There's still five months to go before the college basketball season even starts, and March Madness is a long nine months away. But that hasn't stopped ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi from putting together his field of 68 on Wednesday.
Indiana is in his field, which is probably a compliment considering the Hoosiers haven't played an NCAA Tournament game since 2016, back when Tom Crean was still the coach. Four years of the Archie Miller era came and went without a single postseason game in the Big Dance.
Now it's Mike Woodson, the former Indiana great and longtime NBA coach, who's running the IU program, and Lunardi has them as a No. 9 seed in the West Regional in his June 15 bracket, matching up with No. 8 Florida in the first round in San Francisco.
Lunardi has Gonzaga as the No. 1 seed in the West, which would be Indiana's likely second-round opponent.
There's plenty of love for the Big Ten throughout Lunardi's bracket, with eight teams making the field. He has Northwestern as one of his first four teams out. Indiana is the lowest of the eight seeds in the field.
Here's what he thinks of the league:
- MICHIGAN: No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional, getting Yale in the first round and the Virginia Tech/Loyola winner in the second round.
- PURDUE: No. 2 seed in the East Regional, getting Louisiana in the first round, and the Memphis/LSU winner in the second round.
- OHIO STATE: No. 2 seed in the South Regional, getting Winthrop in the first regional, and the Louisville/Oklahoma State winner in the second round.
- MARYLAND: No. 3 seed in the West, getting South Dakota State in the first round and the USC/Richmond winner in the second round.
- MICHIGAN STATE: No. 5 seed in the East, getting Ohio University in the first round, and the Kentucky/Colgate winner in the second round.
- ILLINOIS: No. 6 seed in the Midwest, getting Colorado in the first round, and the Alabama/Northeastern winner in the second round.
- IOWA: No. 8 seed in the South, getting No. 9 Virginia in the first round, and the winner between No. 1 seed UCLA and a play-in game winner in the second round.
- INDIANA: No. 9 seed in the West, getting Florida in the first round and the Gonzaga/play-in game winner in the second round.
At first glance, that seed seems awful low for Indiana. With Trayce Jackson-Davis back as a potential first-team All-American candidate, I don't see the Hoosiers as the eighth-best team in the Big Ten. And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they are more in the 5-6 range when the real NCAA Tournament bracket gets announced on March 13.
That's only 270 days away!
Here is the link to Lunardi's complete 2022 bracket on June 15. CLICK HERE
Related stories on Indiana basketball
- INDIANA HIRES ARMOND HILL: Coach Mike Woodson has added longtime NBA assistant Armond Hill to his staff as Director of Basketball Administration. CLICK HERE
- ROBERTS LEAVES FOR CINCINNATI: Former Indiana assistant coach Mike Roberts has decided to leave his administrative position with the Hoosiers to return to the bench at Cincinnati. CLICK HERE
- FIFE HIRED AT INDIANA: Former Indiana basketball standout and longtime Michigan State assistant Dane Fife has been hired by Mike Woodson at IU. CLICK HERE
- FIFE, WOODSON ATTACHED AT HIP: Mike Woodson and Dane Fife both have deep love for the Indiana basketball program, and even though they're from two different generations, they and bonded by one similar trait. CLICK HERE
- ROSEMOND HIRED AT INDIANA: Mike Woodson completed his coaching staff at Indiana by hiring longtime assistant Yasir Rosemond. CLICK HERE
- HUNTER STICKING AROUND: Indiana assistant coach Kenya Hunter was hired by Archie Miller, but after meeting with Mike Woodson, he's staying around to help Woodson rebuild the program. CLICK HERE