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March 16, 2013CHICAGO - Victor Oladipo has his share of highlight dunks, but Friday's is up there with the best of them, at least the ones that have come in games.
The Indiana junior threw down a 360-degree jam in late going of the top-seeded Hoosiers' 80-64 victory.
Jordan Hulls made a steal along the sideline and threw the ball ahead past halfcourt to Oladipo. The 6-foot-5 junior came in from the right side, spun in front of the basket and threw it down as Cody Zeller and Yogi Ferrell watched.
"I knew I was going to do something when I caught it, but I don't know, it was just a last-second thought," Oladipo said. "I thought about it while I was in the air, so I just kind of turned around when I was in the air. And no, that's not my best one."
It's certainly not the best one his teammates have seen. Those have come in practice.
"I'd give it an eight," junior Will Sheehey said of Friday's 360. "You should see what Vic can do. He can do better.
"I've seen him go off the side of the backboard 360. That's pretty nice. He can do the between-the-legs stuff, too."
NCAA SEEDING WATCH
If Indiana (27-5) didn't have a No. 1 seed secure after winning at Michigan, it's hard to fathom the Hoosiers don't at this point.
Duke, a strong contender for a 1 seed going into Friday's games, fell to seventh-seeded Maryland 83-74 in the ACC quarterfinals. That was the opening postseason game for the Blue Devils (27-5), who had a first-round bye. Maryland was 8-10 in ACC play during the regular season.
Now the most relevant conversation probably is about the No. 1 overall seed.
The main seeding objective for Indiana is to be a high enough 1 seed so its path goes through Indianapolis and the Regional at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The NCAA Selection Committee starts with the overall No. 1 seed, places it in the region closest to home, then goes down the list of other No. 1s, doing the same. The Regional sites are Washington, D.C. (East), Los Angeles (West), Dallas (South) and Indianapolis (Midwest).
Louisville appears to be the only remaining threat to the Hoosiers' path going through Indianapolis. The Cardinals beat Notre Dame 69-57 Friday night in the Big East semifinals and play Syracuse tonight in the finals.
If Indiana wins the Big Ten Tournament, the math certainly suggests it would be locked in as the overall No. 1 seed, regardless of what anyone else does.
If the Cardinals are a higher No. 1 seed that Indiana, they would get to play closest to home, which would be Indianapolis. If IU is a higher No. 1 seed, the Hoosiers get Indianapolis and Louisville would go to another region.
No matter which 1 seed Gonzaga gets assuming that does happen - the Zags end the year ranked No. 1 in the polls, are 31-2 and won the West Coast Conference at 16-0 - it will have little impact because the Zags would be in the West as each of the other three regions are closer.
Even if Miami jumps Duke for a 1 seed, which seems quite possible at this point, the closest regional to the Hurricanes is the East (Washington, D.C.).
With seven minutes to play in the first meeting between Indiana and Illinois, the Hoosiers led by eight, 62-54. They lost 74-72.
With seven minutes to play in Friday's Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal rematch, Indiana led by eight, 60-52. The Hoosiers won 80-64.
That's an 18-point difference in Indiana's closing kick.
"We learned from that game," senior Christian Watford said. "We looked at the film last night, and we took some things. We know we shouldn't have done some things. We let one get away. We knew what they do, and we kept grinding it out and kept playing."
While having five players in double figures was the obvious offensive headline, Remy Abell also put some points on the board.
Abell, who had scored five points the previous six games combined, scored five Friday to go with two assists in 12 minutes.
When he entered the game on his first rotation of the second half, Abell hit a 3-pointer that put the Hoosiers up 53-40, then fed Watford for a 3-pointer a little more than a minute later.
"When my name's called, I just want to be ready," Abell said.
Indiana's 27 wins are tied for the sixth most in a season in program history. The 32 wins of the unbeaten 1975-76 team are the school record. IU has won 27 games nine times in program history, and Tom Crean has coached two of those teams. ... Zeller led Indiana in deflections against Illinois with 15. "I beat Vic again, so I've been giving him a hard time about that," Zeller said in the locker room, smiling over at Oladipo. ... Zeller was 9-for-11 from the field, tied for third best shooting percentage in a Big Ten Tournament game with a minimum of 10 attempts. ... Oladipo has three career double-doubles and two have been in the past two games. He had 12 points and 11 rebounds against Illinois and 14 points and 13 rebounds at Michigan.
MOST INDIANA WINS IN A SEASON