The Morning After: Minnesota

  • 03/06/2008 11:30 am in

whitegordon.jpgJudging by the comments in our game thread last night, this was not a game most of you were stressing. That makes sense: It’s a late-season Big Ten game against Minnesota, the conference is now fully out of reach, and it comes after a lackadaisical 30 point drubbing at the hands of Michigan State. Not to mention the Coaching Situation of Which We Do Not Speak.

Moreover, those of us watching at home got to feel the pangs of senior night, but it’s not like this is the last time we get to see D.J. White suit up. There’s Penn State on Saturday, then the Big Ten Tournament, then the NCAA’s, then, if you really want to get devoted, you can become a fan of whatever NBA team takes White in the late first round. (And Eric Gordon in the lottery.) So no matter which way you slice the thing, last night’s game was a little boring. It was emotional without being heartbreaking, important without being dire, and interesting without being enthralling. It was IU-Minnesota on
March 5. Apathy ruled the day.

— Of course, it didn’t help that the Hoosiers were so sluggish for the first 30 minutes of the game. If we were nonplussed, what were they? D.J.’s three aside – at least he got that under his belt as a Hoosier – was there a single exciting moment in the first half?

Part of that is the situation: March 5 vs. Minnesota. But part of that seems worrisome. Since Dan Dakich took over as head coach, he’s done the following:

  • Barely beaten then-0-13 Northwestern in a defensively horrid performance.
  • Barely beaten a bubble-scrounging Ohio State team at home; again, not a great defensive performance.
  • Gotten absolutely blasted out of the gym against one-time offensive force of nature (1.5 PPP!) Michigan State.
  • Played sluggish, ugly basketball at home against the 8-8 Minnesota Gophers and Tubby “How long do I have to be mediocre before people stop calling me great?” Smith.

In each of the above games, the defense regressed while the offense has improved. If I remember correctly, Dakich claimed at the beginning of his tenure that he planned to keep the offense in place, but that he would tinker with the defense. Maybe four games is too small a sample size to judge, but note to Senor Dakich: STOP TINKERING.

Put down your tinker toys. Stop touching the tink. De-tink yourself. Whatever it is you’re doing – playing more man-to-man, adjusting rotations, whatever it is – stop it. Stand there on the sideline, call the occasional inbounds play, and get the hell out of the way.

— Now is the time of the year when people are sincerely focused on seeding, bubble position, and Bracketology. If the Hoosiers were seeded today (according to ESPN bracket pointy brain Joe Lundardi), the Hoosiers would be a No. 4 seed. That position needs a little improving – those 4/13 and 5/12 games are usually rife with upsets. So while the impending Big Ten Tourney is an after thought in IU’s tourney hopes, winning the thing and getting up to a No. 3 or maybe (but probably not) a No. 2 would be spectacular. That will require IU to play defense, though; let’s not hold our breath.

— Finally, a last note about the seniors. Our game wrap alluded to it last night, but is there a bigger trooper in college basketball than D.J. White? In high school, recruits like White are promised the world. They’re promised a national title shot, conference wins, NBA money, and, if they’re Memphis recruits, who knows what else. But most of all, they’re promised – or they should be promised – stability. A father figure. Someone to watch out for them when they’re out and away from their cocoon for the first time in their lives.

D.J.’s never had that. He got to IU as a raw prospect and suffered through two .500 seasons under Mike Davis. When Davis finally pooled some post talent together, D.J. and Marco Killingsworth were set to dominate the Big Ten. After Killingsworth’s incredible performance against Duke – I’ll never forget the sound Assembly Hall made when he dunked on that fast break – he broke down, and just as soon as D.J. recovered from his injury he was hurt yet again.

And then Mike Davis got fired. And then his best friend, Robert Vaden, left. And then he put his trust in a new coach – decided to stay at IU – only to have that trust revoked because Sampson couldn’t find it in his power to keep his damn hands off his cell phone.

Yet there D.J. was, last night, banging down low, hitting mid-rangers (something his game used to sorely lack), dropping a three, rebounding, and, yes, smiling. D.J. was promised a lot at IU, and has received very little in return. He deserved every cheer he got last night, and every single penny of the money he’ll get this summer.

Filed to:

  • Through everything D.J. White has carried himself with an incredible amount of poise, grace and class and should be considered among the great Hoosier big men of all-time. Maybe when his playing days are through he'll have the sense not to buy courtside season tickets, wear awful Cosby-esque sweaters and give his opinion about the program to anyone and everyone with a microphone and a notepad and act like a self-aggrandizing has-been. *Cough* Kent Benson *Cough*

  • T

    Nice thoughts on the game in general – I'm pretty sure you won't find a more popular person in Bloomington than D.J. White is.
    (Although I would disagree with you that Tubby Smith is mediocre, he won a national title, as well as had Kentucky be one seeds in the tournament a number of times…he might not be a 'great' coach, but mediocre is a bit of an understatement. I think Jim Boheim is more mediocre then Tubby Smith…if you're looking for an overrated coach that is.)

    Random note: Deandre Thomas, Lance Stemler, JaMarcus Ellis, Kyle Taber, Adam Ahlfeld, Jordan Crawford, Brandon McGee, Brett Finklemier (?!) and James Hardy were all at half price Kilroy's Sports last night celebrating the victory. I feel like Inside the Hall faithful need to know these things

  • Errr….some of those names shouldn't have been in a bar.

  • DJ did not suffer through both of the .500 Mike Davis season. He was not here for the 14-15 2003-2004 season. He was here for the 15-14 2004-2005 season. The 03-04 season featured a front line that included George “at least I played my best game ever in the Final Four” Leach, a 6'2″ power forward, and multiple starts for Mike Roberts.

    I will now go drink heavily to ease of pain of recalling that.

  • garydavid711

    they were better last night defense–held gophers under 55–I know they still need to improve but this was a positive step in the right direction
    offense-they need to move and screen,cut sharper,more quickly and run the high offense more to allow dribble/drive with backcuts–when have you seen iu use backcuts? of course it would help if Gordon/Stemler would start hitting the outside shot-Stemler is a head scratcher he was a awesome 3 pt shooter before coming to iu. what happen?

  • Ricky

    I guess we could say that this was the best game so far under Dakich's rule…although…I guess that doesn't make me feel any better about it. this sucks, this team really needs to turn its shit around

    and for all you people not there, when Dan Dakich thanked Greenspan during his speech, everyone in the arena booed. it was glorious

  • Empathy or Apathy?

  • “what happen?”

    He's not shooting against JUCO talent anymore.

  • Joe

    That kind of pisses me off that Big Ten network doesn't have the video of the whole senior night. This is the very first one that I have not been able to watch since I can remember. On a side note, just watching the game, why doesn't Gordon shoot that runner in the lane more ofter? For the life of me I will never understand this kid and the way he plays ball.

  • They're supposed to have it later today. Apparently there is some editing to do.

  • xxZPxx

    I'm sure Stemler had on FUBU gear and was wearing sweet sunglasses up on the second floor attempting to fit in.

  • ALH_00

    JUCO talent has nothing to do with it…he only shoots wide open looks. His % is disappointing, but he does have good shot selection.

  • Sherron Wilkerson

    Here here, nice piece on DJ, that kid left it all on the floor for us, I would have even considered putting his jersey in the rafters for everything he has been through for this university, but that would just make future generations ask, Dad, why is that 3 up there? And the Dad would have to answer, thats DJ White, they hung that up there, well, because he went through hell for this team and was still smiling at the end, which in the end isn't why guys get their jerseys retired, and were certainly not UNC when it comes to that crap. Great career DJ, enjoy the applause when you come back to B-town, you defiantly shot up to the top 3 of my list of favorite Hoosier players after this season.

  • HoosierSmitty

    It hasn't won't happen….Lance is a “hustle” player capable of being in the right place at the right time for the chance to hit a big shot. He's come through before, so let's hope it happens again if we need.

    Gordon's shooting woes are perplexing to say the least. I have less confidence in him as the season has progressed. At least he still finds a way to get to the strip and has worked on that midrange game a little it seems.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Agreed. DJ gets up there with Cheaney and Moye for me.

    Charlie Miller and his big ears….you coulda been a contender!

  • Great piece, suprised for the lack of love for Ellis though. He played great.

    However, it was truly DJ's night, even though he did seem a bit soft. 5 boards isn't his best night.

  • JamesHardy

    mid-range game??? it's either a wide open 3 or the occassional put back garbarge basket. Other than shooting free throws, which I can't remember the last time he did that…when has he taken a shot between 7 and 18 feet?

  • Whoops, apathy. *Definitely* apathy.

  • JamesHardy

    That's cuz Ellis finally showed up and took some of DJ's boards. Also, did you notice how much PINE TIME that EJ got last night? He made a HORRIBLE pass that caused an over-n-back call and was immediately jerked for the bench! WHERE THE HELL HAS THAT BEEN ALL YEAR???

  • JamesHardy

    I can neither confirm nor deny that I was in the bar last night……that's classified

  • JamesHardy


    ~EJ…”Damn dawg…I told you not in public!”

  • Abs

    I agree with a lot of what you said here, but I thought last night was a positive step for the D. 0.887 PPP is pretty good and is right on par with how the D performed at Minnesota (0.885 PPP in that game). So I was pretty pleased with the D.

    I was also pleased to see Ellis seeming to have his head in the game and playing well. He was huge for the defense last night:

  • Sorry. The writer in me came out.

  • WTF?

    Surprise! Buttsecks!

  • I was too busy to write last night, and hadn't had my coffee this morning when I started digging in. It'll happen.

  • and lucky for DJ that he wasn't part of that atrocious 03-04 team. what was so disgraceful about that squad was that AJ moye had to have his senior season with donald perry and sean kline getting 20 minutes-plus. remember, that team started 5-1 in big ten play then totally choked down the stretch and lost something like 17 games at assembly hall.

    my favorite game that season came against then-#5 missouri. IU led 58-48 with 4 minutes left and lost 63-58. that game is a perfect example of the debacle that was that season.

  • TJ

    Here is a nice little tid bit I thought I would throw in…My little brother's girlfriend has a roommate who has been “dating” or “messing around with” Armon Bassett since around September. The other day when we stopped by their place she says that he is seriously considering transferring. Any further than that, she doesn't know. We tried to ask her about whether or not it would depend on the new coach was or whatever but she doesn't know, but said he has been talking about it.

    How stupid would this kid be to abandon a starting spot after such marked improvement this year? As far as the source, I don't know the girl all too well, just thought I would put it out there for discussion.

  • ALH_00

    He hit one nice runner against Minny…and a mid-range jumper. Not enough, but it's there.

  • HoosierSmitty

    hence “a little”

  • JamesHardy

    confirms my gut feeling that sunk in after the radio interview…well…sort of

  • JamesHardy

    confirms my gut feeling that sunk in after the radio interview…well…sort of