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No NIT for IU, season is over

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Poor record, scheduling cost Hoosiers

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 12:19 am

BLOOMINGTON -- This is what happens when you go 17-15 and play a non-conference schedule rated among America's worst:

You get left out of the NIT.

And then you end your season rather than play in the pay-to-play CBI.

Indiana paid the price for poor scheduling and inconsistent play. It beat four ranked teams, but also lost to four teams with RPI's outside the top 100. It never improved, making the same bad-turnover mistakes in March it made in November.

The Hoosiers finished with a RPI of 97.

Six Big Ten teams made the NCAA tourney field, and two more -- Minnesota and Illinois -- received NIT bids.

“We would have loved to be able to keep playing,” coach Tom Crean tweeted Sunday night. “Our determination and confidence was high. Our desire to improve has been strong.

“Not much I will add now, but we certainly appreciate the great support of our Indiana fans and students. See you next year.”

The 32-team NIT awarded just 19 at-large bids because 13 teams received automatic bids. Those go to regular season conference champions who lose in their conference tournaments and don't receive NCAA tourney at-large bids.

Crean and IU athletic director Fred Glass elected not to play in the 16-team CBI. That event required a fee to participate. Only one Big Ten team has ever played in it -- Purdue last season.

The Hoosiers ended their season with three straight losses, including a 64-54 defeat to Illinois in last Thursday's opening round of the Big Ten tourney.

This was a big blow to a program coming off consecutive Sweet 16 appearances.

While IU lost four 1,000-point scorers from last season, talent wasn't an issue. IU has had consistently strong recruiting under Crean. This season included Noah Vonleh, the Big Ten freshman of the year, plus all-conference players Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey.

The Hoosiers finished eighth in the Big Ten with a 7-11 record.