DAYTON – Indiana knows what it can expect when it begins play in the NCAA tournament today against James Madison at the University of Dayton Arena.
The No. 16 seed Dukes (21-14) will try to keep the pace slow and get the No. 1 seed Hoosiers (27-6) in foul trouble. Those are two things IU has seen before.
The thing about the Big Ten, it prepares you for anything, said Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, who averages 13.6 points and 6.4 rebounds. It prepares you not to take anyone lightly. So we’re looking forward to the game tomorrow, and we’re looking forward to getting it started.
Guard A.J. Davis, who scored a team-high 20 points in James Madison’s 68-55 win over LIU-Brooklyn on Wednesday in Dayton to set up today’s matchup, said the Dukes have looked at what Wisconsin did to slow down Indiana in its two wins over the Hoosiers this season.
Coach (Matt Brady) brought a couple of losses today in film session, said Davis, who averages 12.1 points. He was just telling us we’re going to run down the shot clock and get good shots how we’ve been doing all year and limit those guys to transitions buckets, and we should be good.
James Madison doesn’t plan to change much of its style for Indiana, but the Dukes – who average 65.3 points and hold teams to 64.1 per game – do plan on doing one thing different today and not go to a five-guard lineup like the team did Wednesday and at other times this season.
James Madison starts four guards around 6-foot-6 forward Rayshawn Goins, who leads the team with 12.4 points and 7.4 rebounds. Brady said Goins, who didn’t play in the first half against LIU because of an arrest before the tournament, will need to be in the game to deal with Indiana’s 7-foot forward Cody Zeller, who averages 19.6 points and 8.2 rebounds, and 6-9 forward Christian Watford, who averages 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds.
It’s important that we’re able to keep Ray in the game, either at four or at five, but we will not be five guards, Brady said. If we do, that’s not a good sign for my team.
It could be a good sign for the Hoosiers that the Dukes do not have a player taller than 6-9 reserve forward Taylor Bessick contributing big minutes.
Indiana averages 32.7 points in the paint with Zeller scoring 350, Oladipo scoring 259, Will Sheehey scoring 126 and Watford scoring 122.
That’s our game plan every time to get me and Christian the ball, whether it’s off drives or in the post, Zeller said.
It’s not necessarily we have to score, but it gets our offense going.
Indiana, which averages 80 points and holds teams to 62.5 per game, may or may not have gotten a good sign when President Obama predicted the Hoosiers to win the NCAA tournament this season.
Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said he had not seen the president’s prediction but had heard about it.
I think it’s really good, Crean said. But I’m also concerned that someone said that he was 1-3 in his picks before. So you’re always going to hope he’s right on this one. But we’re not going to look too far ahead.
I think the most important thing is our guys have been really good about taking what’s been said and not letting it affect them either way, and it’s not any different right now.