Big win, huh? After hearing early in the day that Armon Bassett would miss the game alongside Eric Gordon, I was worried. Of course, I am neurotic about wins and losses; I always think IU will lose even if it should win, and I always think games are going to be closer and more challenging than they actually should be. Still, losing Eric and Armon was supposed to mean losing 40-50 points in production. But IU compensated, played well, and feasted on a Kentucky team that is just not very good at all right now. I’ll take it.
– First, that Kentucky team. How awful. I’ve been watching Kentucky basketball for, oh, 10 years — longer than I’ve been intently watching IU, thanks to a brother that used be obsessed with Kentucky — and this is by far the worst team I can remember them putting on the floor. I’m sure there have been worse teams. But this one is so thoroughly mediocre, and slow, and uncoordinated, that they never really looked like a challenge to a team missing its top two guards. That makes it tough to figure out how much of the credit for the blowout goes to the Hoosiers, and how much goes to the Cats.
– Earlier in the year, I talked about how no one on this team was a “true” point guard, and while that didn’t bother me, it did bear watching throughout the season. For all his strengths, I don’t see Kelvin Sampson as the most position-liberated coach out there; would he force Armon to be a distributing guard even though it’s clear he’s at his best as a shooter? What would he do with Jordan Crawford?
After Saturday, I think it’s clear that Crawford has the potential to be an every-play point guard on this team. He still has those freshman faults — too much lateral movement against the full court press, too many traps in the corner of the half-court, etc. But he also has a fully realized skill set. He’s great at attacking the basket, can shoot from the perimeter well, is athletic and big enough to guard opposing studs … he can do it all. It looks like he and Armon will complement each other really well in the next couple of years, each one doing some of the things the other can’t. That gives the Hoosiers plenty of guard depth to look forward to.
(More after the jump including my thoughts on Eric Gordon’s absence, Jamarcus Ellis and Sampson’s control of the program.)
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