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Preview: James Madison vs. Indiana

Preview: James Madison vs. Indiana

Indiana lost its hold on the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament thanks to a bit of a late-season fade, but will look to set the stage for a strong finish Friday when it meets James Madison in the second round of the East Regional in Dayton, Ohio. The Hoosiers began the year as the No. 1 team in the country and held the honor at two other points during the course of the season, justifying their lofty status with a 24-3 start.

However, Indiana split its last six games, including its 12th straight loss to Wisconsin in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. The finish was enough for the selection committee to send the Big Ten's regular-season champion away from Indianapolis, but not enough to remove it from consideration as one of the four No.1 seeds. The Hoosiers' reward will be the Dukes, who recorded their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1983 with Wednesday's 68-55 first-round victory over fellow No. 16 seed LIU Brooklyn.

TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, TBS

ABOUT JAMES MADISON (21-14): Despite the first-half absence of co-leading scorer Rayshawn Goins (12.4 points), the Dukes often beat the fast-paced Blackbirds at their own game en route to their season-high fifth straight victory. James Madison scored 15 points off eight first-half turnovers and added 10 second-half fastbreak points. While Goins was serving his team-imposed suspension following his weekend arrest, A.J. Davis (12.4) continued his scoring spree with 20 points Wednesday. The senior guard, who replaced Goins in the starting lineup, is averaging 20.5 points over his last 11 games - 12 more than his average in his first 23 games. Freshman guard Andre Nation has blocked five shots in two of his last three games.

ABOUT INDIANA (27-6): The Hoosiers are among the best shooting teams in front of and behind the arc - two areas in which LIU Brooklyn struggled Wednesday. Indiana ranks among the top ten teams in the country in free throws (second), 3-point percentage (third), scoring offense (third) and overall field-goal percentage (seventh). While Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford can often carry the offense for long stretches, one small concern for the Hoosiers is that sharpshooter Jordan Hulls - a career 44.7 percent 3-point shooter - struggled beyond the arc in both games during the Big Ten tournament, going 1-for-10 over that span. In the Hoosiers' last two losses, Hulls shot a combined 3-for-12 from the 3-point line.

TIP-INS

  1. Indiana is 9-1 all-time as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, winning the national title in 1987.

  2. Nation's 46 blocks are the most by any player in this contest.

  3. Oladipo - the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year - needs one steal to break Isiah Thomas' single-season school record (74).

PREDICTION: Indiana 85, James Madison 68