There is still over a month to go in the college basketball season, but both Indiana and Butler are teetering against the ropes and threatening to fall to the canvas.
Both the Hoosiers (3-6) and Bulldogs (3-5) are near the bottom of the conference standings and in desperate need of a victory tonight. Indiana travels to Rutger to try to end a six-game losing skid while Butler gets a final shot for a home quality win against #10 Marquette:
If you look at the bracketologists and the metrics, Indiana and Butler are in similar situations. They're both on the fringe of the NCAA Tournament field in most brackets - some have them in the First Four games in Dayton - and in the 40-50 range in NET (new NCAA rating), KenPom, and ESPN's BPI.
Here's a quick look at where their resumes currently stand:
Red-hot Marquette, who has surged to the top ten thanks to a seven-game win streak, is clearly a big challenge for Butler, but don't sleep on the Scarlet Knights. Rutger has claimed home victories over Nebraska and Ohio State, and while they aren't going to be an NCAA Tournament team, they aren't the basement-dweller that you're used to seeing.
If IU loses tonight, they face a road game at Michigan State which will drop them to 3-8 in the league and pretty much nuke any hopes they have of climbing into the NCAAs. Meanwhile, a Butler loss would take away their last home chance at a Quad 1 win - which is something they don't have - and be their third conference loss at Hinkle.