Ripe for an upset? Not so fast

  • 01/17/2008 8:00 am in

tubby.jpgThe word on the street is that the Hoosiers are ripe for an upset tonight in Minneapolis. Terry Hutchens of the Indy Star addressed it earlier this week and Paging Jim Shikenjanski, a Minnesota blog, has already predicted the Gophers will knock off IU at the Barn.

Nothing against Minnesota, I think they’re a nice story and a possible NCAA team if they finish fifth or better in the conference, but nothing about their resume screams: “We’re ready to knock off a top 10 opponent.”

Consider this: They’ve played three teams with RPI’s in the top 100 and lost all three times. (At Florida State, At UNLV and At Michigan State.)

If you thought IU’s non-conference schedule was weak, Minnesota’s was flat out terrible. They feasted on cupcakes like UC Riverside, South Dakota State, Army and Kennesaw State. Their best win, according to the RPI, is Nicholls State at No. 121.

Does this sound like a team that is ready to derail D.J. White, Eric Gordon and company?

Maybe I’m missing something here, but I like IU’s chances despite their 2-8 record in their last 10 games at Williams Arena. This stat is thrown around a lot, but do you think it means anything to Gordon, Jamarcus Ellis and Jordan Crawford? Wait, I can answer that for you: It means nothing.

We’ve become so spoiled with the early season success of the Hoosiers that we’re looking for things to critique despite their current 10-game winning streak. I do it, you do it, we all do it. We’re fans, that’s what we do, right?

Sure, they were blown out by Xavier, grinded it out at Iowa and had a tough game Sunday against Illinois.

The fact is the Hoosiers are winning despite not playing their best basketball and not having a full complement of players at their disposal. It started with A.J. Ratliff being ineligible, shifted to suspensions of Jordan Crawford and Armon Bassett and now it’s injuries to Bassett and Eli Holman. But that’s what good teams do. They find ways to win.

And that is exactly what I expect out of the Hoosiers tonight against Tubby Smith and the Golden Gophers.

We’ll have coverage of the game tonight as usual, but right now, we welcome your predictions and discussion of tonight’s game.

Filed to:

  • Jerry

    Mlove is right except for one thing…..Uconn. They outplayed us last year except for assists and foul shooting AND those are solved this year. Who from IU is going to guard the 7’3″ guy……..Mike White ? They are also hungry for a signature win after losing close games to Gonzaga and Georgetown . I donot like our defensive matchups in this one and the game kicks off the tough stretch.

  • Zac

    This could very well be the toughest game of the season thus far. In fact I’m pretty sure it is. However, we can win this game if we play hard enough and we’ll enough to EARN it. I dont think we will be able to show up tonight and “out talent” them. That only works against younger teams on neutral or our home floors. This game wont make or break our season if we win or lose but I really do feel that it will tell us a great deal about where our team is at right now. Prediction: IU 77-MINN 74

  • Zac

    This could very well be the toughest game of the season thus far. In fact I’m pretty sure it is. However, we can win this game if we play hard enough and we’ll enough to EARN it. I dont think we will be able to show up tonight and “out talent” them. That only works against younger teams on neutral or our home floors. This game wont make or break our season if we win or lose but I really do feel that it will tell us a great deal about where our team is at right now. Prediction: IU 77-MINN 74

  • Zac

    This could very well be the toughest game of the season thus far. In fact I’m pretty sure it is. However, we can win this game if we play hard enough and we’ll enough to EARN it. I dont think we will be able to show up tonight and “out talent” them. That only works against younger teams on neutral or our home floors. This game wont make or break our season if we win or lose but I really do feel that it will tell us a great deal about where our team is at right now. Prediction: IU 77-MINN 74

  • Zac

    This could very well be the toughest game of the season thus far. In fact I’m pretty sure it is. However, we can win this game if we play hard enough and we’ll enough to EARN it. I dont think we will be able to show up tonight and “out talent” them. That only works against younger teams on neutral or our home floors. This game wont make or break our season if we win or lose but I really do feel that it will tell us a great deal about where our team is at right now. Prediction: IU 77-MINN 74

  • yo

    Last year when IU played UCONN they didnt have this D.J. White, Jamarcus Ellis, and I almost forgot Eric Gordon. Who on Calhoun’s team will stop Eric Gordon?….NO ONE. Sundays game Eric Gordon went up against possibly the best on ball defender in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country and scored 17 points DJ is playing to good right now and who is the second scoring option for UCONN Stanley Robinson what a joke. Any given night Ellis,White,Gordon,Basset,Crawford,Thomas,Stemler can give this IU team 20 points the real question can be who is going to guard 290 lb DeAndre because if Thabeet guards he weighs all of 210 and will get pushed around and wont no what to do

  • yo

    Last year when IU played UCONN they didnt have this D.J. White, Jamarcus Ellis, and I almost forgot Eric Gordon. Who on Calhoun’s team will stop Eric Gordon?….NO ONE. Sundays game Eric Gordon went up against possibly the best on ball defender in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country and scored 17 points DJ is playing to good right now and who is the second scoring option for UCONN Stanley Robinson what a joke. Any given night Ellis,White,Gordon,Basset,Crawford,Thomas,Stemler can give this IU team 20 points the real question can be who is going to guard 290 lb DeAndre because if Thabeet guards he weighs all of 210 and will get pushed around and wont no what to do

  • SocksShortsSwish

    I hate to resort to somewhat personal attacks, but since Timmy so kindly started his second entry with “Dear Losers,” I’ll fail to be the bigger man here.

    Timmy seems to be the problem with about 25% of bloggers and blog commenters. Unfortunately, this 25% (a gross estimate) tends to be the loudest and most obnoxious.

    This group of inter-nuts over think things, whittling sequoias down to toothpicks. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a loss help someone. In the words of Herm Edwards, “You play to win the game. Hello?”

    One of the joys I’ve found on this site is that it’s in-depth without overthinking, a true fan site while keeping a healthy and accurate outlook on what real college basketball is, and what that means for Indiana.

    I had a taste of college athletics, albeit playing a different sport at a Division III school. And I’ll tell you what, I don’t think any coach, player or administrator ever thought it might be a good thing if we lost a game–to wake us up.

    Kelvin seems to be serving his fair share of Humble Pie, and grounded stars such as DJ and EJ won’t let this team think for one second that anything will come easy. I, for one, will be hoping we win every game.

  • SocksShortsSwish

    I hate to resort to somewhat personal attacks, but since Timmy so kindly started his second entry with “Dear Losers,” I’ll fail to be the bigger man here.

    Timmy seems to be the problem with about 25% of bloggers and blog commenters. Unfortunately, this 25% (a gross estimate) tends to be the loudest and most obnoxious.

    This group of inter-nuts over think things, whittling sequoias down to toothpicks. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a loss help someone. In the words of Herm Edwards, “You play to win the game. Hello?”

    One of the joys I’ve found on this site is that it’s in-depth without overthinking, a true fan site while keeping a healthy and accurate outlook on what real college basketball is, and what that means for Indiana.

    I had a taste of college athletics, albeit playing a different sport at a Division III school. And I’ll tell you what, I don’t think any coach, player or administrator ever thought it might be a good thing if we lost a game–to wake us up.

    Kelvin seems to be serving his fair share of Humble Pie, and grounded stars such as DJ and EJ won’t let this team think for one second that anything will come easy. I, for one, will be hoping we win every game.

  • SocksShortsSwish

    I hate to resort to somewhat personal attacks, but since Timmy so kindly started his second entry with “Dear Losers,” I’ll fail to be the bigger man here.

    Timmy seems to be the problem with about 25% of bloggers and blog commenters. Unfortunately, this 25% (a gross estimate) tends to be the loudest and most obnoxious.

    This group of inter-nuts over think things, whittling sequoias down to toothpicks. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a loss help someone. In the words of Herm Edwards, “You play to win the game. Hello?”

    One of the joys I’ve found on this site is that it’s in-depth without overthinking, a true fan site while keeping a healthy and accurate outlook on what real college basketball is, and what that means for Indiana.

    I had a taste of college athletics, albeit playing a different sport at a Division III school. And I’ll tell you what, I don’t think any coach, player or administrator ever thought it might be a good thing if we lost a game–to wake us up.

    Kelvin seems to be serving his fair share of Humble Pie, and grounded stars such as DJ and EJ won’t let this team think for one second that anything will come easy. I, for one, will be hoping we win every game.

  • MKH

    I don’t believe in a “wakeup loss”. You can build confidence winning just as easily as you can build it after a loss. I don’t understand the logic of those actively wishing their teams would lose. A loss is just as likely to cause a tailspin as anything else (and really, I don’t think the result of one game tends to have too much effect on a season anyway). In this case, IU is playing reasonably well and learning something each game. If that’s the case, what more do you want?

    IU 77, Minn 68. I think it’ll be close at the end, but IU pulls away on free throws.

  • MKH

    I don’t believe in a “wakeup loss”. You can build confidence winning just as easily as you can build it after a loss. I don’t understand the logic of those actively wishing their teams would lose. A loss is just as likely to cause a tailspin as anything else (and really, I don’t think the result of one game tends to have too much effect on a season anyway). In this case, IU is playing reasonably well and learning something each game. If that’s the case, what more do you want?

    IU 77, Minn 68. I think it’ll be close at the end, but IU pulls away on free throws.

  • MKH

    I don’t believe in a “wakeup loss”. You can build confidence winning just as easily as you can build it after a loss. I don’t understand the logic of those actively wishing their teams would lose. A loss is just as likely to cause a tailspin as anything else (and really, I don’t think the result of one game tends to have too much effect on a season anyway). In this case, IU is playing reasonably well and learning something each game. If that’s the case, what more do you want?

    IU 77, Minn 68. I think it’ll be close at the end, but IU pulls away on free throws.

  • Per Doris Burke of ESPN, Bassett is likely to start tonight.

  • Per Doris Burke of ESPN, Bassett is likely to start tonight.

  • Stephen

    This is “drink a few beers” to relax game. Unfortunately, I just had my wisdom teeth yanked out on Monday, and the doc says no alcohol. Crap!

    Seriously, though. I think we pull it out, but I’m going to be stressing the whole game. I want to see some solid defense. I think we’ve been lacking that this year. Teams with any semblance of an offense have scored on us too easily.

    Ellis triple double tonight? I’m feeling it for some reason…

  • Stephen

    This is “drink a few beers” to relax game. Unfortunately, I just had my wisdom teeth yanked out on Monday, and the doc says no alcohol. Crap!

    Seriously, though. I think we pull it out, but I’m going to be stressing the whole game. I want to see some solid defense. I think we’ve been lacking that this year. Teams with any semblance of an offense have scored on us too easily.

    Ellis triple double tonight? I’m feeling it for some reason…

  • You convince yourself that an upset isn’t possible and I’ll convince myself that it is.

    When all is said and done I don’t think the gophers have enough to pull it out, but don’t poo-poo the affect the Barn will have on the Hoosiers.

    Gopher Nation

  • Mark

    As with all Big 10 road games and at a place we don’t do well with and Sampson hasn’t taken the Hoosiers to yet, I’m nervous.

  • You convince yourself that an upset isn’t possible and I’ll convince myself that it is.

    When all is said and done I don’t think the gophers have enough to pull it out, but don’t poo-poo the affect the Barn will have on the Hoosiers.

    Gopher Nation

  • Mark

    As with all Big 10 road games and at a place we don’t do well with and Sampson hasn’t taken the Hoosiers to yet, I’m nervous.

  • MLove

    Stephen – I am wit it (triple double), and i agree defense has lacked some, but that is due in a large part to teaching freshman abt ball screens and things of such, and jsut overall learning. Yet, i will say that i just read soemthing that IU defense thus far in terms of statistics i believe are a tad better then last yrs.

  • MLove

    Stephen – I am wit it (triple double), and i agree defense has lacked some, but that is due in a large part to teaching freshman abt ball screens and things of such, and jsut overall learning. Yet, i will say that i just read soemthing that IU defense thus far in terms of statistics i believe are a tad better then last yrs.

  • L. Rubes

    I think EJ has a break out game scoring 35+ en route to a comfortable win

    Just throwing that out there

  • L. Rubes

    I think EJ has a break out game scoring 35+ en route to a comfortable win

    Just throwing that out there

  • Sherron Wilkerson

    No doubt we will lose tonight, unless somebody is smokin hot from behind the arc someone on our team (most likely Ellis or Crawford or Stemler) will pull some And1 tour BS out of their ass when were down 3 and shoot a behind the back hook shot after a bad drive. Until Sampson address the issue of how important possessions are in a tight game we will lose close games on the road, I would rather Gordon shoot from 40 then for Crawford, Ellis or Stemler to even look at the ball in a close game

  • Sherron Wilkerson

    No doubt we will lose tonight, unless somebody is smokin hot from behind the arc someone on our team (most likely Ellis or Crawford or Stemler) will pull some And1 tour BS out of their ass when were down 3 and shoot a behind the back hook shot after a bad drive. Until Sampson address the issue of how important possessions are in a tight game we will lose close games on the road, I would rather Gordon shoot from 40 then for Crawford, Ellis or Stemler to even look at the ball in a close game

  • Sherron Wilkerson

    No doubt we will lose tonight, unless somebody is smokin hot from behind the arc someone on our team (most likely Ellis or Crawford or Stemler) will pull some And1 tour BS out of their ass when were down 3 and shoot a behind the back hook shot after a bad drive. Until Sampson address the issue of how important possessions are in a tight game we will lose close games on the road, I would rather Gordon shoot from 40 then for Crawford, Ellis or Stemler to even look at the ball in a close game

  • T

    I think a concern that is being overlooked is the Gophers ability to force turnovers. The Hoosiers have struggled with turnovers, and now they’re playing in a hostile enviornment against a team that has the Big Ten leader in steals.

    They need to take care of the basketball – If they can do that I think the Hoosiers keep streaking. If they’re as careless as they were against Tool of I and the Georgia Tech game a while back, I like Minnesota.

    (And I know this has nothing to do with anything, but as a White Sox fan, I just assume anytime one of my teams goes to Minnesota for anything they’re going to lose…’cause the White Sox can never win in the Metrodungan.)

  • T

    I think a concern that is being overlooked is the Gophers ability to force turnovers. The Hoosiers have struggled with turnovers, and now they’re playing in a hostile enviornment against a team that has the Big Ten leader in steals.

    They need to take care of the basketball – If they can do that I think the Hoosiers keep streaking. If they’re as careless as they were against Tool of I and the Georgia Tech game a while back, I like Minnesota.

    (And I know this has nothing to do with anything, but as a White Sox fan, I just assume anytime one of my teams goes to Minnesota for anything they’re going to lose…’cause the White Sox can never win in the Metrodungan.)

  • Normally, it would be possible for a team to cruise and relax, as they tune out the coach during a long win streak, but when you have a vocal senior leader like DJ and a superstar who is as hardworking as EJ is, it’s much harder for that to happen.

    I don’t think they’re coasting or in need of a wake-up call, I just think their struggling with Basset’s injury, getting Ratliff up to speed, and normal freshman growing pains.

  • Normally, it would be possible for a team to cruise and relax, as they tune out the coach during a long win streak, but when you have a vocal senior leader like DJ and a superstar who is as hardworking as EJ is, it’s much harder for that to happen.

    I don’t think they’re coasting or in need of a wake-up call, I just think their struggling with Basset’s injury, getting Ratliff up to speed, and normal freshman growing pains.

  • Normally, it would be possible for a team to cruise and relax, as they tune out the coach during a long win streak, but when you have a vocal senior leader like DJ and a superstar who is as hardworking as EJ is, it’s much harder for that to happen.

    I don’t think they’re coasting or in need of a wake-up call, I just think their struggling with Basset’s injury, getting Ratliff up to speed, and normal freshman growing pains.

  • ALH ’00

    That dude at Gopher Nation is using your material in an attempt to convince himeself that MN could actually win tonight. Then comes here to plant seeds of doubt in IU fans’ minds.

    IU WILL NOT LOSE TO MN! Barn or whatever…experience or whatever. Bottom line: IU has more talent at (nearly) every position. MN is playing sound basketball because they have a good coach. So does IU. If MN matched up well in any facet, I could see the “upset talk”. But really, MN is not very good and the Hoosiers are very good. And while nothing is guaranteed on the road (see UNC and Duke last night), esp. in the Big 10, if the line on the game were off, where would you put your money?

    And that pretty much goes for the rest of the games on the schedule. IU won’t be this much better than everyone left (Wisc., MSU, OSU), but we will be better. So really we should win every game…or at least expect to win. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that (for any of my favorite teams). Feels good.

    “Au revois Gopher!”

  • MLove

    AND YET another pessimist. MAN just post good thoughts… I understand this is a place to say how you feel but man. COMON SHERRON. How abt no more predictions and lets just go in open-minded… LETS PULL OUT A W and come back home for a couple games. WHO WITH ME??? DOOOOOOOOOOO WOOOOOORRRRRRRRKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • MLove

    AND YET another pessimist. MAN just post good thoughts… I understand this is a place to say how you feel but man. COMON SHERRON. How abt no more predictions and lets just go in open-minded… LETS PULL OUT A W and come back home for a couple games. WHO WITH ME??? DOOOOOOOOOOO WOOOOOORRRRRRRRKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ALH ’00

    That dude at Gopher Nation is using your material in an attempt to convince himeself that MN could actually win tonight. Then comes here to plant seeds of doubt in IU fans’ minds.

    IU WILL NOT LOSE TO MN! Barn or whatever…experience or whatever. Bottom line: IU has more talent at (nearly) every position. MN is playing sound basketball because they have a good coach. So does IU. If MN matched up well in any facet, I could see the “upset talk”. But really, MN is not very good and the Hoosiers are very good. And while nothing is guaranteed on the road (see UNC and Duke last night), esp. in the Big 10, if the line on the game were off, where would you put your money?

    And that pretty much goes for the rest of the games on the schedule. IU won’t be this much better than everyone left (Wisc., MSU, OSU), but we will be better. So really we should win every game…or at least expect to win. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that (for any of my favorite teams). Feels good.

    “Au revois Gopher!”

  • MLove

    AND YET another pessimist. MAN just post good thoughts… I understand this is a place to say how you feel but man. COMON SHERRON. How abt no more predictions and lets just go in open-minded… LETS PULL OUT A W and come back home for a couple games. WHO WITH ME??? DOOOOOOOOOOO WOOOOOORRRRRRRRKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TommyCoverdale

    Gordon is long overdue for a stellar shooting night. I think he hits 5 threes tonight, goes perfect from the line, and scores 31.

    IU-67 Minn-59. The Barn environment will get to the Hoosiers but at the end of the day you just have to remember that its full of Canadians and other obscure Northerners from MinnesOLta… so at least we got ’em there.

  • TommyCoverdale

    Gordon is long overdue for a stellar shooting night. I think he hits 5 threes tonight, goes perfect from the line, and scores 31.

    IU-67 Minn-59. The Barn environment will get to the Hoosiers but at the end of the day you just have to remember that its full of Canadians and other obscure Northerners from MinnesOLta… so at least we got ’em there.

  • Timmy

    Yo Big A – with all these former players leaving comments, why don’t you interview some of them?

  • Timmy

    Yo Big A – with all these former players leaving comments, why don’t you interview some of them?

  • Timmy

    Yo Big A – with all these former players leaving comments, why don’t you interview some of them?

  • Timmy

    Yo Big A – with all these former players leaving comments, why don’t you interview some of them?

  • Randy McRanderson

    I completely agree with Tommy. Minnesota is nothing but a bunch of Nordic descendants (hence the Vikings NFL team) and Native Americans. Located on the edge of the flat and seemingly endless prairie, the state gets blast-chilled by polar winds for most of the year. If I lived in Minnesota, I’d probably be an homeless alcoholic simply it would beat the hell out of being an ice-fisherman. But ehhh, at least you can brag about your Governor being able to beat up Mitch Daniels. Whoopie!

  • Randy McRanderson

    I completely agree with Tommy. Minnesota is nothing but a bunch of Nordic descendants (hence the Vikings NFL team) and Native Americans. Located on the edge of the flat and seemingly endless prairie, the state gets blast-chilled by polar winds for most of the year. If I lived in Minnesota, I’d probably be an homeless alcoholic simply it would beat the hell out of being an ice-fisherman. But ehhh, at least you can brag about your Governor being able to beat up Mitch Daniels. Whoopie!

  • Randy McRanderson

    I completely agree with Tommy. Minnesota is nothing but a bunch of Nordic descendants (hence the Vikings NFL team) and Native Americans. Located on the edge of the flat and seemingly endless prairie, the state gets blast-chilled by polar winds for most of the year. If I lived in Minnesota, I’d probably be an homeless alcoholic simply it would beat the hell out of being an ice-fisherman. But ehhh, at least you can brag about your Governor being able to beat up Mitch Daniels. Whoopie!

  • Randy McRanderson

    I completely agree with Tommy. Minnesota is nothing but a bunch of Nordic descendants (hence the Vikings NFL team) and Native Americans. Located on the edge of the flat and seemingly endless prairie, the state gets blast-chilled by polar winds for most of the year. If I lived in Minnesota, I’d probably be an homeless alcoholic simply it would beat the hell out of being an ice-fisherman. But ehhh, at least you can brag about your Governor being able to beat up Mitch Daniels. Whoopie!

  • MKH

    Gopher Nation, I agree with the home court advantage point you make. I think, as T said, the result of this game will probably hinge on Minnesota’s ability to force IU turnovers. I’m hoping that with Bassett starting, IU will be able to avoid enough of them to come away with a victory. By no means is an upset impossible; you guys just have a lot of work to do.

  • MKH

    Gopher Nation, I agree with the home court advantage point you make. I think, as T said, the result of this game will probably hinge on Minnesota’s ability to force IU turnovers. I’m hoping that with Bassett starting, IU will be able to avoid enough of them to come away with a victory. By no means is an upset impossible; you guys just have a lot of work to do.