Sampson reacts to 68-63 loss to Connecticut

  • 01/26/2008 4:33 pm in

sampsonuconn.jpgIndiana coach Kelvin Sampson met with reporters following Indiana’s 68-63 loss to Connecticut and here’s a transcript of that press conference:

Opening Statement:

First of all I’d like to congratulate Coach Calhoun and Connecticut. I thought their kids played tough. They hung together, made big plays when they needed to and that’s a great win for them. We’ve been on the other side of this enough to know that situation they were in. We told our guys, we played a game similar to this when we were without Gordon, Bassett and Crawford. Those three guys were out for a game and I thought those guys being out helped us in a way because it kind of brought us together, banded us together and made us tougher. Today the toughest team won, Connecticut was just tougher than we were.

Did Thabeet affect Indiana’s offense more than they expected him to?

Not really. We had good looks. D.J.’s 13 shots, I think maybe two of them were being really contested. He had a lot of good looks. Part of our game plan was to get Thabeet out of the paint and make him guard the pick and roll, but have D.J. picking and popping versus picking and rolling. And D.J.’s a really good 15 to 17 foot shooter. So those were the shots D.J. was getting. He just didn’t shoot a very high percentage today. Basketball is a game where you have to play it together. You can’t play it by yourself. Probably for the first time all year, and it’s uncharacteristic for this team, but there will be some games like this, you just have to learn from them. This could be a great learning experience for our team and I think it will be. We’ll bounce back.

Does having a non-conference game in the middle of the conference schedule that you can learn from, but didn’t count as a conference loss, is that effect positive in any way?

You can spin this how you want to. Bottom line is, we didn’t play good enough to win. Connecticut’s team deserved to win this game tonight. There was not one facet of the game, you know they have a great point guard and their inside guys really dominated five feet and in, ten feet and in. Adrien and Robinson, Thabeet, those kids played well. Give Connecticut a lot of credit. We can sit here and talk about what we didn’t do but let’s give Connecticut some credit here. A tough situation for them, their kids came in and really played well.

You got a lot of open looks, Were you happy with the execution with the offense in this game?

I was probably a lot happier last game and I’ll probably be a lot happier next game.

On the play of Eric Gordon:

He looked like he was struggling tonight. The game didn’t come really easy to him. When you see somebody everyday, it’s easy to find out what’s wrong with them. I mean you guys see us everyday, so it’s easy to point out what’s wrong with us, but we still have a good team. This is a setback, we still have 12 more games and our team is going to win a ton more games and this may wind up being the best thing that happened to this team. Losing at home, at some point you’re going to lose at home. North Carolina lost at home last week, UCLA lost at home, I’m sure somebody else did too. I don’t worry about records. All I’m interested in is this team bouncing back. Learning from our mistakes. Not dwelling on our mistakes or talking about how poorly were are. We were bad today. There will be other games for us to be great in. This was a game today where we just didn’t play very well. No excuses, just some days you don’t play good and you have to go fix that. But at the same time, Connecticut did. They played good today, they deserved to win the game.

On the play of Jordan Crawford and what he brought:

I thought Jordan played more under control, didn’t turn it over. The first half for instance, there’s some things that jump out, I haven’t seen the film, defensive breakdowns that should not be tolerated, unacceptable. We switch most guard to guard screens, if guard screens a guard, that’s a switch. All you have to do is communicate, switch. Whoever sets the screen, that guy calls the switch. That happened two or three occasions and the guy comes out the other side and he’s standing there wide open. Switch that fellas. The same thing happened the other night against Iowa, but for some reason we did not have the edge today. That’s something we’ve gotta work on.

On losing at home and if it feels any different:

No, I’ve been doing this too long. This game, it’s one game, we’re 17-2. Nothing to be down about. I wish we had played better. I remember last year we played at Ohio State, for instance, and lost. I was disappointed we lost, but I wasn’t disappointed in our effort. We’re gonna lose some more games this year, you’re not going to go undefeated. I handle loses when I’m proud of our team’s effort. I wasn’t proud of our effort today. That’s the thing that’s disgusting to me. That’s the thing that, to me, if you’re going to lose and I’ve watched some tapes, some games from last week, good teams lose, they get out-competed. If they came out today and were making shots the Iowa kid made at the end of the game, the six threes that kid made in a minute and a half, that didn’t bother me. Those were hard shots. It’s not like we were five feet from him and he was wide open. That didn’t bother me. What bothered me today was I didn’t see our team grit their teeth. We kept trying to come back, but the one thing you notice about young teams especially, or just young kids, we’re not a young team anymore, we have some freshmen, we’re not a young team. When their shot’s not going in, that’ll dissolve their effort a little bit. You gotta grow up from that. So we’re going to try to allow this game to be a learning experience for us.

Filed to:

  • Kelin

    I wonder if anyone has ever asked KS…why EJ, armon, and Jordan, do not come off more screens? and why do we stand around so much?

  • jaime gongora

    I have to admit, I'm usually on Coach's side, but for the first time I questioned his coaching ability. At the same time I remember the team at UNC one year prior to winning the championship, they played exactly how the hoosiers are playing now. Too many one on ones, no screens, and at times lazy on a majority of possesions thinking that naturel talent will take over. I think this team has more senior leadership and thus can create a great run at the tourney. They just need to mature ( gordon, ellis, crawford, bassett, and thomas and look at the real world.

  • Purdue Peter

    Todays game showed that DJ might be a great College player against under sized under athletic talent, but what is he going to do when he gets to the next level where everyone is his size and stronger. He gets pushed out of the paint by a light breeze, Teebee or whatever that skinny f***ers name is a thin wafer away from weighing 200 pounds and repeatedly had his way with DJ in the box pushing him around, I hope he plans on playing a 3 at the next level

  • MPmike

    I didn't have a chance to watch the game, so can somebody inform me on why Ellis shot 1-7? Did he tried to force up too many one-on-one shots when driving to the basket. I'm not impress with Ellis' shot selections and some of his passing that lead to unforce turnovers. Finally, why did IU shot so few free throws and Uconn shot so many. IU was the home team, right.That's not typical for a home team especially a team like IU who lives on the line. Please insight me.

  • Disco Briscoe

    Once again we didnt have any sort of offense and we dont know how to score, move, or use mismatches. This game was harder to watch then other games…more so because we looked more lost, forcing even more bad shots, and the ball wasnt going in or bouncing our way.

    I did like going small because physically our 4's cant cut it…M. White and Thomas couldnt get off the ground or find the bucket and Stemler was getting bullied out there. I also question why we didnt go to into a 2-3 D. We have switched into it all year but today we really needed it to fight against their rebounding and second chance shots. Uconn can't shoot past 15ft and we let them get in the lane all day. I also wouldnt mind seeing some full court pressure out there. We have the depth at guard to be able to rotate people when needed and they were short handed 2 ball handlers.

  • Disco Briscoe

    DJ was fine out there today…the only way he could touch the ball was by moving out because the guards were 4 ft behind the arch all day. Also why keep the big man under hoop so he depnd shots by others? I dont think you would fare too well giving up 7inches in height (6-8 vs 7-3), a huge wingspan and a few lbs. Tabete didnt do anything on O other than capitalize when DJ lost positon to help out. DJ was more than fine today.

  • Kevin

    To comment on a few things already mentioned. DJ played fine, whoever said this is what it will be like for him in the NBA, you're wrong. I guarantee he never plays one game as a Center in the NBA. This offense needs to do something else. I can't even remember the last time I saw an off-the-ball screen. We need to find ways to create shots for our many three-point shooters.

    Sampson was right though, they just outhustled and outmuscled us, simple as that. I think this UConn team could surprise some in the tourney with their aggressive play.

  • Chuck

    I thought they played their best game of the year against Iowa and their worst today. Against Iowa we were playing as a team, moving without the ball, setting screens, and driving the lane. Not much of that today, instead it was one on one moves all freaking game (throw back Mike Davis Offense – Ugh!). I certainly hope this is a wake up call and they learn what they did differently in the 2 games. I hope this turns out to be a valuable lesson in the long run.

  • Mark

    Sampson was out coached again today. Where was the defense and rebounding going to come from with 4 guards and DJ out there? DJ is, was and will be the man. Why didn't we use Ratliff more with his long wingspan for defense? Why, when we were getting screwed over and over and over by the officials, didn't Sampson bitch more? If at anytime in his tenure at IU, today was the day to get a technical and fire up the players and crowd. The crowd was doing its part on the bad calls and Sampson just kept bending over for the officials to drive it home. There are times when a well timed technical will help a team. We needed one today and pansy butt Sampson just took it. Outcoached by Webber earlier this season and outcoached today. I suppose this is where our SOS of 160 shows we haven't played anyone yet and now we have 2 losses to top 50 RPI teams. Not a good tournament resume, even if we win 20 games against glorified HS teams. What was Gordon's problem at the end of the game? Doesn't take the open 3, drives and throws the ball away twice and crying when he didn't get a call. Quit standing around, run Gordon off screens and get him open looks. Basset hit a couple of 3's by creating his shot by coming off a screen and curling around the d. Bassett and DJ are the only two who act like they really want to win. I hope we do learn from this and realize that we have to play 40 minutes and not the last 8. Maybe Gordon thinks he's in the NBA already as he doesn't seem to get moving till the last 8 minutes of a game.

  • E'ville Corey

    It's the same old stuff i've said on here before. We won't win the tough games without setting good screens, coming off those screens tight, consistent ball movement, shortening our passes, coming to the ball, etc. Just good fundamental basketball. It's not rocket science. We have the talent but a lot of talent can hurt a team as well unless it's utilized in a very well-coached system of offense. I don't know what Sampson has been working on in practice, but we've got to take care of the basics to keep improving.

    In addition, when teams zone us on defense, we have to do a better job of attacking the zone and getting the inside out game going. With DJ inside and some great three point shooters as well as guys who can take it to the bucket and finish, we should never be standing around trying to figure out what to do agains this type of defense.

    Defensively, we still have a problem with rotating across the lane and as Sampson said, switching on the guard to guard screens. If a guy beats our man and another player comes to help out, someone has to rotate down or across the lane to take away the easy jam or bucket underneath. Again, not rocket science.

    If we can do these things, we have a good shot at another final four or tital.

  • steve

    well its obvious from this board that everyone thinks the same thing SET MORE SCREENS FOR THE SHOOTERS. Why in the hell isnt sampson seeing it? I am sick and tired of this shit, we need a coach that can coach indiana basketball. knight may have been a jerk but he knows the game! all sampson needs to show gordon is a tape of alford never stopping and waiting for a pass. instead always moving and coming off of screens. another thing is it does not take a genius to figure out that if you are being killed down low and not from the perimeter GO ZONE.
    we also need to only recruit kids that can play immediately not set the dam bench for two years to improve. the state of indiana is loaded with these type of players.

  • Purdue Peter

    Sounds good fellas except for one thing, DJ White will suck at the next level at a 4 or 5. Don't care what you “think” you know, as one guy said he will play 4 not 5, no s**t, of course he wont play a 5, I said he would play a 3 because he is NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO PLAY 4 or 5 in the league”, hell Fransisco Garcia said he was skinny, he will get tossed out the box by any 4 or 5 in the league. He is one of my fav. Hoosiers to play in the last 15 years but he is an overated player guys, sorry.

  • Alan

    I seem to remember a lot of posters commenting on how wonderful a job KS was doing balancing the players' individual skills with team basketball. KS was a genius. One loss later, he is outcoached. Let's be careful as we jump off the bandwagon. We don't want to injur ourselves.

  • Puck Furdue

    I don't remember seeing too many people praising sampson. This team is 17-2 based on its raw talent. With all the firepower this team has, it's inexcusable for it to struggle to score in long stretches. Sampson's “offensive system”, if you can even call it that, is a joke.

  • Pete

    I've never liked Sampson. Not only is he dishonest, but we are seeing his coaching weaknesses now. I'm not convinced he won't be fired after this season based on
    the NCAA findings and/or disappointing finish by this team. Greenspan has been
    pretty tight lipped about the whole thing since it came out. IT wouldn't upset me a bit
    if they send him back to Oklahoma this spring.

  • ChicagoHoosier

    While I will never be 'ok' with this loss because of the way they played, I think Thursday's contest in Madison has much bigger implications. Obviously, the game speaks for itself with regards to a B10 title, but more, I will be interested to see how this team responds after such a poor showing. I would like to think that KS will put these guys through an even more rigorous week of practice after yesterday.

  • T

    What I didn't understand was it looked like they were trying to foul #24 on UConn at the end of the game…Um, he makes 94% of his free throws.

    And while i'm not the biggest fan of Sampson, I don't think it's a big deal that he got outcoached in this game. Calhoun is one of the best coaches in basketball. Period.

    One other thing that bothered me about this game was Gordon and Ellis and Co. never following their shots. UConn's point guard got a couple of offensive rebounds and putback buckets by following his jumpshots, the Hoosiers never do that.

  • Timmy

    I was at the game yesterday and have a few thoughts.

    Physical, athletic teams will destroy us down low. I was courtside at the Xavier game and it was a carbon copy. We won't see teams like this again until the tourney because the Big Ten is so weak which is a blessing and curse.

    For those questioning us not using the motion offense, are you retarded? Motion and gimmicky offenses are for teams without talent. We use plays that exploit our athleticism to get fouled or break down D's. This doesn't help when our 300 lbs 4 wants to shoot fade away jumpers 3 ft from the basket or our 6'5″ 4 wants to turn into a mouse on offense.

    I don't know if you saw this on TV, but AJ Ratliff's body language on the bench and the players reaction to him coming off the floor indicate he is becoming a team cancer. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw another mystery suspension involving him before the end of the year.

  • MikeyD

    Excellent points Disco. Seems like KS had a bit of a narrow minded game plan, reluctant to compromise. Play toward their weakness, not into their strength. We let this one get away. Stupid turnovers down the stretch and some goofy ref calls ultimately did us in. At least it wasn't a B 10 game. Live, learn, move on.

  • ALH_00

    With Wis. losing yesterday, they'll be hungry for a win, and likely play well in the Department Store. Not only is Wed. the most meaningful game to date, but probably the toughest. If we couldn't score on UConn's bigs, we could easily experience the same problems on the road in Madison. The conference season doesn't get any easier after that either, with road games in Champagne and Columbus and home games against the Big 10's top three.

    This will be an exciting three weeks. IU better bring it's lunchpail. Go Hoosiers.

  • Alan

    I seem to remember a lot of posters commenting on how wonderful a job KS was doing balancing the players' individual skills with team basketball. KS was a genius. One loss later, he is outcoached. Let's be careful as we jump off the bandwagon. We don't want to injur ourselves.

  • Puck Furdue

    I don't remember seeing too many people praising sampson. This team is 17-2 based on its raw talent. With all the firepower this team has, it's inexcusable for it to struggle to score in long stretches. Sampson's “offensive system”, if you can even call it that, is a joke.

  • Pete

    I've never liked Sampson. Not only is he dishonest, but we are seeing his coaching weaknesses now. I'm not convinced he won't be fired after this season based on
    the NCAA findings and/or disappointing finish by this team. Greenspan has been
    pretty tight lipped about the whole thing since it came out. IT wouldn't upset me a bit
    if they send him back to Oklahoma this spring.

  • TomCoverdale's Eyebrows

    While I will never be 'ok' with this loss because of the way they played, I think Thursday's contest in Madison has much bigger implications. Obviously, the game speaks for itself with regards to a B10 title, but more, I will be interested to see how this team responds after such a poor showing. I would like to think that KS will put these guys through an even more rigorous week of practice after yesterday.

  • T

    What I didn't understand was it looked like they were trying to foul #24 on UConn at the end of the game…Um, he makes 94% of his free throws.

    And while i'm not the biggest fan of Sampson, I don't think it's a big deal that he got outcoached in this game. Calhoun is one of the best coaches in basketball. Period.

    One other thing that bothered me about this game was Gordon and Ellis and Co. never following their shots. UConn's point guard got a couple of offensive rebounds and putback buckets by following his jumpshots, the Hoosiers never do that.

  • Timmy

    I was at the game yesterday and have a few thoughts.

    Physical, athletic teams will destroy us down low. I was courtside at the Xavier game and it was a carbon copy. We won't see teams like this again until the tourney because the Big Ten is so weak which is a blessing and curse.

    For those questioning us not using the motion offense, are you retarded? Motion and gimmicky offenses are for teams without talent. We use plays that exploit our athleticism to get fouled or break down D's. This doesn't help when our 300 lbs 4 wants to shoot fade away jumpers 3 ft from the basket or our 6'5″ 4 wants to turn into a mouse on offense.

    I don't know if you saw this on TV, but AJ Ratliff's body language on the bench and the players reaction to him coming off the floor indicate he is becoming a team cancer. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw another mystery suspension involving him before the end of the year.

  • MikeyD

    Excellent points Disco. Seems like KS had a bit of a narrow minded game plan, reluctant to compromise. Play toward their weakness, not into their strength. We let this one get away. Stupid turnovers down the stretch and some goofy ref calls ultimately did us in. At least it wasn't a B 10 game. Live, learn, move on.

  • ALH_00

    With Wis. losing yesterday, they'll be hungry for a win, and likely play well in the Department Store. Not only is Wed. the most meaningful game to date, but probably the toughest. If we couldn't score on UConn's bigs, we could easily experience the same problems on the road in Madison. The conference season doesn't get any easier after that either, with road games in Champagne and Columbus and home games against the Big 10's top three.

    This will be an exciting three weeks. IU better bring it's lunchpail. Go Hoosiers.