(9) Temple Owls vs. Indiana Hoosiers (-11.5, 147.5)
Indiana made quick work of its first opponent in the NCAA Tournament, but Temple has established a reputation as a giant slayer. The two teams will square off in the Big Dance for the first time since 1994 on Sunday when they meet in the third round of the East Regional in Dayton, Ohio. The top-seeded Hoosiers never trailed against James Madison en route to an 83-62 win on Friday, shooting better than 50 percent for the fourth straight time in a NCAA Tournament game.
The nine-seed Owls, seeking their first Sweet 16 since 2001, overcame their recent history of early exits in the NCAA Tournament with a 76-72 victory over North Carolina State behind 31 points from Atlantic-10 Player of the Year Khalif Wyatt. Temple, which went 5-3 against tournament teams in the regular season, has defeated at least one top-10 opponent in each of the last five years. The winner of this contest will meet either four-seed Syracuse or 12-seed California in Washington, D.C.
TV: 2:45 p.m. ET, CBS
ABOUT TEMPLE (24-9): Wyatt went 12-for-14 from the foul line Friday, giving him 200 made free throws – breaking the single-season school record held by Hal Lear (1955-56). His 31-point effort – his sixth 30-point performance of the season – was the best from an Owl in the NCAA Tournament since 1991 and was made even more remarkable considering the fact he injured his left thumb when he got it caught in a defender’s jersey early in the second half. ''He's as tough a competitor as I've had an opportunity to coach,'' Temple's Fran Dunphy said following the game. ''He wants the moment.'' Wyatt has hit at least nine free throws in six straight games, going 62-for-71 over that stretch.
ABOUT INDIANA (28-6): The Hoosiers – the highest-scoring team remaining in the tournament – exceeded 80 points for the 19th time. Freshman Yogi Ferrell finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists Friday, becoming only the third Indiana player to reach those totals in a NCAA Tournament game (Keith Smart in 1987 and Tom Coverdale in 2003). “Yogi certainly got us going in a great direction with the way that he moved the ball…he was able to find some great areas to attack,” coach Tom Crean said following the game. Christian Watford scored nine points Friday, giving him 1,708 points for his career and moving him into 10th place on the school’s all-time scoring list.
* Underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
* Over is 10-2 in Owls’ last 12 games following a win.
* Owls are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight NCAA Tournament games.
1. Indiana is 10-1 all-time as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
2. Temple has nine wins as a No. 9 seed or lower, tied with Gonzaga for the most since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
3. Jordan Hulls is tied with Randy Wittman and Jeff Newton for the most games played (133) by a Hoosier in school history.
(7) Illinois Fighting Illini vs. (2) Miami Hurricanes (-7.5, 128.5)
Second-seeded Miami seeks to tack another memorable chapter into the season scrapbook when it faces Illinois on Sunday in Austin, Texas with a Sweet 16 berth on the line. The No. 4 Hurricanes have only advanced to the Sweet 16 once in their mostly lackluster history but are primed to make a deep run with a talented cast that won both the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season and tournament crowns. Seventh-seeded Illinois beat Colorado in its tournament opener.
The Fighting Illini used a late 16-2 run to pull away from Colorado in a 57-49 victory. Coach John Groce is aware a better full-game effort will be needed to slay Miami. “I know that they have got great size and I know they’re going to play very hard,” Groce said. The Hurricanes trounced University of the Pacific 78-49 in their first game and getting any NCAA Tournament was a big deal to senior center Reggie Johnson and senior guard Durand Scott. “I was saying to Durand, we waited four years to play in this tournament and we finally got our first win,” Johnson said. “I went up to him and gave him a big hug and told him that we’re not done yet.”
TV: 8:40 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT MIAMI (28-6): A huge part of the Hurricanes’ meteoric rise is tied to how the players have bought into second-year coach Jim Larranaga’s system since he arrived. Johnson accepted a lesser role and Scott gave up the point-guard duties to Shane Larkin, who transformed the team and won ACC Player of the Year honors this season as a sophomore. Scott scored 21 points against Pacific, Johnson grabbed 10 rebounds and Larkin recorded nine assists. “One of the things as a coach that you want to be able to do is trust your players, especially your point guard,” Larranaga said. “And since the very first day I saw Shane Larkin play, I thought he was great. And he’s only gotten better at making decisions, at developing his skills and developing his role as a leader.” Larkin averages 14.4 points and 4.6 assists, with Scott (13.5) and senior forward Kenny Kadji (13.1) also scoring in double digits.
ABOUT ILLINOIS (23-12): The Illini are a streaky squad that often goes through feast or famine stretches. That includes shooting the basketball as Illinois missed its first 14 second-half shots against Colorado and went 3-for-22 in the half. Senior guards Brandon Paul (team-best 16.6 scoring average) and D.J. Richardson (12.5) aren’t immune to rough patches. “We’re mature players,” Richardson said. “We have been in college for four years. We have been through ups and downs throughout our careers. We are shooters. We both can shoot. We’re going to keep shooting even if they don’t fall.”
* Over is 7-0 in Hurricanes’ last seven NCAA Tournament games.
* Fighting Illini are 0-4 ATS in their last four games following a win.
* Hurricanes are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall.
1. Illinois won the lone previous meeting, 86-78 during the 1968-69 season.
2. Kadji has eight double-doubles this season.
3. Paul has led the Illini in scoring 22 times this season and 40 occasions in his career.