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Hoosiers With A Lot to Play for When Ohio State Comes to Town

Indiana basketball comes into Friday’s Senior Night game against Ohio State still looking to lock up its seed for next week’s Big Ten Tournament.

When Archie Miller was asked whether he wanted the six or seven seed it was a simple answer.

“Sixth,” Miller said. “You don't want to finish seventh if you can finish sixth, so we're going to take the highest possible seed that they'll name us. Sixth is definitely better than seventh.”

Of course Miller wants to finish as high as possible in the Big Ten standings, but there it’s not so outlandish to maybe want to finish a spot below.

The Hoosiers come into Friday’s game with a chance at the sixth or seventh seed. They are tied with Penn State and have the tiebreaker over the Nittany Lions who travel to Nebraska this weekend.

But if you look at the bracket, the sixth seed would play the winner of the 11-seed vs. 14-seed matchup Thursday in New York and then would play the two seed. The seven seed would already have their matchup set in stone heading to New York against the 10-seed and then would face the three seed.

Miller did acknowledge that sentiment.

“I think the sixth is a little more unique because you wait and see,” Miller said. “I think you get a play-in game if I'm not mistaken, so you wait and see. If you're the seven, you go in there with three to four days probably with preparation.”

Miller may see some value in that. However, why finish in seventh when you can finish in sixth?

“Maybe it's a little better to play the seven just in terms of having your readiness for the first game,” Miller said. “But just in terms of how it stacks up, if this team finished sixth, I would be happier than if we finished in the seventh.”

Friday’s game at Assembly Hall is a chance for Indiana to… breakthrough. Yes, breakthrough. This isn’t Tom Allen’s football program, but Miller hasn’t had that marquee Big Ten win as of yet.

They’ve been so close against top ranked teams in Michigan State and Purdue. But if Indiana can knock off a ranked Ohio State team and deny them a chance at a Big Ten title, it’s something this team could build on heading into next week’s Big Ten Tournament.

Especially against a Buckeyes team that had Indiana’s number the first time around, this could be that marquee win.

“In our first game, lack of physical toughness, lack of energy, there was a lot of things we didn't have in place that night to be able to give them a better game,” Miller said. “Hopefully in our building, we have a little bit more pep in our step, so to speak.”

With Friday being Senior Night and the home finale, Miller said this will be a big game. It’s a ranked Ohio State team against an Indiana team looking to get back on track. It has all the makings for a fun night at Assembly Hall.

“Senior day is like every other game,” Miller said. “The way you honor the seniors is you try to win the game and give them an opportunity to play in front of the fans and give them one more opportunity in Assembly Hall that they don't forget. Senior days are always delicate. There's a lot of emotion that goes into those things, but at the end of the day, it's about the 40-minute game, and that's what we're going to try and do is prepare our team like we've prepared very, very hard here every game.”

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