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.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: