DAYTON, Ohio – Indiana will try to return to the Sweet 16 for a second year in a row today.
The No. 1 seed Hoosiers (28-6) take on No. 9 seed Temple (24-9) in the third round of the tournament at 2:45 p.m. today in University of Dayton Arena with a trip to Washington D.C. and the East Regional semifinals on the line.
Indiana coach Tom Crean said he knows it will be a challenge to get past the Owls.
"They're just an all‑around tough team, and they epitomize toughness to me because they extend possessions, they get back, they make it tough for you to score, they move the ball, they can drive it," Crean said. "There's not a ton of things that you would say you're getting ready for in all the different offensive things they do when it comes to all the different plays, but you certainly have to get ready for how good their players are, and it's a tall task, there's no doubt about it."
Temple is led by Atlantic 10 player of the year Khalif Wyatt, who averages 20.2 points and 4.2 assists. He scored 31 in Temple's 76-72 second-round win over North Carolina State on Friday.
Wyatt can't be the only player Indiana focus on. Owls guard Scootie Randall averages 11.6 points and 6.2 rebounds, and forwards Anthony Lee, Jake O'Brien and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson average 9.8, 9.6 and 9 points and combine to average 16.2 rebounds.
"Khalif Wyatt takes a backseat to no one in the country right now when it comes to being a complete guard," Crean said. "So we're going to have to do an outstanding job there, but much like any other great team, if you spend too much time on one part of the team or one part of the game, then you're going to shortchange it in other places. They are really, really good.
"We saw firsthand when we were in Puerto Rico, when Christian (Watford) and Jordan (Hulls) and Derek (Elston) and Maurice (Creek) were freshmen, just how good Jake O'Brien was when we played against Boston University, when he was there playing for Pat Chambers, and we're very familiar now with what Jefferson means to their team, what Randall means to their team."
Of course Indiana has plenty of weapons to throw at Temple.
Cody Zeller headlines the dangerous group with 16.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Victor Oladipo averages 13.5 points; Watford averages 12.4; and Hulls averages 10.1.
Will Sheehey comes off the bench to average 9.5 points, and freshman guard Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell averages 8 points and is coming off a 16-point, eight-rebound and six-assist performance in Friday's second-round 83-62 win over James Madison.
"I think the problem is there's not a weakness they have," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "I think if all they did is shoot threes, you can control that a little bit, but each one of those guys that can make a three can also drive off the dribble and help and kick for their teammates.
"And then transition is a huge concern because they can run it at the rim each and every time as well. We're concerned."