DAYTON, Ohio – The questions lingered for the five days since they walked off the floor at the United Center.
After sustaining their first double digit loss of the season to Wisconsin in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament some wondered if this Hoosiers team which was No. 1 in the nation for most of the season could find a way to improve with the NCAA Tournament looming.
Those inquiries were answered early in their first game when the Hoosiers made a statement about their placement as one of the top four seeds in the tournament.
Indiana began the game by scoring the first nine points and were up and down the court with little resistance from 16th-seeded James Madison at UD Arena late Friday afternoon. The Hoosiers-heavy crowd of over 10,000 watched their team sprint their way into the third round of the East Region with a lopsided 83-62 victory over the Dukes.
Tom Crean’s squad will now face Temple on Sunday, who beat NC State 76-72 in the early game in Dayton.
Guard Yogi Ferrell led the Hoosiers with 16 points while Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller each scored 11 points which kept the Hoosiers from trailing at any point in the game-the eighth time they done that this season.
Ferrell set the tempo early when he put the game away in the first 3:18. The freshman guard from Park Tudor High School got three layups and a three-pointer in that span to but the Hoosiers up 9-0 and force the first of many James Madison timeouts.
The rest of the Hoosiers followed Ferrell’s lead as the team hit 57 percent of their shots from the field in the first 20 minutes, dished out nine assists and outrebounded the Dukes by seven. Will Sheehey’s jumper with 57 seconds left to go in the half put the Hoosiers up by 23.
Indiana kept the pressure going in the second half and used a 10-0 run in the middle to push the lead above 30 when Ferrell fed Zeller again for a big one-handed slam.