It’s risky to put too much stock into any performance that a No. 1 seed has against a No. 16 seed.
Which is why we shouldn’t look too much into the details surrounding Indiana’s overwhelming win over James Madison in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on Friday afternoon. The talent disparity is too great, and with a battle with Temple coming up on Sunday afternoon, it’s no surprise that Tom Crean might call off the dogs up 43-22 at halftime.
But if you are going to take something out of this game, how about Yogi Ferrell?
He scored 14 of Indiana’s first 16 points. He finished with 16 points, eight boards and six assists. He only had one turnover. He was the best player on the floor for the Hoosiers.
Which is significant, because he certainly isn’t the best player on that team. Cody Zeller is. Or Victor Oladipo, depending on your perspective. Ferrell probably isn’t even the best point guard on the Indiana roster as long as Jordy Hulls is around.
So the fact that he was the best player on the floor in their first tournament game matters, if for no other reason than the fact that he proved that he’s capable of playing with the pressure of March Madness of his shoulders.
Beyond that, Indiana advanced. And they’ll be taking on Temple on Sunday.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.