NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Northwestern

Northwestern has two of the best home wins in the Big Ten, and it has picked them up in less than a week. Following its victory against then-No. 1 Purdue on Sunday, the Wildcats followed with a 64-62 win against No. 14 Indiana on Wednesday night in Evanston. With the win, Chris Collins' Wildcats not only strengthen their NCAA Tournament chances but take control of solo second place in the Big Ten standings. 

CBS Sports' Bracketology expert Jerry Palm already had the Wildcats in his most recent projected bracket as a No. 7 seed, and this victory only strengthens Northwestern's position on the right side of the bubble. The program has made the NCAA Tournament just once in school history, back in 2017, but this pair of wins against Purdue and Indiana has Northwestern barreling towards doubling that number of tournament appearances. 

But Wednesday night's win against Indiana came under far different circumstances than the Purdue victory; instead, it was the Wildcats who found themselves in the position of trying to hold on to a lead down the stretch of the second half. The Wildcats saw a 21-point lead evaporate thanks to a massive second-half push from the Hoosiers, powered in part by Trayce Jackson-Davis' near triple-double performance with 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. But all throughout the night there was one player who stepped up when Northwestern needed go-ahead buckets: Boo Buie. The senior guard has 20-plus points in seven of his last 10 games after putting up 21 points against Indiana, but none were more important than his final two with 2.7 seconds remaining. 

Northwestern and Indiana entered the night tied for second place in the Big Ten standings with identical 9-5 conference records, so now the Wildcats take over solo second place at 10-5 in the Big Ten and 19-7 overall. The Wildcats have swept Indiana and Wisconsin and won their only regular-season meetings with Michigan State and Purdue. The Boilermakers hold a two-game lead in the standings heading into their Thursday night game against Maryland and are projected to finish with the best conference record. However, the fact that Northwestern -- a program that has not won a regular-season conference championship since 1933 -- is in this position with five games to play speaks to the special season that's unfolding in Evanston.