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‘One win would really help a lot of things’: Can Indiana basketball end losing streak at Rutgers?

BLOOMINGTON, IN – JANUARY 25, 2019 – Guard Romeo Langford #0 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the game against the Michigan Wolverines and the Indiana Hoosiers at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Indiana Athletics

Last time Indiana took the floor, IU coach Archie Miller called his team soft and scared.

The story from the Michigan game followed the same script as the previous five losses. A slow start, bad 3-point shooting and a 17-0 deficit took the raucous Assembly Hall crowd out of it early and made it nearly impossible to beat one of the best teams in America.

But Wednesday provides a new challenge for the Hoosiers, and it comes at a time where it seems like things can’t get much worse than where they already are. A trip to Piscataway, New Jersey to face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights is a chance for Indiana to get back in a win column, something it hasn’t done since January 3.

With such a strong Big Ten conference, there aren’t many losses that will hurt a resumé. But a loss to Rutgers would be a quad two loss and one that doesn’t help a resumé, especially with where the Hoosiers are. But for IU senior Juwan Morgan, the goal still remains the same.

“Like I said at the beginning of the season, we’re looking for a postseason this year,” Morgan said after the Michigan loss. “We’re not really looking for anything else. We’re not selling ourselves short. I know there’s a talented group in that room. I’m still — I’m not giving up on any of the guys, they’re not giving up on me, and that’s what it is.”

The longest losing streak during a season for a team who has made the NCAA Tournament was a Mike Davis-coached Texas Southern team who lost 13 games in a row last season. For teams that reached the Round of 32, there have been three teams who have lost six straight games: 2005 Iowa State, 2009 Wisconsin and 2011 Michigan. Unfortunately for Indiana, these are the conversations in the midst of a six-game losing streak.

While Indiana’s resumé looked stellar at the beginning of January, it has certainly taken a hit. The six straight losses haven’t helped, but in terms of resumé metrics, the six losses haven’t been catastrophic as they have been to solid opponents and, in some cases, on the road. There are still plenty of bracketologists who have Indiana in the field prior to Wednesday’s game at Rutgers. A loss, however, would certainly change that.

And on Wednesday, first thing is first, the start of the game will be very important.

“It’s just we have to be able to fight,” Morgan said. “I don’t think any guy wants to start off slow. I don’t think any guy is not ready. It’s just a matter of people getting inside their own heads, and I think that’s where the camaraderie amongst the five on the court needs to kick in, and even if they’re missing shots, we can’t let that affect our teammates’ effort and energy.”

Rutgers comes into Wednesday’s game having won two straight regular season Big Ten games for the first time since joining the conference. A home win against Nebraska and a road win at Penn State have the Scarlet Knights with a whole lot more momentum and confidence than Indiana.

Miller said after the Michigan game that his team needs to learn to do some things differently. After four days off, the Hoosiers will be looking for any way to get their once promising season back on track.

“We’ve just got to find a way to regroup, and one win really helps that,” Miller said. “One win would really help a lot of things. You just — that’s the quest is to find a way, and this isn’t the league that you’re really looking around saying, yeah, the next one will be easy. No, it won’t be; it’s not going to be very easy at all.”

Josh Eastern

I am a senior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: jeastern@thehoosiernetwork.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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