DAYTON – What Indiana knows about the Temple Owls – next up after the top-seeded Hoosiers dispatched 16-seed James Madison 83-62 Friday in their opening NCAA tournament game – is as follows:
The Owls led North Carolina State 38-22 at halftime of their opening tournament game but needed two free throws from Khalif Wyatt with two seconds to play to seal a 76-72 win.
They shot 53 percent (16 of 30) in the first half and 40 percent (8 of 20) in the second.
They’re still alive, which makes them a force with which to be reckoned.
Anybody that’s playing around this time of year, you know it’s a tough season, so you know they’re good, forward Christian Watford said.
Indiana coach Tom Crean concurred.
(Temple coach) Fran Dunphy is a phenomenal coach, and it starts with him, Crean said. I mean, he has been a great basketball coach for a long period of time, and they play in a highly respected league, a tough league, a league that’s got a little bit of everything.
The thing that got my attention; I could be wrong on this, but they basically missed the selection show because they were still in a meeting going over what had happened in their last game. That’s a serious team. That’s a team not to be taken lightly.
Balance has been a key element every time Indiana has played particularly well this season, so maybe what happened in Friday’s 21-point lacing of James Madison shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
Five Indiana players scored in double figures, and six scored at least nine. Seven scored seven or more.
To have six guys have nine or more, to have Remy (Abell) with seven, to be able to play as many people as we did was a big deal today, Crean said.
Temple guard Khalif Wyatt wasted hardly a breath, and barely a word, in expressing his preference for Temple’s opponent Sunday in the third round of the NCAA tournament
Indiana, he said Friday, shortly before IU and James Madison tipped.
Man got his wish.