According to bettors, a team from the state of Indiana was widely expected to fall in the First Round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

Widely expected.

That team, of course, was 4th-seeded Indiana. A surprising majority of bets came in favoring 13th-seeded Kent State over the Hoosiers on Friday night.

The public anticipated the Golden Flashes would keep things close. And many figured Kent State would win outright.

Those people are why everything in Vegas looks so nice. It’s built on losers.

As it turns out, bettors had the right idea. Just the wrong team.

It wasn’t Indiana’s season was going down on Friday night. It was Purdue’s.

The No. 1 Boilermakers are done, eliminated in a 63-58 loss to 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson that will remain a stain on the program forever.

The Hoosiers are moving on after a thorough 71-60 win over a Golden Flashes squad that was worthy of the upset buzz. Indiana was just that much better.

And it’s because the Hoosiers might have the actual best player in the country.

Trayce Jackson-Davis steps up

On the final night of rival Zach Edey’s career, Trayce Jackson-Davis did everything in his power to make sure he wouldn’t experience the same ending. Jackson-Davis put together a stat line that’s literally never been seen in NCAA Tournament history.

He finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 assists. It’s the first time a player has put together a 20-10-5-5 game in those categories since the NCAA began tracking blocked shots in 1986.

Of course, there was a lot of basketball played prior to 1986. So maybe this wasn’t an unprecedented event.

It’s quite possible Bill Walton did something of this nature. Or a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when he was still called Lew Alcindor. Perhaps even the ultimate champion — Bill Russell at the University of San Francisco back in the 1950s.

Champions all. That’s the kind of company Jackson-Davis is likely keeping, if he’s keeping any at all.

And that is the reason any Indiana fan will gladly take their big man over Purdue’s. Edey is deserving of his accolades — Big Ten player of the year, and almost certainly national player of the year. He’s the most dominant force in the game in 2023.

But Jackson-Davis is the most versatile player in college basketball.

Edey might not be stoppable, per se —  rather than shut him down, FDU stopped his teammates from feeding him or doing anything at all. Jackson-Davis, however, impacts games regardless of how Indiana is being defensed.

There is more variety to Jackson-Davis’ game than Edey’s game, and that variety is why Jackson-Davis’ team is moving on.

It is, perhaps, not unlike a rivalry of old.

Wilt Chamberlain was the most unstoppable player in basketball history in his prime. The guy scored 100 points in a game.

But Russell, the savvy floor general who helped his teams turn defense into offense, is the most decorated winner in basketball history.

A pair of national championships at San Francisco. The Olympic gold medal. And 11 NBA titles.

More rings than fingers.

Jackson-Davis has no rings. But he does have Indiana alive for that 6th national championship banner that has eluded the program since 1987.

Despite having the more decorated player, the Boilermakers are entering their 42nd straight offseason without so much as a Final Four appearance.

A night Hoosiers fans won’t forget

Indiana fans were deliriously gleeful in the hour between Purdue’s defeat and IU’s tip against the Golden Flashes. But some of those fans also exercised caution in celebrating, perhaps afraid of stirring up the hornet’s nest of karma. (Source: Dozens of text messages on my phone from IU alumni.)

It would be the ultimate 21st-century Hoosier moment to join the Boilers in the depths of indignity.

But Purdue’s misery doesn’t have company. Not yet, anyhow.

There were moments it looked like Kent State could replicate its 2001 First Round upset of the Hoosiers. The Golden Flashes had no problem getting to the tin, but shot a stunning 9 of 30 on layup attempts.

The presence of Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson altered many of those shots, but there were plenty of biffed bunnies in the mix too.

And when it looked like Kent State might make a run — the Flashes cut Indiana’s lead from 15 to 8 — Jackson-Davis had a thunderous response that re-established the tone.

That was the moment it was made perfectly clear Indiana’s season wasn’t ending on this night.

Trayce Jackson-Davis wasn’t going to let it happen. Because that’s how good he is.