Indiana gave their fans plenty of reason for optimism in the opening stages of Wednesdays contest against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. A strong start saw the Hoosiers lead by as many as ten in the first half, and the Hoosiers were rolling both offensively and defensively.
And then the collapse.
Rutgers would go on a 22-0 run to close out the first half and into the second half, and when Indiana was punched in the mouth, they couldn’t show the resiliency needed to fight back. The result being that a team that was desperate for a win just dropped what many believed to be one of the best remaining opportunities on their schedule.
Indiana continued to struggle mightily on the offensive end. Despite their quick start, the Hoosiers finished just 21-of-60 from the field overall, and just 6-of-23 from behind the arc. Indiana ended the game with just .84 points per possession on the night and this came against a Rutgers defense that was allowing 1.08 points per possession on average against Big Ten opponents.
Most importantly, this is an Indiana team that lacks the fight needed to win in the Big Ten. Basketball is a game of runs, and when an opponent goes on a run, you need to be find a way to strike back. Yet against Rutgers, and through much of their recent losing streak, the Hoosiers have panicked when their opponents go on runs. There is no calming presence right now for Indiana that can rally the team and keep them under control, and it shows.
Unfortunately for Hoosier fans, this team continues to put out a similar blueprint game after game. Promising stretches are overshadowed by inevitable collapses. Indiana has thus far been unable to put together a solid 40-minute effort in conference play. The question that needs to be asked is when will this losing streak end? Indiana failed to take advantage of a golden opportunity to get back in the win column, and now a Saturday night road trip to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans looks all the more daunting.
Things look like they will continue to get worse before they get better, and Indiana is quickly running out of time to turn things around.