoosiers to make at least half of their shots. Troy Williams, Collin Hartman, OG Anunoby, and Max Bielfeldt shot a combined 5 of 19 from the floor. I’m not saying something like this can’t happen again this season but based on what we have seen over the 24 games IU has played this season, I find the chances of this happening again being rather slim.
- Penn State Isn’t As Terrible As Everyone Thinks: Sometimes we forget to look at a game from the opposing team’s perspective and on most occasions it explains why a loss happens. In this case, looking at things from Penn State’s side actually explains a lot. The Nittany Lions may have a record of 12-12 but that fails to indicate how many games they have competed in but either fell short or blew a lead. Just last week Penn State had a second half rally fall short when they faced Michigan in Madison Square Garden. Going back to the beginning of conference play, the Nittany Lions held a 31-23 halftime lead over Maryland at College Park before giving up 47 second-half points in a 70-64 loss. Against the Hoosiers, it was a triumphant win against for the Nittany Lions not just because they finally beat a good team but because they didn’t falter down the stretch. Every time Indiana made a play to tie the game or take the lead, the Nittany Lions successfully countered. They hit every big shot they needed, which is something they had failed to do all season. Sure the Hoosiers helped by shooting terribly and committing 15 turnovers but you have to also give credit to Penn State for making the Hoosiers uncomfortable. It was a bump-in-the-road loss for Indiana but it was a statement win for Penn State.