Bad decisions. If you can boil down IU’s entire struggle with injured little meek please-govnah-don’t-hurt-us Penn State yesterday, that was it. Bad decisions.
Bad decisions from the three-point line. Bad decisions in the post. Bad decisions on defense. Whatever bad decision Jamarcus Ellis made in between now and last Wednesday. Most especially, bad decisions in the final minutes of overtime, a time when inside buckets could have helped keep the Hoosiers afloat. Bad decisions when IU opted for three-pointer after three-pointer. Bad decisions that neglected D.J. White too often and made IU look too little like the team it could have been on the eve of the Big Ten Tournament.
– The optimist in me wants to ignore the various deficiencies today. Instead, it would be just as easy to chalk this game up to late-season fatigue and apathy, similar to the ugly first 30 minutes of Wednesday’s win over the Tubby Gophers. Sunday’s first half was a display of rampant sluggishness, followed by a second half of disorganized frenzy. Both halves yielded very few made shots for IU. Neither of those things are necessarily an indictment of the team if they happen once or twice in a row, but now, since Kelvin Sampson was fired, they have happened five straight times.
We’ve been over this before, but let’s look at it again:
– Win at Northwestern, in a game that makes NU’s gimmicky offense and Kevin Coble look like UNC and Tyler Hansbrough. Lucky that Northwestern’s defense is just incompetent enough to keep IU in the game throughout.
– Win over Ohio State at home in a game that, as you were watching, felt like the Hoosiers should have been playing far more convincingly. That’s gut-feeling stuff and admittedly not very tangible, but you know what I’m talking about. (Though with Ohio State’s win over Michigan State, at least the Buckeyes look like a tournament team again.)
– The drubbing at Michigan State. Let’s not review that one again.
– Ugly 30 minutes vs. Minnesota. Eventual win thanks to briefly revived offense.
– Sunday’s loss.
See what I mean? There’s a trend there, a trend of serious systemic defensive problems, of sporadic offensive lapses, and of playing down to the level of the opponent. To chalk that up to bad shooting is to do a disservice to just how mediocre IU has been over the past three weeks. Three in a row is a trend. What does that make five?
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Now that I’ve had a couple of hours to digest the debacle earlier this afternoon at Penn State, I’ve collected my thoughts on the game, the direction of this team and the program.
E will weigh-in with more in The Morning After, but this was a game the Hoosiers needed for NCAA seeding purposes as well as confidence. Five games in, it is clear that the Dan Dakich era is not going well. A lot of people are commenting that Ray McCallum should have been the choice to replace Sampson, but that move wasn’t made because IU didn’t want to chance having McCallum’s name show up later in any NCAA allegations.
Dakich suspended Jamarcus Ellis for today’s game in a move that many are interpreting as the coach trying to “get control” of the team. Ellis was somewhat of a loose cannon in the Northwestern game and just hasn’t been disciplined since Sampson left the program. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds to the suspension and if he’s in uniform on Friday. IU is certainly a better team with Ellis, but if he’s a detriment to the team, it’s hard to justify keeping him around. No one, after all, is bigger than the program.
This team still has a chance to salvage the season, but to be perfectly honest, how can we expect this to end well? The energy and enthusiasm on the court has plummeted since Sampson departed. This is clearly a different team. The intensity on defense is sporadic at best and there is no sign of a structured offense being executed. Perhaps more concerning is the body language of the players during timeouts. Even Adam Ahlfeld has lost some pep in his step. The “us against the world” attitude that many of us expected to kick in has yet to materialize. Most of the players look like they’re ready for the nightmare to be over.
Looking to the future, it is clear that Indiana needs to make a home run hire this time around. Mike Davis and Kelvin Sampson both set the program back and another mistake would be catastrophic. Out of respect to the team, we’ve done our best to keep the coaching talk to a minimum. We’ll get into it full bore once the season ends and when speculation merits discussion.
For now, I’m interested in hearing how you feel about where this team is headed. Do you have any optimism that this team can make a run? Or is a first round loss in the NCAA Tournament on the horizon? Thoughts in the comments, por favor.
A game that Indiana hoped would be a tuneup for the Big Ten Tournament turned into a nightmare Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania.
The Hoosiers (25-6, 14-4 Big Ten) shot a dismal 21 percent from three-point range and committed 17 turnovers in a shocking 68-64 overtime loss to Penn State.
The loss dropped Indiana to third place in the Big Ten and sets the Hoosiers up for a 9PM quarterfinal Friday in the Big Ten Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Eric Gordon scored 26 points, but shot just 8 of 24 from the field including 4 of 16 from behind the three-point line. Gordon also committed five turnovers. D.J. White posted another double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Jamarcus Ellis did not travel with the team and reports indicate that he was suspended for disciplinary reasons. Jordan Crawford started in place of Ellis and scored five points on 1 of 8 shooting.
For Penn State (15-15, 7-11), D.J. Jackson had 13 points, Jeff Brooks added a career-high 12 and Talor Battle had 10. Ed DeChellis’ club was playing with its leading scorer, Jamelle Cornley, who sat out with a knee injury.
Opponent: Penn State
Date: Sunday, March 9 | 2:05 p.m. EST
Arena: Bryce Jordan Center (15,261) – University Park, PA
Line: Indiana by 8.5
All-time series: Indiana leads 27-3
Previous meeting: Indiana won 81-65 on January 20 in Bloomington
TV: ESPN (Dave O’Brien and Bob Valvano)
Radio: IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Todd Leary and Joe Smith)
- Indiana (25-5, 14-3 Big Ten): Armon Bassett, Eric Gordon, Jordan Crawford, Lance Stemler, D.J. White
- Penn State (14-15, 6-11 Big Ten): Talor Battle, Stanley Pringle, David Jackson, Andrew Jones, Brandon Hassell
Game notes (Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view):
As always, your predictions and analysis are welcome in the game thread.
(Photo credit: JoeNicholson via Flickr)
According to a report by theIndyChannel.com, the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs have hired former Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson as an adviser. Here are the details:
The San Antonio Spurs have hired Kelvin Sampson as an adviser, days after he resigned as Indiana University men’s basketball coach amid allegations he committed major NCAA rule violations, 6Sports Director Dave Furst reported Thursday. Sampson was in San Antonio’s arena during the Spurs’ 108-97 win over the visiting Indiana Pacers. He is expected to advise the defending NBA champions for the next few weeks, Furst reported. Hiring advisers is nothing new for Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. He has hired several coaches in this capacity through the years.
I’m not exactly sure what an “adviser” does on an NBA team. Considering most NBA players don’t even like to be coached, the role of an “adviser” can’t be too important. There had been speculation ever since Sampson’s resignation/firing that he’d land in the NBA and if this report is indeed accurate, it sure didn’t take long. Sampson is said to be a good friend of Popovich and this gig should keep him occupied until he faces the music in front of the NCAA in June.
The Indianapolis Star also has a report on this with some quotes from Sampson. In usual Sampson fashion, the quotes reveal next to nothing. Shocking!
PostmanR addressed the possibility of Devin Ebanks backing out of his letter of intent with Indiana and today, another report from Adam Zagoria’s blog states that the forward from Connecticut will do just that. Here is what Zagoria reported earlier today:
“I’ve heard from about 25 schools,” Lawrence McGugins, Ebanks’ AAU coach, said Thursday by phone. “It’s not going to be open recruiting. He’ll let us know the 2-4 schools (he’s considering) and I’ll contact the schools to let them know.”
Ebanks, ranked No. 2 among small forwards and No. 13 overall in the Class of 2008, has opted to de-commit from Indiana after former coach Kelvin Sampson was fired for repeated recruiting violations. Ebanks chose Indiana last summer over Miami, Rutgers and Texas.
Not a huge surprise here. Rick Bozich was the first to report Ebanks’ interest in Memphis and the Tigers appear to be the odds on favorite to land him. As far as Indiana fans are concerned, this hurts Indiana’s chances to be a top tier club next season, but beyond that the effect on the program should be minimal. Ebanks was likely a one-and-done and if he doesn’t want to come now that Sampson is gone, let him go and move on. The most important recruiting work still remains: keeping the current roster intact for next season as well as Terrell Holloway, Matt Roth and Tom Pritchard. Let’s hope the next coaching staff can do just that.