We’ve all been guilty of it. We are finished with Kelvin Sampson, done, finito, that’s it. As you read this, Sampson could win the Big Ten, blow out Purdue by 40, capture a national title, and cure lupus (does lupus have a cure already?) and everyone would still monolithically demand Sampson’s head on a silver platter. And rightfully so.
But for all the unanimous consent to fire on this site, and among ESPN’s chosen local interviewees, last night’s game showcased an atmosphere, and a fanbase, still totally confused and weirded out by what’s happening right in front of them. I watched on TV last night, and it was clear from the Dolby 5.1 that the pregame crowd hadn’t made up its mind to boo Kelvin Sampson, nor had they decided to show solidarity with the embattled coach. Sampson was just sort of there most of the game — drawing angry comments from myself, PostmanR, and my girlfriend, all the while coaching IU to its best win of the season in front of an emotional and raucous home crowd.
Just how the hell are we supposed to feel about that?
I still don’t know. And it was clear from the Kel-vin Samp-son cheer last night — clear from friends on campus who say opinion on KS is split — that I’m not alone. No one who loves IU basketball is totally sure how to feel about all this.
For me, it’s a mixture of sadness, anger, doubt, excitement, revenge, righteousness, forgiveness. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who knows he needs to leave. It’s hard to force him out when you watch him hug his kids. It breaks the heart to see him cling for dear life in the face of certain failure. And then you remember what he did in the first place — the stupidity and arrogance — and it brings you back to the angry, vengeful thoughts you first had.
And that’s what it is right now. That mixture. That confusion. We’re on the tail end of something, and if the above paragraph was any indication, things aren’t going to be easy to synthesize anytime soon.
Wow, what a win. More later today or tomorrow from E concerning the game, but here’s the latest and the greatest from the Web this morning:
For 40 minutes, it wasn’t about Kelvin Sampson and the NCAA allegations.
Saturday night in Assembly Hall, a national audience was treated to a display of basketball that all Hoosier fans can be proud of. The offense flowed, despite the absence of D.J. White, and the defense was stifling.
The end result was a 80-61 drubbing of the Michigan State Spartans.
Despite falling behind 15-4 to start the game and White falling victim to a knee injury, the Hoosiers banded together and grabbed their first lead at 23-22 on an Armon Bassett three-pointer. They never relinquished the lead after that point.
Eric Gordon turned in a brilliant performance with 28 points on 9 of 15 shooting. He showed a full repertoire of moves including his signature long range jumped, a breakaway dunk, several layups and a midrange game that is improving. He was, for the most part, unstoppable.
Equally important to the effort was the play of the bench. The Hoosiers got 24 points from that department including 12 from Jordan Crawford and 10 from DeAndre Thomas.
As far as White’s status, he’ll have a MRI on Sunday on his left knee. He left Assembly Hall without crutches and finished with six points in 15 minutes. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious.
Credit the Indiana players and coaching staff for being prepared despite all of the distractions. Towards the end of the game, we saw Coach Sampson exhibit some emotion on the sidelines. He hugged several players in a sign that the end is nearing for his tenure in Bloomington. Make no mistake about it: Sampson loves his players and they love him. The transition that is almost certainly on its way will not be an easy one.
But for now, enjoy the win. It was a big one.
Opponent: Michigan State
Date: Saturday, February 16, 2008 | 9:03 p.m. EST
Arena: Assembly Hall (17,357) – Bloomington, Indiana
Line: Indiana by 3.5
All-time series: Indiana leads 63-42
Previous meeting: Michigan State won 66-58 in East Lansing on February 24, 2007
TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Erin Andrews, Andy Katz)
Radio: IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Todd Leary and Joe Smith)
- Michigan State (20-4, 8-3 Big Ten): Drew Neitzel, Travis Walton, Raymar Morgan, Goran Suton, Drew Naymick
- Indiana (20-4, 9-2 Big Ten): Armon Bassett, Eric Gordon, Jamarcus Ellis, Kyle Taber, D.J. White
Game Notes (Adobe Reader required to view):
As always, your predictions and analysis are welcome in the game thread.
Once again, I’ve done my best to gather news and views from around the Web this morning for your viewing pleasure. If there’s an article I missed, please drop me a note at email@example.com. Happy reading.
You gotta hand it to Erin Andrews. Not only is she stunning, she’s a
damn good solid reporter. She’s in Bloomington as we speak prepping for tomorrow night’s game with Michigan State and had some reaction from both D.J. White and Eric Gordon on the Sampson situation. Here’s what she had to say on the World Wide Leader’s 6PM edition of Sportscenter:
I have to agree with both D.J. and Gordon from the standpoint that ruining the season for the players is the wrong thing to do. They weren’t involved and that’s the most unfortunate thing about this whole situation.
*Okay, Okay, damn good might be a little strong. Now settle down and have another look at Erin.
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie announced earlier this afternoon that the school has ordered an immediate investigation into the NCAA allegations involving the basketball coaching staff and Athletic Director Rick Greenspan will report back in a week with his recommendation on the next step the school will take. (This pretty much concords with what we reported yesterday.)
“Today I am announcing that I have directed the athletics director to oversee an immediate investigation of these new allegations and make an assessment as to whether they are credible and accurate. I have given him seven days as of now to complete this task,” McRobbie told the media.
McRobbie continued, “When this investigation is completed, the athletics director will use the findings to guide him in making a recommendation to me as to what our next steps will be. I want to make it clear that all of us are going into this with no presumptions. I do not know what conclusions the investigators will come to regarding these new allegations.”
In other words, Greenspan has a week to get to the truth and provide accurate information to McRobbie. He’s also got a week to do his best to save his own job, which will be no easy task.
You can be sure about one thing: the end game of where this is going seems perfectly clear to me. At the least, Sampson will be suspended while the university gets its ducks in a row to terminate him shortly after the season. If Sampson is found to have lied to the university and the lawyers sign off, he could be gone before that time. Either way, we can all agree there’s no way he lasts beyond this season.
Here are some links to coverage from the presser from around the Web along with a word from Rob Senderoff: