USA TODAY Sports
The Hoosiers took control of their NCAA Tournament opener very early.
Indiana exploded to an early lead against #16 seed James Madison, thanks to some surprising offense from Yogi Ferrell, and essentially had the game in hand by the first media timeout. While the final score wasn't as in IU's previous two openers as a #1 seed (97-54 over Wright State in 1993 and 92-58 over Fairfield in 1987) the Hoosiers clearly were in control for the entire game, and extended the lead to 33 with 8:19 remaining before the Dukes shot very well down the stretch to make the final score a bit more respectable. JMU made 12 of its final 13 shots from that point, including 5-5 from three point range. The Dukes scored nearly half of their field goals and 22 of their 62 points in the final eight minutes. While it didn't matter, the Dukes' late hot shooting took the gleam off what had been a stellar defensive performance by IU. Even with their late flurry the Duke shot only 42 percent from the game and 54 percent in the second half. At the point at which IU had its biggest lead the Dukes had shot 28 percent for the game. The Hoosiers played well offensively as well, even considering the quality of the opposition. IU's 1.32 points per possession total was the fourth best of the season, behind only the home games against Ball State and Sam Houston State and the game at Purdue. IU shot well in both halves, and was 9-23 from behind the arc, with six different Hoosiers making at least one three pointer. IU also comfortably controlled the boards, with an OR percentage of 41 compared to 29 for James Madison, and the turnover percentage of 14.4 was tied for the fifth lowest of the season. Again, this was a 16-1 game, so what happened is what was supposed to happen, but given the close calls or worse suffered by #1 and #2 seeds in the round of 64 in recent years, it was good to see some dominance.
Individual performances of note:
- Yogi Ferrell scored 14 of IU's first 16 points and finished with a team-high 16 points. He also led the team with 8 rebounds and had 6 assists to one turnover.
- Will Sheehey scored 15 points in 23 minutes, although he needed 14 shots to get there.
- Victor Oladipo scored 11 points on 3-7 shooting, thanks to 4-4 from the line, and had 6 boards and 3 assists.
- Things were a bit rough for Cody Zeller. He scored 11 points on 4-5 shooting, but had only four rebounds and turned the ball over four times.
Again, this is the sort of game in which there aren't necessarily good signs, but rather the absence of bad signs. The Hoosiers did what was necessary and didn't flirt with disaster. Next up is Temple, the 9 seed, which built a big lead against #8 NC State and held on. The Owls are in their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament, and they have pulled off some impressive wins this season: Syracuse, Villanova, St. Louis, VCU. They will be a tough opponent, but Devin will have more on that later.