An early exit and poor offensive display in the Big Ten tournament had no effect on the Indiana Hoosiers' seeding and they now take on No. 16 James Madison in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Friday afternoon at UD Arena in Dayton.
The No. 1 seeded Hoosiers were first in the Big Ten in points per game and 3-point and field goal percentage this season, but still suffered a debilitating loss to Wisconsin in the semifinals of the conference tourney.
Team-leading scorers Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo went a combined 8-for-22 from the field for a combined 23 points, and Indiana shot 38 percent from the floor in the 68-56 letdown.
Zeller also snagged 11 rebounds, but Oladipo’s four steals were negated by four turnovers. Senior Christian Watford led the team with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Still, Indiana is in the midst of a comeback era under head coach Tom Crean, and hope to advance further than last year’s Sweet 16 dismissal at the hands of eventual champion Kentucky. It was the Hoosiers best performance in the tournament since they fell to Maryland in the 2002 title game.
Indiana hasn’t captured a national championship since 1987, but James Madison has that mark beaten by four years.
The 21-14 Dukes are making their first appearance since 1994, and had not won a tournament game since 1983 until they beat LIU Brooklyn in the first round play-in Wednesday.
Representing the CAA, James Madison is riding a five-game winning streak that helped it steal the conference tournament from top seeded Northeastern.
Senior forward Rayshawn Goins leads the Dukes with 12.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, while the backcourt mixes old and new, with senior A.J. Davis and freshman Andre Nation.
In the 68-55 win over LIU Brooklyn, Nation tallied 14 points, seven rebounds and five blocks, and Davis chipped in 20 points with five rebounds.
Goins was suspended for the first half of the game after he was arrested on charges of obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct just hours after the brackets were announced Sunday.
The game tips-off at 4:10 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by TBS, or watch a free live online stream at the NCAA March Madness official site here.
Betting Odds: Indiana is favored by 22.5 points.
Over/Under: 137 points
Prediction: Zeller and Watford should overwhelm JMU’s frontcourt, and Oladipo will bounce back with a dominating game at both ends. Indiana should move on and await the winner of N.C. State vs. Temple.
Predicted Score: Indiana 79, James Madison 58
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