The Indiana Hoosiers won easily against James Madison easily in large part to the impressive performance by Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell. The big day for Yogi was not only good for him, but it was a very good sign for the Hoosiers as a whole.
Ferrell’s monster game consisted of 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists on 7-for-12 shooting. The eight rebounds were a career-high for the freshman out of Indianapolis. If Ferrell can continue to have big games like this, then the Hoosiers are in for a very deep run in the NCAA tournament.
What was most impressive from Ferrell is that he was able to find his shot without much trouble. At the beginning of the season, he failed to make many of his jumpers. As the season has gone on, however, the shots have been falling. This game was no different, as Ferrell made several jumpers, including two big shots from behind the arc.
When Ferrell gets going, the entire offense opens up for the Hoosiers. He had 14 points to start the game, and the rest of the team benefited greatly from it. The Dukes started focusing on Ferrell, which left other players wide open for easy shots. Other than Yogi, the Hoosiers had four others with at least 10 points, while Christian Watford finished with nine. When Ferrell is hot to start the game, the Hoosiers can start going to other guys without much trouble.
The six assists for Ferrell were big as well. He does a terrific job running the offense as a freshman, and the team thrives when he is able to get guys open with his impressive passing. When Ferrell has at least five assists in the game, the Hoosiers are an impressive 14-1 all year.
Ferrell will look to continue the great performance from his first ever game in the NCAA tournament. When he’s hot, he is capable of playing against any point guard in the country. He’s been battle tested all season, going up against guys like Trey Burke and Aaron Craft twice each this season.
These kinds of tests will be important for Ferrell, as the East region has some of the most impressive point guards in the tournament.
Michael Carter-Williams is a dangerous guy for Syracuse, and is arguably one of the best distributors of the ball in the country. He averages the third-most assists per game in the country, putting up 7.8 per game. He’s also a dangerous pickpocket, grabbing 2.8 steals per game.
If the Hoosiers play the Orange, Ferrell vs. Carter-Williams will be the biggest matchup to watch for. Ferrell is a pretty solid defender, but Carter-Williams excels at finding the open guy, especially when driving to the basket. Jim Boeheim understands that Ferrell is the most inexperienced starter for the Hoosiers, and will attack him constantly all game.
The Miami Hurricanes have Shane Larkin, who is also an incredibly dangerous point guard. He’s a dual-threat, able to both score and dish it out to open teammates. He averages 14.6 points and 4.4 assists per game.
Larkin is the best guy on the Hurricanes’ team, and Ferrell will need to have another game like he did against James Madison in order for the Hoosiers to beat them if they end up playing in the Elite Eight. Defending the perimeter will be critical, as Larkin makes 40.9 percent of his three-pointers.
Luckily for the Hoosiers, Ferrell looked like one of the best players on the floor all day against the Dukes. They will need that kind of play from him game after game so that Indiana can make it to Atlanta, and he very well can.
He may only be a freshman, but Ferrell is a very skilled player that can lead the Hoosiers to a championship run as long as he plays like he did against James Madison. If he does that, the Hoosiers will have a new star in the making.
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