Indiana coach Tom Crean (pictured) is one step closer to joining his brother-in-law and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh with a title this year. The Indiana Hoosiers survived Temple’s hot-shooting Khalif Wyatt and multiple scoreless droughts lasting several minutes each to top the Temple Owls 58-52 in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32. Wyatt finished with a game-high 31, but it was not enough, as the Hoosiers advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in as many years.
The Hoosiers, one of the best offensive teams in the nation all season, struggled to find the bottom of the bucket, shooting a pedestrian 19-45 (42%). But Indiana shot 16-20 (80%) from the line, particularly down the stretch, where free throws helped the Hoosiers score the final ten points of the game.
Wyatt was white-hot in the first half, scoring 20 points on 8-14 shooting. But the Hoosiers played him more aggressively in the second half, at times playing suffocating ball denial 35 or more feet from the basket in an attempt to limit his touches.
The stellar play of Wyatt was offset by the apparent absence of Temple star Scootie Randall, who finished the game 0-12 from the floor.
The Hoosiers relinquished an early lead with 5:25 to play in the first half and would not take the lead again until an Oladipo free throw pushed them ahead with 1:19 remaining in the game.
Bloomington, Ind. native Jordan Hulls, one of the top three-point shooters in Indiana history, left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury. He returned in the second half, hitting a key three that brought Indiana to within one point with under nine minutes to play.
Hoosier standout and national player of the year contender Victor Oladipo hit a three-pointer with 15 seconds left in the game to push the lead to four. Christian Watford added two clutch free throws on the next possession to ice the victory and send the Hoosiers to the Washington, D.C. regional, where they will face perennial Big East power Syracuse in the East Regional Semifinal.
Oladipo finished with a team-high 16 points for the Big Ten champions, and fellow All-American candidate Cody Zeller added 15.