1 down. 5 to go. Although there were a couple of 16-seeds pushing Kansas and Gonzaga to the brink, there was no doubt who was the superior team in this one. Perhaps the fifth option in the Hoosiers offense, Yogi Ferrell was a one-man wrecking crew in the first 5 minutes. Indiana won by only 21 but this game was hovering around a comfortable 30-point lead throughout most of the second half.
The aforementioned Ferrell finished with a team-high 16 points, to go with 8 rebounds and 6 assists, and provided flashbacks similar to that of a former #11 guard for the Hoosiers. The always energetic Will Sheehey was very aggressive all game and recorded 15 points on 14 shots. Scoring balance is a quality of this team that makes people believe they are a legit title contender and this game was no different. Christian Watford, Cody Zeller, Jordan Hulls, and Victor Oladipo put up nine, eleven, ten, and eleven points respectively. One free throw miss by Watford is what stopped this team from once again having 6 guys in double digits.
With so many options offensively it truly makes this team hard to game plan against. This game was a perfect example. The Dukes wanted Yogi Ferrell to beat them early on and they weren’t going to let Zeller get any chance to go 1-on-1. So what happens, Yogi scores 14 in the first five minutes and Zeller almost methodically waits for the double and finds the open man. I am just glad I am rooting for these guys because they would be a headache to watch when playing my team.
While this game was fun and all it was still was just a win against James Madison. You can’t win it all if you don’t win the first. This was a solid game for the Hoosiers and one that gives them good confidence heading into the third round.
Team Grade- A
*Tangent Spiel: I thought James Madison’s band and crowd were very entertaining during the whole game. It got me thinking. IU fans are kinda boring. The JMU band played very up-tempo songs during time-outs, the crowd was getting into it, and they were even jump-roping using a cheerleader as the rope. While I love IU’s tradition and all it just isn’t the same when the most wild cheer we do is clap to the beat. Maybe IU fans are “better” than that or maybe we just don’t know how to have fun.
Looking Forward- The third round matchup for the Hoosiers will be the Temple Owls out of Philadelphia, PA. The Owls are out of the A-10, which is looking like the best conference to date in the tournament. Temple took care of an uninterested NC State Wolfpack team on Friday. Just from watching that game I came away with three quick thoughts.
- Khalif Wyatt is the heart and soul of this team. Khalif meet Mr. Oladipo.
- Temple takes really good care of the ball. NC State is by no means a ball hawking defense but when the Wolfpack turned up the heat late in the game the Owls handled it impressively.
- Their transition defense wasn’t very good. Lorenzo Brown was able to push the tempo and get easy buckets against this Owls defense so I expect Yogi, Oladipo, and Hulls to do the same.