The Hoosiers were just minutes away from a shocking loss versus Temple as the clock ticked down on Sunday afternoon. But last-minute heroics from Victor Oladipo saved the day, advancing Indiana to the Sweet Sixteen for the second year straight year. Indiana University no doubt breathed a collective sigh of relief.
The Hoosiers did not look good for a majority of the game, as Temple star Khalif Wyatt was pretty much unstoppable. This is the same Khalif Wyatt who, despite having injured left thumb, still managed to score 31 in the opener against North Carolina State.
Wyatt put up 31 points during the first 37 minutes of the game, and gave Indiana fits at times. In fact, he is just the fourth player to score 30 or more points in both the round of 64 and 32 in the past decade. And he proved to be the best player the Hoosiers had faced all season.
Wyatt had 20 points in the first half alone, and the Hoosiers’ three-point deficit at half-time matched their largest of the season. But when it mattered most, he was unable to lock it down. With the game tied at 52-all, he managed to elude Oladipo to get open for a 3-pointer but missed wide. Indiana got the rebound and Oladipo was fouled. Oladipo had already missed his last two 3-pointers. But not this time. He hit the 3-pointer and made a free throw put the Hoosiers up by 1 point with just 1:19 left on the clock. Temple missed its final six shots.
Indiana is looking for its sixth national title as it takes on No. 4 seed Syracuse in the nation’s capital on Thursday. The last time the Hoosiers faced Syracuse this deep in the playoffs was the national title game in 1987, an all-time classic that the Hoosiers won.