The Morning After: Ohio State v.2.0

  • 02/27/2008 11:46 am in

ejuconn.jpgUgh. Whatever that was last night, it was not pretty to watch. Eric Gordon’s game was way off, D.J. White had his share of struggles, and the Hoosiers oftentimes looked discombobulated and confused. Also, for whatever reason — partially because the refs didn’t do a particularly good job of reffing the game — IU complained about the refs all game. It got to be a little repetitive.

I think we can chalk most of last night’s game up to bad shooting. Look at the numbers: The Hoosiers shot far below their season average effective field goal, putting up 43.4 percent. Their season total is 10 points higher than that, at 53.6 percent. The turnovers were about even with their season average and the points per possession weren’t wildly different — IU just shot poorly. Fortunately, the Hoosiers rebounded well on the offensive end and held off a weirdly inconsistent Buckeyes team.

It’s hard to get a good feeling for where the Buckeyes stand. In their first 12 minutes on the floor, they looked disinterested, sloppy, outwitted, and boring. In their next 20 or so minutes, up until and after the half, Ohio State looked focused, efficient, and driven. The real OSU probably falls somewhere between that mix, which isn’t likely to be good enough to get them in the NCAA tournament.

— I’m pretty sure I saw a comment — lots of comments, actually — in the postgame thread last night complaining about Eric Gordon. That’s partially justifiable: Gordon had a bad game last night. A really bad one. 17 points in 40 minutes is not exactly stellar, especially given the awful shooting and the seven turnovers. Gross.

I think it’s safe to say now that this is what Eric Gordon is. He’s flawed. He’s a good shooter prone to off nights without much of a mid-range game. He’s fantastic at getting to the basket but isn’t always under control when he gets there. He plays fast and loose and hard, but his ball handling is the weakest part of his game. He turns the ball over. A lot.

He also gets to the free throw line more frequently than anyone else in the conference and makes 86 percent of his shots while there. That, as it did last night, is perhaps his most important and valuable trait, one that sustains his game when everything else is broken. This is the player we recruited. This is the player we have. Complaining about it now is almost pointless.

— I love Steve Lavin and Brent Musberger, but they have a funny habit of taking the wrong side of every issue. Just last week, in their broadcast of IU’s win over Purdue, Musberger was openly lobbying to keep Kelvin Sampson around. He never really provided justification for his opinion on the matter — either he didn’t think Sampson cheated, or didn’t deserve the punishment for his crimes. Either way, it didn’t make a lick of sense.

Last night was no different. It was Lavin, this time, providing horrible advice to IU’s administration: Consider hiring Dan Dakich. It’s a comical notion. Dakich is a palatable, keep-everybody-happy interim coach that will likely do a fine job keeping the team intact over the next few weeks. Maybe he’ll even make a tournament run! But regardless of his success, the chances of him keeping this job are absolutely zero.

What was even funnier than Lavin’s suggestion was the circular way he went about justifying it. At Bowling Green, Dakich posted a 156-140 over ten years. That’s pretty middling, and usually, “middling” at a mid-major doesn’t earn one a top job in the country. You have to be Sean Miller good, or Mark Few good. But according to Lavin, Dakich “honed his craft” — whatever that means — and would be a good fit thanks to his Bob Knight ties. Also, Lavin compared Dakich to Joe Torre, which is laughable not only because Torre is probably a better manager of people than Dakich will ever be, but because managing in baseball is so much different than college basketball it’s not even worth a comparison. Baseball managers take the talent they’re given and manage it to the best of their abilities, and most studies point to the idea that managers have a relatively negligible, or at least statistically undetectable, impact on the game. Take Joe Torre: Torre is known as a Hall of Fame manager because he won four titles with the New York Yankees, but anyone that watches baseball intelligently realizes that the Yankees were the highest-paid, most-talented organization in baseball for almost all of Torre’s tenure.

Unlike Torre, after this year, Dakich’s talent reserves would be dry. He’d be responsible for recruiting his own talent, not having it handed down by a front office, and the thought that Dan Dakich is somehow the right coach for IU for the long-term future is just laughable. Even Dan Dakich knows this. So Steve Lavin, please stop saying otherwise. We love you too much to see you be wrong so often.

Filed to:

  • Something tells me the Indiana administration isn't listening to Steve Lavin, who got passed over for the Purdue head coaching job when Gene Keady announced his retirement. Administrators usually don't take their ques from talking heads. I think IU finds itself in the same spot with Dan Dakich that they did with Bill Lynch. Having gone through something traumatic, he becomes the sentimental favorite, the underdog, the guy you root for. You feel bad saying, “Ok, Bill, that was a nice job but you're not a head coach at this level.” Greenspan didn't have the nerve to do it with the football program but given that he still has the job post-tournament, he isn't likely to define his career by hiring a pair of interim coaches. I do think that if there was ever a year to get Mark Few away from Gonzaga this is it. They're a tournament but just barely. They aren't likely to win the WCC as St. Mary's is a heck of a fun basketball team to watch. If there were ever a year that any major program had to lure Few away from Spokane, it's this year.

  • Ricky

    Giving Dakich the job would be like West Virginia giving their football head coaching job to that guy who took over for the BCS game they were in when WVU proceeded to dominate Oklahoma. For the life of me I can't remember the guys name, but his previous coaching record was terrible, he just happened to take Rich Rodriguez's amazingly talented team and led them to a sound defeat of a good team. they could have gone out and gotten a pretty good coach, considering Pat White and Noel Devine were still going to be on the team. but they settled on the guy that was there because of one good game. If IU has a good tournament run, it is not proof that Dakich is a good coach. It is proof that Mike Davis and Kelvin Sampson brought in some good players. Keeping Dakich would turn IU into a mid level Big Ten school for the next 5 years. I bet Lavin is trying to cover up how bad he wants to coach here

  • Abs

    I think poor shooting was definitely in effect last night, and you're right that the eFG% was down, but I think that was to be expected. In conference games, OSU is tops in the Big Ten in both 2- and 3-point FG% D. That, coupled with the fact that the send their opponents to the line fewer than anyone else is why they have the best D in the conference (…). I think the real key/surprise was that the Hoosiers were able to shoot so well on 2's and get to the line so much. IU's high-octane 2-point and FT O won out there.

    Also, IU fans should be thankful that Koufos sat down for a while. The Buckeyes were +9 while he was on the floor and -12 in the 4:44 that he was sitting.

  • This is the player we recruited. This is the player we have. Complaining about it now is almost pointless.

    The player we recruited could use his athleticism going to the bucket against high schoolers to score at will. He was doing it consistently against teams during the non-conference schedule, too. Like the hs ballers, they were lesser foes and his whirling dervishes worked because no one was good enough to defend it.

    But once Big Ten season hit, that all changed. Defenders are better, smarter, more well-coached. Since Gordon likes to go right at the defender, just plant your feet and you can draw a charge. Kosta Koufos flat out rejected Gordon last night — perhaps the first time it's happened all year. He is very good; he is not some five from a weak high school team.

    I think what's so frustrating about it is that it's correctable. You can teach to play under control. But Sampson let Gordon run wild as he promised him he would. And Dakich is following suit.

    This reminds me of the way Davis treated Vaden — not discipling when he should, not reigning him in like he should, giving him special treatment because it was his guy.

    I still love Gordon and as long as he can get to the line he'll score in the teens every night, but I just don't get it sometimes.

  • ALH_00

    This isn't a gripe really, so much as an observation. Why didn't Dakich take out EJ and DJ after tOSU continued to foul and not “give in” to defeat. (I won't take anything away from Thad Matta for the tactic) I thought it would have been nice for Dakich to get EJ and DJ a standing O from the crowd after the week that they have been through. It would have been perfect timing, and Matta would have had to sit there and take it without comment, because he coached his team to play to the bitter end. I just thought it would have been a nice gesture for those two leaders and the fans. Maybe next time DD.

  • T

    I think the Lynch and Dakich comparisons are comparing apples to oranges.

    Lynch took over during Spring football, well before the regular season even STARTED. Lynch was Hoeppner's right hand man and had Hep's full support and confidence before Hep passed away. Lynch had an entire season to show Greenspan what he could do, and Lynch got the team to a bowl game – Something that hadn't been done for over a decade for the Hoosiers. Not to mention the players were genuinely happy when it was announced Lynch was re-signed to be head coach.

    Dakich on the other hand had to take over with five games left in the season. Before the start of the year there was no serious worry Sampson wouldn't be there to finish the year. Dakich wasn't Sampson right hand man, and who knows how happy the players are with him as their head coach? No matter what happens the rest of the year, it was Sampson who got the team in the position to have great things happen, not Dakich, If Sampson had resinged before the first game of the year and IU was 24-4 with Dakich at the helm all year, it might be comparable to Lynch.

    But that's not what happened. The Lynch/Dakich comparisons aren't accurate.

  • kelin

    R- You are 100% right….
    I saw this more than ever last night….where was the control, after EJ turned the ball over the 4th time, why not take him out and coach him. NO ONE can see EJ has gotten better as the season has progressed. The ONLY new player who has improved has been Jordan Crawford!

    EJ is getting the Vaden/Marco treatment and it is hurting more than helping. I think it is point this out about EJ because early on he got so much love……

    I watched him in H.S. and his coach had ZERO problems with pulling his ass out and “coaching” him or ripping him a new one…..When you tell a kid to “shoot it everytime” as KS did that is a bad message to send. EJ makes mistakes with NO consequences……

  • dawolf

    well said

  • Could this be a reflection of everyone assuming that Gordon's gone after a year? Why waste time developing him for someone else? Get him a touch, let him get his points, and if the defense rotates over to stop him, dish the ball to DJ. With the circus that has followed Eric Gordon for the past few years, I can understand trying to take advantage of what might be given. I guess.

  • kelin

    Matt I just think no matter how long the kid or a kid is there you have to help him improve….but I see your point though……

    And I won't start arguing again on why Brandon McGhee gets NO run while Deandre gets some and does nothing along with Stemler at times. Midnight Madness allowed us to get fooled by Deandre, I commend him on his weight loss but what else can he do….

  • Brian

    Off topic question: Does anyone know when the last time a player led the Big Ten in Rebounding and Scoring? DJ White is close this year, although he will not overtake Gordon in scoring, and I couldn't think of any recent big guys with those kind of stats.

  • kelin

    Also…..hearnd Brad Brownell on WNDE yesterday, has nothing but love for the IU coaching gig….says it still is a destination job…..ofcourse he went PC and said I am focusing on my team but I have heard the rumors.

  • Tom Coverdale IU Hero

    is was reading something on sportsline that said Bruce Pearl said Indiana was his dream job on ESPN radio might be the man

  • B (MD)

    I actually think IU made a big mistake going with Dakich instead of McCallum. A lot of people said they went with Dakich because of his history with the program and some said it would bring the IU people together (ie: The Knight faction) for at least a short time.

    Well that creates a problem if the team is successful here late in the year. I think most agree that Dakich probably isn't the longterm solution, but if IU finishes the year strong you're going to have the Bailey's, Kitchel's and Benson's of the world all lobbying for Dakich, which will create the same problem IU's fanbase has had since Knight left. The people that want to look to the future vs. the people that want to relive the past and bring in a Knight Guy.

    I think with McCallum it would be easier to part ways even if he had been successful closing out the year. Seems like the administration didn't think about that when making their decision.

    Does this make sense? It did while I was writing it:)

  • Scott

    Am I the only person that thought most of EJ's turnovers were because he was getting hacked with no call? If you guys think this team is better with EJ getting splinters in his butt on the bench, you're all delusional. He's had a few bad turnover games, but without him we don't have the record we have now and we're not a top ranked team. If I had one player to pick on this team to put on my team, it would be EJ every time. It really wouldn't even be a close call.

  • CB in OR

    A night of poor shooting, poor officiating and drama. Knight said “if you expect to win at this level you must play well enough to overcome poor officiating”. Ain't that the truth. He also told us a thousand times that getting the best shot per possesion was the offense. When we shoot poorly we are not passing enough and trying to dribble out of situations instead of passing out of them. Also, what worries me about Dakich is he will win and gain the sympathy (sheesh yhis is already happening) of fans and wind up doin a Mike Davis on us. ARRGH.

    I still say we should lobby a short list of bloggerbball approved candidates for head coach. We are looking to our ITH leadership to organize us against the athletic department, trustee bureaucrats and save our basketball team from being weaseled into another lame coaching choice.

  • kelin

    CB I agree but I would wait til the end of the season or after IU is out or some of the candidates we would love are out. Lets make our own search committee share our thoughts via ITH with greeny.

  • td

    The people who would pick on Eric Gordon for his flawed game last night have to be from the “the glass is half empty” crowd. Talk about the kids who had a good game. Hell, we won. Why is it when we win there always has be a “but we didn't do this/that or something.” Let the coaches take care of that. We should continure to count our blessings this 18 year old kid changed his mind on schools. He gives us a consistant go-to guy when things are tight, goes to the basket without fear, and doesn't get some of calls he should. Yep, he turns it over and it's something that will improve as some of us forget he's a freshman. Check his stats, in the tight games, he usually does better in the second half versus the first., the sign of a go-to guy. In addition, he plays most or all of the 40 minutes of a game and has to be fatigued on some of those turnovers. Cutting down on turnovers can be coached, EJ has a lot of things going for him that can't be.

  • ronb

    There are hundreds of examples of coaches going from weaker teams to the big boys and failing. They could win in the minors but when they stepped to the majors they failed. For example coach Rick at Louisville. He was great at Kentucky but he was horrible when he tried to jump to the NBA and coached Boston. IU must be careful not to hire a rookie coach from a lesser team and think he will be a superstar at IU. There is something to be said about learning from a Master coach and putting in your time. Look at Bo Ryan at Wisconsin and Tom Iz. at Michigan State they were assistants to great coaches for many years before they got their dream jobs. They will be in the hall of fame someday. There are some guys out there that grew up
    with a basketball in their hands,( like Bennett at Washington State), that may do very
    well at a top 10-15 school but he only has 2 years of coaching under his belt and most
    of his players someone else recruited. IU can't stand another failure and set back because we jumped to hire the latest splash in the pan. I know you want to write Dakich off, but he should be interviewed with others and the Best fit for IU hired. The
    idea of Greenspan picking a coach bothers me a whole lot more than hiring Dan.
    If IU does not plan on keeping Greenspan why would we want him picking a Coach??
    It seems to me that IU first needs to make a decision about him before we allow him
    to pick another problem. Coolers heads should be conducting a coach's search not

  • Joe

    I think EJ thinks that everytime there is contact when he is in the air he deserves a foul. If he initiates the contact, there is no foul hence last night. The fouls that EJ gets are when the defender is out of position. He just needs to learn or find somebody that wants to teach him because the coaches aren't doing shit. I remember a few times in the game when there was 3 to 4 people around him and eventually turned the ball over. Even if he got hacked then, refs are never going to call that foul.

  • Joe

    Bad analogy with Pitino here, but I get your point.

  • td

    Would you agree Bob Knight going from Army to IU was one of those large steps you write about. Bennett served as an assistant for several years under his father at Wisconsin, then Washington State. He was Coach of the Year last year, in his 2nd year as a head coach. He was directly responsible for recruiting some of Wisconsin's best players, does Brian Butch come to mind? It's been said he is a lock for the Wisconsin job when Ryan retires. The quality of overall coaching is only getting better in the big-10, if we don't make a good move on our next selection, we'll find ourselves going backward faster than anyone wants to measure. Bennett coaches great defense and that's where all good basketball foundations begin.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I think many of us were lamenting Gordon's play last night is primarily because he has not improved his game in several noticeable areas.

    I can't say if Gordon is at fault on this or its because the coaching staff, as someone said in an earlier thread, lets Gordon “run wild.”

    He takes it to the hoop with reckless abandon instead of pulling up for a midrange jumper, he leaps BEFORE he looks, and he continues to whine like every call made in the world that goes against him. He's also much more of a streak shooter than I imagined.

    The one place where I've seen improvement is rebounding. He's been much more agressive on the glass, even getting some offensive rebounds (including the monster dunk on the putback).

    Is some of the negative attention on Gordon a reflection of the fact that we're upset he'll be gone after this year? Perhaps, but more importantly, it's because we haven't seemn him mature this year the way I think we believed he would.

    He started out unstoppable against lesser opponents, and we knew it'd be rough in the Big Ten, but we thought he had the skill set and the desire to refine his game. As it stands, I feel like EJ plays as if this is just a stepping stone to the next level, a move he HAD to make.

    In the end, though, we are complaining about the Big Ten's scoring leader…even though he certainly isn't the most effecient player in the Big Ten. He might only be a freshman, but when you're a one-year wonder frosh…you won't get the same treatment other freshman do.

    I'm glad he chose IU, but I wonder sometimes if he's realy interested in making the improvements necessary or if he already thinks he's prepared enough for the NBA.

  • I don't think it's right, either, but given the amount of “enjoy him now, you won't see him again” hype that surrounded Gordon earlier in the season, I can see how coaches would tend toward this approach to handling him.

  • kelin

    TD…I think it is safe to say we ALL LOVE Ej since Day One (thanks hillary), the issue is at what point will we see his progress and him get better at ____________. (turnovers, ball handling, mid range)

    If we were to play a REAL GOOD TEAM (UNC, UCONN, Memphis, Kansas, UCLA, Vandy) etc. 7 turnovers would get you beat and as we have seen you can stop EJ, if the 25 foot J ain't fallin…

  • Hoosier_Hound

    E, if you keep posting these threads later and later, before long you'll have to call them The Morning After The Morning After.

    The game last night was a brickfest. All those misses along with some inconsistent refereeing made for an unenjoyable game. It felt like IU was playing Penn State or some non-conference nobody. It took a Bassett three and a Gordon putback dunk in the last two minutes to get the crowd to make any noise.

    BUT, they won. IU remains tied atop the Big Ten standings for now. The team has a nice rest before they head up to MSU on Sunday. They need to use the time to allow DJ to get up to 100% and to refocus the entire team on this remaining crucial game.

  • Hoosier_Hound

    I know what you're getting at, but your examples are terrible. The jump the next IU coach might be making is from mid-major college to major college, not from college to the NBA. A better example than Rick Pitino is Dan Monson who took Gonzaga to the Elite Eight in his second year as head coach, but then flopped in six years at Minnesota.

    You are off some on Tony Bennett too. This may only be his second year as head coach at Washington State, but it's his fifth year there after three seasons as the anointed successor. He recruited everybody that's currently on Washington State as an assistant, and they all knew he was going to be the head coach by now.

    Lastly, since Greenspan is conducting the coaching search, that means there has been a decision made about him. He's staying, and the administration has actually made that pretty clear.

  • Timmy

    We've definitely lacked intensity since Coach Sampson resigned. Double D was in an admin role for a reason.

    I don't see uk fans conjuring up the name Adolph Rupp or ucla fans throwing Wooden disciples at us so why IU fans keep bringing up knight to embarrass us is beyond me.

  • MPmike

    On Eric Gordon, the most frustrating thing is that we are 28 games into the season and he hasn't improved on his ball handling and decision making. Everyone else has improved a little, even Jordan Crawford has looked better in the t/o department.
    Gordon needs to slow down and pick his spots when he is driving to the hole without getting ripped or lose the ball often. He needs to better protect the ball and make better passes when he is driving. There is a lack of just being mentally smart when he is driving to the basket. He also needs to use his ability to shoot more inside of the three point range because he has a nice touch and athletic ability to get his shot over most guards and forwards.
    On the Kelvin Sampson issue, at least someone in the media is looking at the Sampson ordeal in a non-bias way. I give credit to Brent Musberger in standing by his opinion since no one else has the guts too. Sampson has not been proven guilty of anything, so you need to calm down, (Postman E) on getting upset on people defending Sampson.

    Also, I agree on not hiring Dakich. He has not proven that he can win on this level yet and I don't know if he can. I believe that IU will not go far into this season because they lack the great leadership from Sampson. I hope Dakich and the players can prove me wrong, but I doubt it.
    Finally, I like to give credit to Kellen Sampson for staying with the program and being there for the players and for IU. He has showed true class.

  • DC Hoosier

    You're off in a few ways here about UK and UCLA. First, Rupp and Wooden have been retired for over 30 years. Second, each retired, rather than being dismissed. So Wooden and Rupp each decided that his career was over at the school, rather than leaving a lingering distaste with the ending. Third, both Kentucky (with trying to bring back Billy Donovan) and UCLA (with Ben Howland) either tried to or did bring in a coach with previous ties to the school with their most recent hire, although neither was a disciple of their long-retired coaching greats.

    All that said, having an IU connection is important to me only in breaking ties between otherwise equally qualified candidates. I wish people would quit bringing up Knight, too. It only makes it tougher for this team and the new coach going forward.

  • JamesHardy

    DJ was removed right around the 1:00 mark I believe. There may have been less time, but I'm positive he was removed. As far as EJ goes, I completely agree with Postman R's comment about KS and DD letting EJ do his thing just like MD did with Vaden. That was the greatest thing for me about MD leaving for UAB…he took Vaden and his “questionable” shot selection with him. I can't blame Vaden just like I won't blame EJ…at some point the coach has to be the adult and teach these guys how to play as one five-man team instead of five one-man teams. It is definitely a maturity thing in my opionion.

  • JamesHardy

    ah…someone else who heard KS say that during the Illinois game!!! Whew, I thought I was the only one that heard that and had issues with it!!! Saaaweeeeeet!

  • ronb

    Maybe Rick wasn't the best example but there are dozen of examples where a good mid-major coach could not handle the big school. I am not for or against anyone. I happen to
    think Bennett is a good one to interview. I was just trying to get you guys to understand
    what is hot for the moment is not always best. This has to be a good choice this time. We
    don't have time or money to keep starting over every 2 or 3 years. We need someone good who will build IU back to where we all want,win,follow rules and help kids get an
    education. If that is a good young coach or a seasoned coach I don't care. What worries
    me is who's picking!

  • ALH_00

    That rest is going to be very important. I think we'll see a more focused and energetic team. Whether they pull off a BIG road win, I don't know. IU is better than MSU, but Tom Izzo is a good coach and when's the last time IU won at the Breslin? Ever?

  • briank

    I think if IU could find a way to reconcile with him in some type of way that he would somehow accept it would help some. Thats what people want. Fans would die to see Knight in Assembly to be able to say good bye. That would go a long way into helping. Like you said Kentucky doesn't go after Rupp disiples (mainly because there really are none anymore) but they go after Pitino diciples. Coaching is like horse racing if a winner shows he can breed good you try to stick with their lineage when betting. I don't think there are really any good enough Knight lineage out there right now. At least none that deserver the IU job. I would love soem miracle though that would enable Knight to come to Assembly Hall one last time to thanks and good bye like we should of been able to.

  • Sherron Wilkerson

    It was a bad YMCA game, no more, no less

  • Andrew

    You write “…the thought that Dan Dakich is somehow the right coach for IU for the long-term future is just laughable. Even Dan Dakich knows this.” How in the world do you know Dakich feels this way? Did he tell you himself? You really don't think he has any more pride than that? Are you basing this on the fact that he hasn't publically campaigned for the full-time job? I'm sure the majority of IU fans believe he is not the long-term solution, but to suggest that he feels that way himself – unless he told you personally, which i highly, highly doubt – is, to borrow your terminology, just laughable.

  • b_side

    Uh, didn't that questionable shot win an NCAA tournament game over SDSU? I'd take Vaden over Jamarcus Ellis at our other wing spot any day of the week.

  • b_side

    Kris Humphries from Minnesota. He killed us and was just a freshman leading the league in scoring and rebounding (22 and 10).

  • There's some times when I wish Eric Gordon was off somewhere else, and we could enjoy him from afar. Because now I question who is more critical and negative about EJ: us or Illinois fans.

  • b_side

    Uh, didn't that questionable shot win an NCAA tournament game over SDSU? I'd take Vaden over Jamarcus Ellis at our other wing spot any day of the week.

  • b_side

    Kris Humphries from Minnesota. He killed us and was just a freshman leading the league in scoring and rebounding (22 and 10).

  • There's some times when I wish Eric Gordon was off somewhere else, and we could enjoy him from afar. Because now I question who is more critical and negative about EJ: us or Illinois fans.