No. 16 seed James Madison will play No. 1 Indiana in the round of 64 after a 68-55 victory over LIU Brooklyn 68-55 in the First Four.
No. 16 seed James Madison earned its first tournament victory in 30 years by beating LIU Brooklyn. The Dukes got into the tournament after making a run and winning the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. They entered the tournament as the fourth seed but have now won their last five games.
Indiana on the other hand earned a No. 1 seed, despite a poor showing in the Big Ten tournament. The Hoosiers have lost three of their last six games after losing just three games over the first 27 contests of the season.
Here's a breakdown of the round of 64 matchup:
Where: Dayton, Ohio
When: Friday, March 22, at 4:10 p.m. ET
Live Stream: March Madness On Demand
Betting Line: Indiana -21.5 (via Vegas Insider)
Indiana Injuries (via USA Today): F Derek Elston, Knee, Questionable. F Austin Etherington, Knee, Out.
James Madison Injuries (via USA Today): F Andrey Semenov, Ankle, Out.
What's at Stake?
A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed. The James Madison Dukes will be looking to become the first to do so.
Indiana has its sights set on not only making it to the Final Four, but winning the championship. The storied program that hasn't been to the Final Four since 2002 is looking to complete its return to glory and bring back some hardware.
The first task on the to-do list is taking care of inferior James Madison. The Hoosiers need to cruise through this game and use it as a way to get acclimated to the bright lights and pressure that comes with the tournament.
For James Madison, beating Indiana would be the biggest win in school history and one of the top upsets in all of sports. Eventually, a No. 16 seed will take down a No. 1 seed. Will it be the 2012-13 James Madison Dukes?
Players to Watch
Indiana: G Victor Oladipo
While Indiana has a number of talented players including big man Cody Zeller, junior guard Victor Oladipo is definitely the main man for Indiana as it enters the tournament. The team goes as its explosive guard goes. When he's running the offense as well as hitting jumpers and getting to the rim, Indiana is tough to beat.
Entering the tournament, Oladipo is averaging 13.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 59.9 percent from the floor. While his scoring is down over the last five games (10.6 ppg), he has collected 9.0 rebounds per game.
He's the player to watch because his play will go a long way in determining just how serious Indiana is as a contender.
Oladipo needs to take better care of the basketball if Indiana is going to make a run in the tournament. Over the last five outings, he's averaging 3.4 turnovers per game. That's entirely too many. It may not kill them against a weaker opponent like James Madison, but he needs to use this game to get in the habit of eliminating careless mistakes.
James Madison: G A.J. Davis
You'd be hard-pressed to find a guy playing better basketball right now than A.J. Davis. Late in his second year with the Dukes, the senior guard has erupted with impressive play.
For the season, Davis is averaging 12.1 points and 3.6 rebounds. In his last five contests, Davis is averaging a remarkable 23.6 points per game on 59.7 percent shooting. His best performance came against William & Mary when he scored 36 points on 15-of-23 shooting.
He lit up LIU Brooklyn in James Madison's first game of the tournament, scoring 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He hit four three-pointers while also collecting five rebounds and three assists.
If the Dukes have any chance to beat Indiana, they will need Davis to play the game of his life. The lengthy guard will need to knock down a bunch of triples just to keep the Dukes close to Indiana.
Key Matchup: Cody Zeller vs. James Madison's Bigs
In a huge mismatch, Dukes will need to try to shut down Indiana big man Cody Zeller. The 7', 240-pound Zeller has been a force for the Hoosiers all season long and will present quite the challenge. He uses his size incredibly well on both ends of the floor.
The 265-pound Goins could be tasked with trying to out-physical Zeller. He's been the biggest player in James Madison's regular rotation for much of the season. His strong frame helped him stay with players a few inches taller than him. The problem here is that Zeller will have about a half-foot advantage.
The Dukes biggest player, Gene Swindle (6'11", 265 pounds) has only played in 18 games and only posted double-digit minutes twice on the year.
Prediction: Indiana Wins
Simply put, Indiana is the much better team and should run James Madison off the court. While I firmly believe a No. 16 seed will soon take down a No. 1 seed, this matchup just doesn't offer that possibility. Indiana will win big and get a chance to rest some of its starters.
The talent gap is just too large to ignore as well as the major mismatches Indiana will have because of its size. The Dukes don't have a player that can effectively come in and play with Cody Zeller. Expected the 7-footer to have a monster game and put up massive numbers.
The Dukes could hang around early if A.J. Davis gets hot, but there's no way he can stay hot enough to match what Indiana's offense will do.
Score Prediction: Indiana 87, James Madison 53