DAYTON, Ohio – When No. 1 seed Indiana (28-6) and No. 9 seed Temple (24-9) tip off in the third round of the NCAA tournament at 2:45 p.m. Sunday in University of Dayton Arena one of the top matchups people will be looking at is Hoosiers guard Victor Oladipo against Owls guard Khalif Wyatt.
Oladipo was named the Big Ten defensive player of the year, and after recording a steal in IU's 83-62 second-round win over James Madison on Friday, he passed former Hoosiers great and basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas on the school's list for most steals in a season. Oladipo has 75.
Wyatt was named the Atlantic 10 player of the year and averages 20.2 points and 4.2 assists. He scored 31 points in Temple's 76-72 second-round win over No. 8 seed North Carolina State on Friday.
"He's a really good player," Oladipo said of Wyatt. "I can't really compare him to anybody. He has similarities, but he's his own player. He's really good. It's not the first time I've seen him play. He's very talented and can score the ball in different ways, which is why he is so good. He does a great job of playing at his pace and getting to the free-throw line. He shoots the most free throws (Wyatt is 200 for 240 on free throws). It is unheard of.
"It would be fun (to defend Wyatt). I'm just going to go out there and do whatever the coaches tell, guard whoever the coaches want me to guard and do whatever it takes to help my team win."
While Oladipo will likely draw the assignment of defending Wyatt, the Temple players know that Oladipo is just as dangerous as an offensive player as he is on defense.
The junior guard averages 13.5 points and has 73 assists this year. Oladipo scored 11 points in IU's 83-62 second-round win over No. 16 seed James Madison on Friday.
"The first thing I noticed about him, he plays really hard," Temple guard T.J. DiLeo said. "He's obviously really athletic. He's a versatile player. He can jump out of the gym. He's got a good change of direction. He's really a tough matchup.
"As long as we can contain him, make him take tough shots, I think that's the key to guarding him. I think he's a really good player, and it's going to be a tough matchup, but I think we've got people who are going to step up to it."
Elston is feeling good
Indiana senior forward Derek Elston didn't play a minute in last week's Big Ten tournament because of trouble he was having with his left knee, which was surgically repaired earlier this season.
But Elston was back in the game when Indiana dispatched of James Madison on Friday, grabbing a rebound and blocking a shot in eight minutes.
On Saturday, Elston said his knee felt fine.
"No worries so far," Elston said. "We will see how it feels after (Saturday's) practice."
Elston said he didn't need any special treatment after Friday's game.
"Just a simple bag of ice, some Tylenol, some Ibuprofen, that was it," Elston said.
Indiana has had to face one player on Temple's roster before – forward Jake O'Brien.
The 6-foot-9 forward transferred to Temple after redshirting last season at Boston University because of foot surgery.
The graduate student played for Boston U when Indiana fell to the Terriers 71-67 in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tipoff in 2009.
O'Brien had 14 points and 13 rebounds against the Hoosiers in that game, but he see a very different Hoosiers team than the one he played against four years ago.
"They are a completely different team," O'Brien said. "They have a lot of talented guys, guys that have bought into the system. It's kind of remarkable what they have done in such a short period of time to where they were to where they are now."
The Atlantic 10 has shown how strong it is as a conference during the NCAA tournament.
And Temple is one of the best from the league.
The Owls finished third in the A10, but they also challenged themselves outside of the conference and made some big statements.
Temple defeated Syracuse 83-79 in the Chevrolet Gotham Classic on Dec. 22 and gave Kansas a tough game in a 69-62 loss Jan. 6.
Temple's tough schedule hasn't gone unnoticed by Indiana's players.
"They are definitely a very talented team," IU forward Cody Zeller said. "They won at Syracuse. They've competed at a lot of different places, I think at Kansas. They are definitely a very talented team, and we've got our work cut out for us."
Temple's forwards are getting ready for the challenge of trying to contain Zeller and Christian Watford in the post.
Zeller averages a team-high 16.7 points and 8.1 rebounds, and Watford averages 12.4 points and 6.2 rebounds.
"Zeller is a big guy," Temple forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson said. "He gets a lot of rebounds, and everyone on their team crashes the boards as well. We have to just battle again and try to stay physical with these guys."