DAYTON – Indiana feels like it has seen its third-round NCAA tournament opponent, Temple, before.
I’d say they’re kind of like Michigan, especially just the offensive attack, said IU guard Kevin Yogi Ferrell, who scored 16 points Friday in the Hoosiers’ 83-62 second-round win over James Madison. They definitely attack offensively. They are one of the best I’ve seen.
The top-seeded Hoosiers (28-6) play the No. 9 Owls (24-9) at 2:45 p.m. today at University of Dayton Arena with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16 in the East Region in Washington, D.C.
Temple guard Khalif Wyatt is one of the reasons the Hoosiers see shades of Michigan.
The Hoosiers defeated the Wolverines twice this season
The 6-foot-4 senior was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and averages a team-high 20.2 points. He also leads Temple in assists with 4.1 per game, and he has connected on 200 of 240 free throws.
Wyatt and (Wolverines guard and Big Ten player of the year Trey) Burke are both volume scorers, IU guard Jordan Hulls said.
They score in a lot of different ways. Wyatt gets to the line a lot.
We just have to do a really good job of playing solid defense and help each other out.
Indiana will likely try to neutralize Wyatt with Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Victor Oladipo.
Oladipo drew the primary defensive duty on Burke and limited the guard to 16-of-44 shooting and 45 points in two games.
Wyatt, who is dealing with a left thumb injury that he said will be fine, is ready for Oladipo.
I know, if he’s guarding me, I know he’s going to be up for the challenge, and he’s going to play hard, said Wyatt, who scored 31 points in the Owls’ 76-72 win over No. 8 seed North Carolina State on Friday.
I’ve just got to let the game come to me and just go out there and play my game, let my teammates get me shots, set screens, just work without the ball and stuff like that. He’s a good defender, but, I mean, not the first good defender.
Indiana isn’t focusing on just stopping Wyatt. 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.
I think Temple can beat you in a lot of different ways, IU coach Tom Crean said.
I think that’s why they’re so dangerous. They can go inside. They can rebound misses. Big, big thing is going to be not allowing them to extend possessions the way that they do with the rebounding.
Temple also has a similar template to Indiana’s second-round opponent, James Madison, as the Owls are a veteran group.
Temple started one fifth-year player (O’Brien), three seniors (Wyatt, Hollis-Jefferson and Randall) and brought fifth-year guard T.J. DiLeo off the bench against N.C. State.
But the Owls differ from the Dukes because Temple has upperclassmen with NCAA tournament experience.
Temple is in the tournament for a sixth straight year, while Indiana is making its second NCAA appearance in a row.
I don’t know how much it will help in these type of games, because any given night any team can be beaten, Hollis-Jefferson said.
It just depends on who comes to play, which team plays better. We do feel very comfortable (in the tournament). We just know we have to go out there and play our game.
If we play our game, we have a chance at winning.