Keys to the game: Arkansas

  • 03/20/2008 6:42 pm in

ejgordon001.jpgStrong out of the gate: In each of IU’s last three losses, they’ve trailed at halftime and in two of the games (Michigan State and Minnesota), they’ve trailed big early. Playing from behind is not advisable for anybody in the NCAA Tournament. And for a team that has struggled as badly of late as this one, another slow start could be a recipe for catastrophe.

Establish D.J. White: With IU’s recent struggles from the perimeter, it’s essential to establish White in order to free up some open looks for Armon Bassett, Eric Gordon and Jordan Crawford. Bassett and Gordon are shooting a combined 18.3 percent from three-point range on their last 53 attempts. As Terry Hutchens pointed out in today’s Indianapolis Star, White took just three shots in the first 12 minutes against Minnesota and in the Penn State game, he took just two shots in the first ten minutes. That’s not acceptable for a player shooting over 60 percent from the field.

Big game for Gordon: It’s been a while since the freshman had a solid shooting night. In fact, the last time he shot better than 50 percent from the field was on February 16 against Michigan State. In other words, he’s more than overdue for a hot shooting night. Gordon knows this is likely his only chance to make a run in the NCAA Tournament. It’ll be important to get him a couple of open looks early to establish his confidence. If the Hoosiers can get him going, the combination of White and Gordon is as good as any in the country.

Hold them below 75: Arkansas likes to play at a faster tempo than the Hoosiers have experienced in the Big Ten. When the Razorbacks score 75 points or more, they’re 15-0. It is important to note that Indiana is a higher scoring team than Arkansas. Indiana is averaging 75.1 points per game and Arkansas is scoring 73.6 ppg.

Production from the four spot: Paging Lance Stemler, Kyle Taber and DeAndre Thomas. Thomas played well in the Big Ten Tournament against Minnesota, but he committed five fouls (all in the second half) and left the game with 7:43 remaining. Stemler’s offense has been non-existent for most of the season. And Taber has been solid in spot duty. In other words, there’s not a clear cut option. IU doesn’t need any of the three to score much, but they do need someone to help White fend off Arkansas in the paint. The Razorbacks have four players 6-10 or taller.

Play for Indiana, not Kelvin Sampson: Anyone who’s watched this team since Sampson left the sidelines knows that something has been missing. Sometimes, it just looks like this group is going through the motions. But if we’re to believe White’s comments at Thursday’s press conference, the Hoosiers are approaching this opportunity as a new beginning. With that said, it’s time to forget the past and move forward. This team is talented enough to make some noise, but they’ll need to be on the same page as their coach if they hope to do damage.

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  • tberry

    It is nice to think that our inconsistent play is over and we will be able to beat Arkansas but I for one an worried.

    We have been expecting IU to break out of their doldrums for the last 5 or 6 games but they just keep muddling through.

    If IU wants to win they will need to come into this game with a completely different attitude but what has changed to give them the different attitude?

    I'm afraid that Arkansas will run us off the floor unless we get very serious and start playing for someone. I don’t care who we are playing for as long as we are playing to win.

  • jgongora86

    I was there to see them practice, and I have to admit they did look relaxed. DJ at one time saw me, and we each gave each other a fist pump. EJ looked more comfortable shooting the threes and hopefully that will translate into a game. Dakich was paying a lot of attention to Lance Stemlar standing right next to him while he was shooting threes. It was a lot of fun. I made sure they could here me, and even introduced myself to Terry Hutchens.

  • Jamie,

    Are you going to the game?

  • jgongora86

    Hell Yeah. I'm even going to wish the team good luck at the hotel. The Alumni here want to give them a proper send off.

  • RobertSchell

    Glad to hear they seem to be relaxed…
    Now all we can do is wait and see what they come out with tomorrow night….
    Also….Good Luck to Mt. St. Mary's!

  • ChiCityHoosier

    like gordon said, tomorrow is a new beginning. and if any of the players are reading, remember that you don't play for indiana so you can have a chance at making the big dance. you play for it all.

  • southsidehitmen

    Good assessment of the game…one more thing I think is really important for IU will be the play of Jamarcus Ellis.

    He needs to keep his head in the game, play furious defense, and be the stat stuffer that we all knew and loved at the beginning of the year.

    I'm looking for a a 8 point, 9 rebound, six assist, four steals type game out of him….he needs to play big.

  • If we're counting on Ellis at this point, I think we've got problems. Prove me wrong, Jamarcus.

  • deedubbadoo

    I completely concur with this statement. Until he shows me that he is willing to buy into the team concept again, and get passed the idea that he was somehow wronged in this situation, he is a liability.

    Again I think a lot of Hoosier fans are praying he proves us all wrong. If nothing else man, play for DJ. That guy has been through more in his time here than anyone and yet he still lays it out there every night. Give him a chance to have a face to face with Hansbrough, he unlike most has earned it.

  • JamesHardy

    I'm going to step out on a HUGE limb here…IF and ONLY IF…we make more baskets…score more points…and play better defense than Arkansas…will we win!


  • JamesHardy

    I'm going to step out on a HUGE limb here…IF and ONLY IF…we make more baskets…score more points…and play better defense than Arkansas…will we win!