ALBANY, NY – It was all smiles for Indiana Friday night, or rather early Saturday morning, after an NCAA Tournament opening win over Kent State.
And a comfortable win at that, as the Hoosiers trailed for all of 0:15 seconds in the entire game.
“The intensity and the fire we played with (was crucial),” says freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino. “Obviously, being in the NCAA Tournament, you’ve gotta have mental toughness. You’ve gotta take pride in every possession. I feel like last night we did that.”
A tournament win deserves celebration. But for IU, it will have to wait.
“We didn’t have much time to celebrate; it was really late,” explains senior forward Race Thompson. “We tried to get back (to the hotel), eat a little something, and get to bed. We woke up this morning, tried to eat some breakfast, watch film, and key on what Miami is going to do.”
What Miami, Indiana’s second round opponent, does best is score. The Hurricanes average nearly 80 points per game, top 25 in NCAA DI basketball. They often get out running in transition, so the Hoosiers will have to be ready to run themselves.
“We know they can get up and down,” says junior Trey Galloway. “So can we, so we just gotta be ready to go, match their intensity, and if we play hard, we’ll put ourselves in position to win.”
The tournament spotlight was not too overwhelming for the Cream and Crimson in the round of 64. They’ll try to handle it just as well in the round of 32 against Miami, tip off scheduled for 8:40 p.m. Sunday inside MVP Arena.