Friday, January 13, 2006

No panic here

While I am not happy with the loss to Michigan State, and the weaknesses it exposed (where's the defense? Yelling Ole does not count) it was a game that I had circled in the preseason as an assured loss. Then if you were to tell that IU would lose both DJ White and Lewis Monroe right before the game, and MSU would be 0-2 in the conference coming in, I would have been shocked that the margin was only 2 points at halftime, and 14 points at the end.

The good news is that I think MSU is totally beatable, not only at Assembly Hall, but also in the Big Ten tourney by an IU squad that has Lewis Monroe. Monroe should be able to take Ager or Brown defensively, allowing Strickland to stay in front of Neitzel, who just carved up the Hoosiers for big buckets or assists when Calloway couldn't keep track of him.
The bad news is that while a B10 home record of 7-1 or even 8-0 should be expected, a road record of 4-4 may be a best case scenario. Unless IU adds UConn to the win column, they be looking at an uphill seeding path to the Sweet Sixteen.

This all said, I know in the first half Mike Davis went away from Vaden to try to get Paul Davis in foul trouble, but he's got to recognize that probably won't happen on the road. If you got a hot hand on the road, milk it, especially when it belongs to a player that you very recently claimed was the best on the team.

Next for IU, Illinois at home. IU has to bounce back in this one, and really stick it to the kids in orange, or face a rivalry game with Purdue while in a slump. If Lewis Monroe is playing, I think IU should be fine for both of these home games. IU has an advantage over Illinois as the Illini host Michigan (hoist Michigan? probably) tomorrow and the Hoosiers have the weekend off. On the 24th, the Hoosiers travel to Iowa City, and that's a road game that is possible to win, and that would be a huge boost. Of course, if IU loses to Illinois at home, you'll a wee bit more concern in this space.


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