The Washington Times-Herald

The "Z" Watch

March 23, 2013

Indiana overpowers James Madison 83-62

DAYTON, Ohio — Indiana's got a few brutes, some big boys from the Big Ten who know how to throw their weight around.

But in their NCAA tournament opener, the Hoosiers turned to their speedy, 178-pound point guard to make James Madison's knees buckle right away.

Yogi Ferrell was the bully.

Ferrell scored Indiana's first nine points and had 14 in the first six minutes as top-seeded Indiana powered its way to an easy 83-62 win in the second round of the East Regional on Friday.

Not taking any chances with a No. 16 seed, the Hoosiers (28-6) started fast, building a 21-point halftime lead. They pushed it to 33 in the second half before letting up and had little trouble with the Dukes (21-15), who won their first tournament game in 30 years on Wednesday and thought they could hang with the Hoosiers.

"The speed they play with is unbelievable," Dukes guard Devon Moore said. "We haven't seen anything like that."

After being bruised and battered all year in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers finally got a chance to pick on a little guy.

"I've been waiting for this all week," said Ferrell, who added eight rebound and six assists. "A lot of us are jacked up to get out here, play against some different competition."

Looking every bit like a team capable of cutting down the nets in Atlanta next month, Indiana, which spent a good chunk of the season atop the AP poll, will play Temple in the second round on Sunday.

Will Sheehey scored 15 and Cody Zeller 11 - eight on rim-rocking dunks - for Indiana.

Freshman Andre Nation scored 24 and Charles Cooke 18 for James Madison, which made the score somewhat respectable in the final minutes but never really threatened.

Of the many upsets in NCAA tournament, there still hasn't been a No. 16 over a No. 1. And any thoughts James Madison, which beat LIU Brooklyn in a First Four game to get here, had of making history were over shortly after player introductions.

Indiana wasn't fooling around.

"We played excellent," Indiana coach Tom Crean said.

With Ferrell, playing in his first tourney game darting in and around the Dukes, the Hoosiers unleashed their offensive fury on the Dukes and clamped down on a James Madison team that never experienced anything like Indiana's man-to-man pressure this season in the Colonial Athletic Association.

After falling behind by 20, the Dukes got within 34-20 when Nation made two straight 3-pointers. However, the spurt only seemed to anger the Hoosiers and they closed the first half with a 9-2 run to take a 43-22 lead at halftime.

As he headed to the locker room, James Madison coach Matt Brady straightened his tie and scratched his head. Back in the staging area inside Dayton Arena even the Dukes' cheerleaders huddled to try and figure out what they could do better.

Too late.

Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford, seniors who helped Crean rebuild an Indiana program in shambles five years ago, hit 3-pointers and Zeller zoomed down the lane for a huge dunk as Indiana opened the second half with a 13-4 run. The Hoosiers barely let up, and later in the half, Victor Oladipo and Sheehey scored back-to-back baskets so quickly that the p.a. announcer said their names without taking a breath.

It was breathtaking, all right.

Indiana entered the tournament as a No. 1 seed for just the third time and saddled with higher expectations than the Hoosiers have had to deal with in years.

"Banner Up" has been the war cry of Indiana fans this season, a not-so-subtle dig at rival Purdue's "Boiler Up" cheer but also a reference to hanging a sixth NCAA title banner inside Assembly Hall.

The Hoosiers believe they can, and after overcoming a tough late-season loss at home on senior night against Ohio State, Indiana showed some of the resolve and toughness of a champ by winning at Michigan in the regular-season finale to win their first outright Big Ten title since 1993.

They've got loftier goals this March, and Oladipo said anything short of a Final Four appearance would be a disappointment.

Crean said there was a point in the season when it crossed his mind that the "gauntlet and grind" of the Big Ten would leave his team wobbly in March.

"I'd be lying to say it didn't," he said. "There's no way around it. You're in that league, and it's possession by possession, and it's so physical and taxing."

Indiana's size was a problem for James Madison right away. The 7-foot Zeller ran down a loose ball in the corner and grabbed a rebound as the Hoosiers had the ball for nearly a minute before Ferrell scored.

The lightning-quick guard scored on two more drives and then hit a 3-pointer to make it Yogi Ferrell 9, The Fourth U.S. President 0.

Brady called his first timeout, but there wasn't much he could say to his team other than to hang in there.

"We clearly lost to a better team," he said. "Watching them on tape and trying to prepare your team for Indiana is one thing, and then being on the court with them and having to play against the speed and power with which they play was really impressive."

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