Going nowhere fast

  • 03/09/2008 9:37 pm in

white32323.jpegNow 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.

Filed to:

  • Timmy,

    You are welcome to comment. However, you're not welcome to throw around profanity. If that's what you're going to do, take it elsewhere.

  • JamesHardy

    It's getting pretty hard to stay optomistic. And judging from the post-game thread…not too many people are. I've tried, but I'm not sure I can defend anything other than DJ and Taber. AND PEOPLE PLEASE START SPELLING TABOR AND MCGEE CORRECTLY.

  • JamesHardy

    ah…that explains why i couldn't reply

  • JamesHardy

    and for REAL…does anyone REALLY think EJ is ready for the pro game? He's playing his way out of the lottery for crying out loud! What happened to beat your guy off the dribble…draw the double team…and PASS to an OPEN TEAMMATE?

  • hornsby

    BigA hit the nail on the head when he said “how can we expect this to end well?” we cant. I dont.

  • hornsby

    you just used two different spellings of Taber. you have become what you hate

  • Timmy

    bullspit and one f bomb is throwing around profanity?

  • Russ

    I don't know what to say. This team has given up. DJ and Armon are the only two players that are still giving 100%. As far as EJ goes I totally agree with Hardy, he is no where near ready for the pros. Even if he transfers to a different school he needs to stick around another year or so. I think this team will lose in the simi-finals of the BTT to Purdue. and they will lose in the Sweet Sixteen to one of the four #1 seeds. looks like we have to wait another four years because Greenspan is such an idiot.

  • Tim

    Where is Ellis from, because I'm pretty sure i saw him at about 11:15 am CDT on Saturday in the South Holland Oasis south of Chicago.

  • Ben

    Get over the EJ deal. I would leave and make millions too if I had the chance. It dosen't matter if he is ready or not. He will mature his game in the NBA. I mean if you don't think the kid can make it in the NBA your crazy. He leads the Big Ten in scoring. I think the only person to do that under Bob Knight was Brian Evans (and he was a senior). So just let it go. I don't blame him for leaving either with this mess we have made. Its a mess.

    This team could win the Big Ten Tournament. This team could be in the Final Four. In all honesty this team could do these things. Will they? Not under DD. I think DD needs to let Ray take over. We need some type of fire lit under us….and I think Ray taking over is the only thing left we could try. I'm not hoping for it, but I see the hoosier loosing to Purdue in the semi's of the Big Ten…..and then maybe a win or two in the NCAA.

  • Ben

    he is from chi town

  • Tim

    Then I guess it was him, I wanted to say something but he prolly understood that i recognized him since i did a double take and was wearing an Indiana hat and T-shirt.

  • Mark

    We're going nowhere quick. Whatever we win from here on out is a plus. DD can't coach this team, because he is not that good and the players don't care and aren't listening. Ellis is a detriment to the team and he can stay away, transfer for all I care. The sooner this season ends, the sooner we get a coach. Then we take the NCAA hit and begin the dismantling and rebuilding process.

  • Disgruntled Indy Fan

    A sad performance today, but…honestly, this team has been sliding for weeks, pre and post Sampson. You play the way you practice, and I haven't seen consistent, game-long good effort, or good coaching all season.

    There have been some bright spots. But Sampson poorly coached throughout the season. The team is only continuing down the path begun last fall.

    If Jordan Crawford causes one more stupid turnover I'm gonna scream. And then he doesn't get back on defense, doubly compounding the turnover.

    Also– it was abundantly clear the refs wanted Penn State to win. They got all the close calls. DId it make a difference? No. We were out-coached by a country mile. For about the 12th or 13th time this season.

    'Nuff said.

  • Er, it's Taber.

  • JamesHardy

    ahhhh….finally someone else feels my pain!!!! T-A-B-E-R and M-c-G-E-E

  • JamesHardy

    um…Russ…did you watch KYLE TABER play today?

  • JamesHardy

    thanks SSS…i was trying to hammer home my point

  • Jay

    I hope DJ has better teammates in the NBA. He so deserves them.

  • JamesHardy

    i think the race comments probably had something to do with it too. some people could really misunderstand what point you were trying to get across. I get what you were saying though.

  • Timmy

    it's pretty obvious to anyone who's objective as to why Greenspan made his decision for Double D. I guess he did the right thing for himself since there is no massive war cry to fire him like there was for KS.

    Still pretty hypocritical of BigA to yank my comment though.

  • I think expecting the “us against the world/circle the wagons/close ranks” mentality after Sampson got fired was foolish. The Sampson firing was, at some level, caving to the rest of the world. The “eff you world” response would have been to at least let Sampson coach out the rest of the season. We saw the “us against the world” attitude against Wisconsin (ultimately unsuccessful), Michigan State, and Purdue. Now that the administration told the players, “Sorry, the rest of the world is right,” that attitude won't crop up again.

  • Timmy

    Your reasoning on Ray being passed is complete bullspit. Greenspan didn’t want any more heat so he picked someone who would get the “we need an IU guy” to shut the fuck up and shut the racist faction of our fanbase who didn’t want another black head coach up.

    Everyone put yourself in the players position for a second. You and your coworkers have a manager you love who brought you into the company and is asked to leave. You assume and want the ast manager (Ray) to take over and instead the CEO puts your former manager’s secretary in charge. What would you do as an employee? I’d tell you to take this job and shove it!


    I will always be an IU fan but this is starting to get real frustrating. IU basketball is not what it used to be. It is unfortunate… I hate to say this but I just want this year to be over. IU really needs to hire someone that can come in and put us back on the national map. Sampson did, somewhat, but he was a cheater… WE NEED BRUCE PEARL!!!

  • Mike

    How about St. Marys (CA) coach Randy Bennet for coach next year. The guy has done great things with a struggling program.

  • BrianK

    Pre Sampson they were rolling some. The slide began after Sampson left.

  • BrianK

    As crazy as it sounds I'd like to see some X-players like, Chaney and Isaiah come in and tell them they better get used to losing coaches because it's part of life in the big leagues. This whining and crying and half-butt play doesn't cut it. This team will go down as one of the more talented Teams but the one that gave up. UK has the Unforgettables, we'll have the Unremarkables. I wish DD would grow some and start sitting these guys. These guys want to give up a Final Four and possible championship because their coach they liked got fired. What happened to pride in yourself and in your teammates? Except for DJ, Armon and Taber the rest need to grow up. I've never been so mad at an IU team in my life.

  • JamesHardy

    i agree with you for the most part…I would NOT call this year's squad a “team”…more like a collective group of talented individuals.

  • I just have this bad feeling that there are only two games left.

    I still have a hard time swallowing how any team with a three point lead and time running out fouls someone on a lay-up. Let them score and then let them start the hacking on you. Play some more smothering defense, don't let them get off perimeter shots, and keep hitting your free throws. High school teams can do that. I don't get it. I just don't get it.

  • Russ

    um….Hardy….yes I did. i'm talking about players that can actually change the outcome of the game. No offence to Kyle he's a great kid and hustles alot.

  • Russ

    I guess I just dont understand how EJ can get called for traveling before he even touches the ball. He was in the process of catching the ball and started to run without it. The ref called him for a turnover WTF?? Big Ten officials have got to be the worst among NCAAB. It really is a joke.

  • ray

    unless dakich learns who his senior leader is, and until he demands the ball go through dj when the game is on the line(especially on a night when the backcourt is shooting like a middle school b-team line-up), i think they will be a one-and-done team. it is clear that dakich should not be invited back next year. it doesn't take much brain power to make the decision to send the ball through white when trying to close out the game when eric gordon is shooting 4-16 on the night from too far downtown! i was disgusted they got beat, and even more disgusted that they didn't place the ball and the fate of the team in dj's hands down the stretch…i'm lost as to why not…

  • ray

    he had a more positive impact on the game than eric gordon…sure gordon scored 20-some points, but he also had his usual large-batch of turnovers and was pathetic from the field. taber, if he weren't afraid to shoot would have had much more of an impact on this game if he were given all of gordon's shots. i think even taber would have produced a better fg% than the “below 20%” that gordon had.

    i agree, he's not ready for the nba…but he'll go anyway because they've already made him out to be the next lebron. in my opinion, he makes far too many mistakes and he doesn't know how to use the mid-range jumper. he shoots too much and that is why he leads the league in scoring. give armon bassett that many shots every night and he might be the league's leading scorer…he is certainly more accurate and makes far fewer mistakes (traveling, offensive fouls, and carrying the ball) than gordon. what i am most impressed with gordon's game is his defense and ability to get to the line. other than that, i think he is an above-average player with a little too much hype.

  • Quincy

    It is so easy for us arm chair coaches, to rail on this team. But rail we must. This team lost its heart when KS left and they have tanked the season. To lose to a 500 ball club like that shows no fight spirit and was an embarrassment. Ellis has had a chip on his shoulder, since DD took over and can just stay away. Teams like Kentucky , U of L, and even Oh. St. are improving. We seem to just be playing out the schedule. You play the guys that are going to play hard and hope for the best.

  • JamesHardy

    i sat through the game yesterday with a “fairweather fan” who was HATING on Taber. His chief complaint was that Taber was “afraid” to shoot. I think that is COMPLETE B.S.!!!! Taber is the smartest guy on the 3 man team of DJ, AB, and Taber. He's looks to involve his teammates (i.e. EJ, JC) who like to shoot and “get mine” Taber could average 6-9 points per game if he WANTED to (and if DD would play him!) He chooses to play TEAM BASKETBALL which is what we've all been clamoring for all season.

  • i would really like to see this team make a run, but they've done nothing in the past two weeks to make me believe that is possible.

    at least yankees opening day is only three weeks away…

  • Willis

    speaking of the refs…Higgins wasn't going to call a foul when DJ got mugged by 3 players at once under the basket. What gives? He is terrible.

  • Russ

    I completely agree with you, however, I'm not so sure he's an automatic 1 and done. I think that he may stay depending on who Indiana brings in as the next head coach. His father also seems like a great guy that wants the best for his son. They both have said how they think his education is the most important thing for him at this point in his life. We'll just have to wait and see I guess.

  • If Jamarcus Ellis doesn't want to behave him at IU, he has to go.


  • But, Willis, he's “seen a lot of basketball”, so he can anticipate when there's about to be a turnover AND he knows a foul when he sees one. Just ask the commentators yesterday.

  • Jerry

    We are all diappointed in the season end performance but why trash the team at this point ? Many of you sound like you have given up …..this is exactly what you all say you DO NOT want the players to do. Crazy don't you think ? Us fans giving up when we resent that in players

    I say lets suck it up as fans and give DD and the boys the support they desparately need and hope they can take us for a thrilling ride the next few weeks.

    I also say lay off DD, he actually has done some good things like stressing going to DJ and the players actually responded for awhile. He did not cause and cannot cure this problem w the team.

    Actually the team ceased progressing and began to look average well before the UCONN game, which I took crap for here by predicting a loss. I have adjusted my expectations to us being between 20 – 25 ranked team and as such now any wins are gravy.

  • Brent

    I really think this was a trap game for IU, yeah it was important as far as seeding in the big dance…but regardless of a win or loss we were gonna get a 2 or 3 seed in the big ten tournament, it was also senior day in happy valley which always gives a boost to a depleted squad. I'm really anxious to see how we play this weekend, looks like we'll get minnesota friday night and then most likely purdue saturday…I'll wait to make my assesments until I see the next two…hopefully three games.

  • Mike

    We are watching different teams. Sunday, I saw an IU team move the ball well on offense but shot something like 7 for 33 from 3 point range (most open good shots). In recent games I've seen players getting sat down for careless turnovers. I saw a team that for the most part played good solid defense, no easy cuts to the basket and contested shots.

    The coaching is much better overall then when Sampson was on the sidelines, the only question I really have Is, can this team recover emotionally and have the intensity needed to make a run in the tourney? But most of the things that people are complaining about are related to Penn St. record not how the actual game was played.

  • Last time I'm going to say this before I start deleting posts. You can use your name to link to a site, but do not like to a blog in every post if what you are linking to is not relevant.

  • Mathew

    Big A.

    I am at a lost for words. I am one of those fans who grew up in Southern Indiana and loved Indiana basketball. Fifteen year veteran of the military and thank the Big Ten Network that allowed me to watch every Indiana basketball game this year! But lately, I have to turn the channel. It is nuts! The MSU/IU game was crazy. Did they even leave Bloomington that day?

    What do these players not get? Basketball is not just a sport in Indiana, it is a way of life. Indiana needs to get away from recruiting so many players from around the US and focus on getting the players from Indiana that understand what the TEAM means to the state. Purdue and Painter has. Why cant we? Players we have now do not deserve to wear that uniform. They are not motivated nor show any interest. Here I talked all year about winning the whole darn tourney and I do not even feel we will win a 1st round game.

  • Jerry

    Mike : I agree w you. We moved the ball on the zone and had open 3's. We locked down Battle on D. We actually had a purpose of getting the ball to DJ and often succeeded. Gordon controlled his drives to the basket and actually tried a dish but DJ was not ready for it etc. Good signs, bad result.

    W/o Ellis and not going deep into the bench early in the season we have a poor rotation now. Too many guys playing too many minutes to play well all game long. Stemler and Taber are the only ones getting rest….weird uh ?

  • kelin

    I am beginning to think more and more we need an “indiana” guy or close to it. Why? I hate to say it but Purdue has taken the IU fomula and used it for themselves…..recruit Indiana kids to sustain success and have a guy running the program who understands what basketball means in this state and what it means for that program being Purdue…

    Indiana needs a guy who values the same things…………..it is a proven formula….that everyone is using……

    Just ask Butler and IUPUI….two more Indiana schools who put a HIGH priority on keeping Indiana kids in Indiana to sustain success, and if they get a 5-star guy fine, if not, they have 4-6 kids who will be with the program for 3-4 years…..hence…

    George Hill
    Hummell and Martin
    E. Moore
    Matt Howard

    and the list goes on and on………….”Indiana” kids who understand how important Indiana University basketball is to the the school and fans, would NOT have let a Big Ten title get away like these guys did in the past week.

    Dak, although I have seen some improvements, it may be too late, we will see….But I want a guy on the sidelines next year who worries less about the 5 star ebanks kids and more about building a program with kids that care about what
    Indiana basketball means……..Hoosier Hysteria is not a slogan, it is Indiana basketball.
    Give me sustained success more than instant success…….

    I think this year KS did a disservice to Eric Gordon, by not “coaching” him but giving him the keys to the car and let him drive it how he wants…..what a dumb A…..

    I look forward to Derek Elston, Matt Roth, and Tom Pritchard….but I look forward to them being coached not befriended.

  • Galena Scott

    This team is just trying to get through the season. Sampson's hard-nosed leadership style was better for keeping our players focussed; Dan's personality and leadership prevents good coaching contact with our type of players. We have slipped badly and will not survive the BTT or the NCAA. We still need a change of leadership for Athletic Director. I hope that President McRobbie realizes that the next few months are a critical time for important decisions. He needs to confer with knowledgeable IU sources about the future because the flagship of IU sports is falling apart at the seams.

  • BrianK

    That nails it perfect

  • BrianK

    Put very well. Im not sure who fits the category. I don't want to see DD as HC but I agree.