NCAA Tournament Second-Round Preview: Indiana vs. Miami

The fourth-seeded Indiana Hoosiers and the fifth-seeded Miami Hurricanes avoided the fate of several other high-major programs in round one of the NCAA Tournament. The two will clash on Sunday evening with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line. Indiana dispatched MAC Champions Kent State comfortably, and the Miami Hurricanes survived a stern test from the Drake Bulldogs on Friday evening. This is projected to be a tight matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers, a slight 1.5-point favorite heading into the contest—the game tips at approximately 8:40 pm EST.

The Matchup

The Hoosiers have one of the best players in the country manning the middle in Trayce Jackson-Davis. The first-team All-American big man is excellent in space and is the focal point of any defensive game plan against Indiana. Not only does “TJD” score at a very efficient clip in the paint, but he is also an outstanding rebounder and passer. His rim protection and shot-blocking make a significant difference for IU’s defense. Jackson-Davis leads Indiana in scoring, rebounding, passing, and blocking shots.

The Miami Hurricanes will lien on Norchad Omier, a talented big man in his own right, to deal with the Hoosiers’ interior attack. Omier averages 13.6 points and 9.8 rebounds on the season. Still, he is dealing with an ankle injury suffered in the ACC Tournament, and it is unclear if he will be 100% for the matchup against Indiana.

Forward Race Thompson had his best game of the season against Kent State, scoring 20 points and looking as healthy as he has all year. Miami typically plays four guards, so how the Hurricanes guard Thompson and who the senior forward matches up with on the defensive end will be exciting.

Miami hopes Omier can play Jackson-Davis relatively close to a draw on Sunday night. Omier does not need to win the head-to-head battle but must avoid getting completely overwhelmed.

#4 Indiana vs. #5 Miami (FL) Odds on FanDuel

  • Spread: Indiana -1.5 (-115) | Miami (FL) +1.5 (-105)
  • Moneyline: Indiana -128 | Miami (FL) +106
  • Total: OVER 145.5 (-110) | UNDER 145.5 (-110)

The backcourt battle will be where the Hurricanes look to win the game. They are led by the terrific trio of Isaiah Wong (15.8 points per game), Jordan Miller (15 points per game), and Nijel Pack (13.4 points per game). Indiana only has three healthy scholarship guards, and it will be tough for Jalen Hood-Schifino, Trey Galloway, and Tamar Bates to go toe-to-toe with the Canes guards for 40 minutes.

IU’s backcourt combined to go only 5-20 from the field against Kent State on Friday night; they’ll need to be much better on Sunday. While Miami will go guard-heavy and look to push the ball in transition, the Hoosiers will try to make Miami matchup with its bigger lineups featuring two interior players along with forward Miller Kopp. The Miami Hurricanes excel in an uptempo game and score very well in transition. Indiana can run selectively but must focus on forcing Miami into a half-court game.

If Indiana can prevent the Miami Hurricane guards from consistently getting to the line and earning points from the charity stripe, the Hoosiers will probably feel good about their chances to limit Miami’s offense. On the other side, IU knows what to expect from Jackson-Davis. Getting good games from two to three other contributors is the key to punching their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen.