Monday, February 25, 2008

Big Ten Bloggers' Poll: Vacation edition

I've actually been away from the internet, thus my lack of comments about the resignation of Sampson (best possible scenario) and new coach Danny Dakich (welcome!) and IU's narrow win at Northwestern (whew). So my poll this week is going to pretty bare-bones. There's a bit of a knot at the top: Wisconsin swept Indiana, Indiana won its only match-up with Purdue, and Purdue swept Wisconsin. Wisconsin gets top billing for now due to a nice win at Ohio State and for possessing the BXI's best efficiency margin. Indiana's at the bottom of the three due to an unsteady environment and being the most likely to falter down the stretch as next weekend's game at MSU looks like a guaranteed loss.

1. Wisconsin (13-2)
The most methodical team and best bet for the regular season, but I don't think they'll do that well in the postseason tourneys.

2. Purdue (12-2)
I still think Purdue is most likely of the top four to suffer an inexplicable loss, but I've been saying that all year. Etwuan Moore scores, but it is Rob Hummel who's carrying this team to a championship.

3. Indiana (12-2)
I'll say this, the Hoosiers keep pulling out wins despite the circumstances.

4. Michigan State (10-4)

5. Minnesota (7-7)
Sure, OSU is probably better, but Minnesota may be getting it together, while the Buckeyes appear to be stalling.

6. Ohio State (8-6)
NCAA chances slipping away.

7. Michigan (5-10)

8. Iowa (5-10)

9. Penn State (4-10)

10. Illinois (3-12)

11. Northwestern (0-14)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cruel fate

Indiana beats Purdue 77-68, DJ White comes back from an injury to post 19 & 14, and the Hoosiers seem to be rounding into form just as Kelvin Sampson appears likely to be suspended. It appears likely that Danny Dakich will be coaching at Northwestern on Saturday. How does the team respond to whatever news comes out on Friday? I don't know. I'm totally mystified. I would've expected a slump in one of the most difficult stretches of the Hoosier schedule, but the adversity seems to have brought the team together. Does this continue if Sampson is suspended or fired? It seems unlikely, but it also seemed unlikely the Hoosiers would go through this stretch of play (at Illinois, at Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Purdue) and only come out with one loss that just as easily could've been a win.

In any case, Indiana's finally looking like they could win a few games. This may be the most perplexing season I've ever watched.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Big Ten Power Poll: PrezDay edition

1. Purdue (12-1)
Not to take away anything from the Boilers' young talent or Coach Painter's excellent work, but it might just be that all of the stars are aligning for a regular-season conference championship.

2. Wisconsin (11-2)
Butch's banker gives the Badgers the sweep of the Hoosiers, and a firm hold on second place.

3. Indiana (10-2)
This is the team on the brink of either disaster or great success. So many variables and possible outcomes, it makes my head spin.

4. Michigan State (8-4)
Going into Assembly Hall and getting a good jump on Indiana, who then loses DJ White for most of the game, only to get blown out doesn't signal future success.

5. Ohio State (8-5)
With the loss at Michigan, the Buckeyes look like the Big Ten most likely to get hosed by the NCAA selection committee. OSU has got to get some quality wins, and fast.

6. Penn State (4-8)
Teams 6-10 seem pretty even, so I'm just going with the best record. Nipping Illinois at the finish, even at home, may prove to be a good win in the coming weeks. Also, the Nittany Lions are the only team that has a shot at finishing above .500 from here on.

7. Michigan (4-9)
Three wins in a row catapult the Wolverines up the charts. Who are these guys all of the sudden? Four words: Look out next year.

8. Iowa (4-9)
The Hawkeyes remain dangerous, but lost their only game this week. And it was a big collapse, at home, to Michigan. Ouch.

9. Illinios (3-11)
The Illini exacted revenge upon hapless Minnesota before barely falling on the road to PSU. If Illinois finally starts playing the way we expected all season long,
the conference tourney could be real interesting.

10. Minnesota (5-7)
It wasn't too long ago it seemed as if the Gophers could be contending for a NCAA at-large bid. Now it seems as if they're barely hanging on to a NIT bid.

11. Northwestern (0-12)
Will they win a game? I'd hope so, and they are looking a little better here and there, but they just can't seem to break the streak.

RumorMill time

Y'know, a week ago I was pretty optimistic about both the present and the future of Indiana Basketball. Now, I just don't know what to think. On one hand, the Hoosier men's team appears to be gelling at just the right time, playing active defense and moving the ball on offense. On the other, rumors fly of Tuesday being Sampson's last game and DJ White's health: he's maybe ok, but not going to play at home in the only game the Hoosiers have against the league-leading Boilermakers? Maybe the stars are just aligning for Purdue. On the other hand, the crushing of Michigan State, mostly without DJ, might lead one to think that Indiana has experienced an event to rally around each other, focus, and play up to their potential. It's a volatile situation the young Boilers are stepping into tomorrow night, and one that may determine the Big Ten championship.

And I have no idea what's going to happen. I'll be rooting for the cream and crimson, as always, but I've got to admit that I have no idea what's next.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Crimson Shame

What a bad day for the Hoosier faithful.
First AJ Ratliff leaves the team, then the NCAA releases allegations that Sampson committed major infractions as well as lying to his superiors at IU, and then Indiana loses at home to Wisconsin off courtesy of a last-second banked three-pointer.

There's a whole lot of chatter right now about the allegations (Chris Korman has a pretty good blog post), and I gotta say it looks pretty bad for Sampson and for Greenspan, but on the other hand, you've got to have evidence (and good evidence) to fire somebody. Pat Forde (that beady-eyed Frankenstein who rhymes his name with "Lordy") actually makes a good point about Jim O'Brien recently winning a wrongful termination lawsuit against Ohio State, and suggests suspension is the answer. Suspension would allow the team to keep playing the games, while Danny Dakich (evidently clean of scandal) takes over in the interim, and if Sampson & Meyer can prove themselves innocent, then the progress made at this program isn't lost. If they are guilty, they've been removed and can be fired with NCAA sanctions destroying the program.

However, suspension probably means tanking what should've been a great year for IU, but this team has had a boatload of red flags waving ever since they got blown out by Xavier. We've been waiting for this team to gell, catch fire, and live up to its potential, but now with investigations and possible firings swirling around, I've a hard time seeing it happening. I'm not questioning the talent of Gordon or Ellis and certainly not the heart of DJ White, but it's been looking more and more like the NCAA tourney Sweet 16, let alone the Final Four is becoming a longshot. Otherwise put, this is not Scott May breaking his hand in '75, or Ted Kitchel in '83 or Alan Henderson in '93 busting his knee. This is DJ White busting his foot in 2006. So, I say, there's no use sacrificing the program for a NCAA tourney first-weekend exit. Preserve the Hoosier program, and suspend Sampson immediately, and either fire or suspend Greenspan.

It's pathetic and sad. As a sports fan, I want to see people succeed. I don't want to denigrate the hard work that people do, or be suggesting that people lose their jobs. But being a fan of Hoosier basketball seems to have made me a witness to a series of horrible decisions over the last 10 years. A shame.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The end of the Sampson era?

Maybe. IU fans'll know the full extent of the investigation and the consequences when they all happen in June. It's a shame (yes an actual *shame*), but rather than sit here and worry about what might be, I'm much more interested about what's happening on the court. At least for now. There'll be plenty of time to blather about all of this during the offseason.

AJ Ratliff has left the team. It's too bad, as I thought he might contend for a starting spot if Gordon or Ellis could take point. When he was playing confidently, he was a wonder to watch: blocking shots on the perimeter and taking them in for easy scores, hitting threes and then making foes pay for overplaying with beautiful finger-rolls in the lane. But he was obviously having a tough year, and here's hoping he's able to make his life better, wherever it goes.

Indiana faces a tough home game against Wisconsin, followed by games against Michigan State and Purdue.

I've posted my latest individual ratings report over at the Ratings blog. If you take a look, you won't be surprised at how Purdue was able to use Robbie Hummel against Michigan State and Wisconsin. I said it earlier, Hummel is the best power forward in the conference, and he just creates match-up problems for opposing big men. I've been surprised at his adjustment to the steep learning curve, but credit for Matt Painter for picking Calasan late to bang in the lane, and further credit for making Bo Ryan & Tom Izzo adjust to his gameplan rather than the other way around. I'd never thought I'd say it, but Painter so far looks like coach of the year.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Big Ten Power Poll week 6 & OSU notes

So Indiana wins another tough road game, this time at Ohio State, 59-53. The Hoosiers are still making occasional bad decisions with shot selection, and don't have the toughest defense, but the yesterday's zone was the most active I'd seen from them this season. And the late line-up of Bassett/Crawford, Gordon, Ellis, DJ, and Stemler is pretty quick to the ball as well. Kyle Taber's doing a fine job, not producing a lot, but the Hoosiers are seeming like a better team as long as he's part of the rotation. It's all about Chemistry, and the Hoosiers have to be feeling pretty good going into the big Assembly Hall showdowns with Purdue and Michigan State. Also, I'll have my midseason player-ratings out shortly, but with Sunday's game DJ White just moved up to the top spot over Jamar Butler.

Big Ten Power Poll week 6
Okay, for this week, how about the Greek Olympians? No Aphrodite here, as there just ain't no love in the Big Ten.

1. Purdue (10-1)
Hats off to the young Boilermakers. I didn't think you'd be a NCAA-level squad, let alone competing for the conference title. But to win at Wisconsin, that's impressive.
Greek God: Dionysus, youngest of the pantheon and ultimately the most popular. Similarly, the Boiler youth movement has had stunning success.

2. Indiana (9-1)
The week brought two more road wins, and honestly, although IU's not looking great, they do seem to have some good toughness, and the zone defense is getting more aggressive.
Greek God: Ares, because like IU, the War God had the most weapons. Although Ares was not the smartest or most effective with those weapons, but he had them.

3. Michigan State (8-2)
I still think Michigan State, along with IU, is the best chance the Big Ten has in getting to the Sweet Sixteen.
Greek God: Zeus, the most powerful of the Gods. The conference's top-rated team still deserves the respect, at least until Saturday.

4. Wisconsin (8-2)

First of the top four to lose at home. Big hit here, as Wisconsin *had* the inside track to the conference title.
Greek God: Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom seems an apt fit for the craftiest Big Ten coach.

5. Ohio State (7-4)
The Buckeyes may be the best of the rest, but after watching Sunday's game I gotta think they are in danger of missing the NCAA tourney.
Greek God: Apollo, the sun God or "golden boy" of the pantheon. And Thad Matta's Ohio State is the hot program in the conference.

6. Minnesota (5-5)
You don't turn around a program all at once, and Tubby's doing a good job, even if his team isn't able to get the signature victories yet.
Greek God: Demeter, the bringer of seasons. It may not seem like much yet, but Tubby's program is only going to grow from here.

7. Iowa (4-8)
Surprisingly competive, especially considering the depth and backcourt weaknesses. Tony Freeman makes this team better.
Greek God: Artemis, the huntress. This Hawkeye squad has done an excellent job of ambushing unsuspecting prey so far this season, and may get more hides before the season is over.

8. Penn State (3-8)
Big Ten road brings the Lions back to reality. Being able to beat MSU at home and then to lose at Michigan illustrates the conference's "road rules."
Greek God: Hermes, while certainly not a heavy-hitter, but the fastest. Penn State plays at the fastest pace, so it seems fair.

9. Illinois (2-9)
I wasn't proud of Indiana when the fans booed Sean May and Luke Recker. But I don't recall body-checks in the introductions or stuff getting thrown at their families. And it seems like neither of those acts got apologized for by the Illini.
Greek God: Poseidon, the sea-god capable of turning on a dime from generosity to rage. His petulance pursued Odysseus, as the Illini's pursues the Hoosiers.

10. Michigan (2-9)
Well, they got a second conference win. That's something to build on, I guess.
Greek God: Hades, the God of the Underworld should be parallel to the better of the two worst teams in the conference.

11. Northwestern (0-10)
This season is over. Hopefully the Wildkitties can salvage one win somewhere here to keep from going defeated. There's always next year, right?
Greek God: Hephaestus, the smart & inventive one who was also lame.

Friday, February 08, 2008

No sympathy for Illinois

Y'know, I once kinda felt bad for Illinois' Bruce Weber. A couple of years ago he had what was probably the best Big Ten teams in at least a decade, and most likely the best team in the nation, and in the National Championship game the refs didn't allow his center to guard Sean May. And that was the difference. Then last spring, Eric Gordon, who had always wanted to play for Indiana but was afraid of playing for Mike Davis, suddenly got an opportunity to play for a good coach at his home-state school. He had to back out of a verbal committment to Illinois, but Bruce Weber had snagged a couple of other top 100 kids (McCamey and Quinton Watkins) and had a good mix of veterans and redshirts to trot out another NCAA-level squad. Btw, I'd like to hear the end of the "without time to get another recruit" nonsense- you don't get "another" recruit of Gordon's stature unless you've been recruiting him for years or have a rare opportunity (like Sampson had) just fall into your lap.
Then Watkins failed to qualify (I'm guessing) and Carlwell and Semrau appear to have not recovered from last season's injuries, and Brian Randle has gone from NBA prospect to a prospect for... I don't know what Turkey calls their basketball league. But with all of this, Weber's team has disintegrated, Weber himself obviously can't move past the loss of a key recruit and can't comport himself with any class (you can't shake the other Indiana players' hands?), and this anger and lack of composure has not only carried over to his team but the fans as well. There's nothing as classy as throwing stuff at someone's mother because he didn't go to your school. But Weber himself seems to have started making a series of bad decisions, that started at least with keeping around Jamar Smith, who after being *warned* not to drink and drive, careens off the road and nearly kills his teammate Carlwell and leaves him for dead. That can't be good in the locker-room. When the chips are down, you know this guy's not around for you. I don't know what Weber's doing, but it reminds me of when Steve Alford kept around nutcase and sexual assault enthusiast Pierre Pierce. Also, Weber picked up transfer-happy Alex Legion (who passed up chances to start at Michigan and Kentucky in just six months in order to sit a year at Illinois). I guess it's possible that Legion could stick around until next season. The Illinois program doesn't seem to be trending in a good direction in terms of wins or character.
And then there's Chester Frazier, who should be not only the floor general and one of the leader of Illini this season, has consistently shown himself to be a jackass, and a jackass that hurts his team. He makes bad decisions, commits stupid fouls, and just acts petty. And it seems to be rubbing off on the other Illini. So I've got no sympathy for Weber or the Illini.
Except for Shaun Pruitt. I'd say he's a tough-luck kid, but he got all the luck he could ask for when he fouled DJ White IN THE ACTING OF SHOOTING from IU's own free-throw line right before the buzzer. Hey Steve Welmer, do the last 2 seconds not count? But still, I wish that DJ & Jamarcus had each hit one of their free-throws so Pruitt could've hit both of his at the end of the first OT and been a hero instead of a goat.

You know, I was a little outraged when Illinois played at Purdue and the Boilers would chest-bump the Illini ball-handlers to the floor to no whistles. Now I'm glad Weber and his band of classless fools got jobbed at Mackey. I'm looking forward to enjoying every loss the Illini suffer this season, but the fact that Indiana went in that hate-filled arena and came out with a win is pretty sweet right now.

Late Edit:
Illini Talk has a take on the game from the other side, and makes the point that Illinois fans should rejoice in having a quite talented frosh guard in Demetri McCamey who will probably be around a lot longer than Gordon, and therefore perhaps a better investment overall. I'd respond: perhaps, but big recruiting wins are likely to bring in more recruiting wins. So it'll be a while before we can make any judgments. But I've added Illini Talk to my blog-roll.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Congratulations, Coach Knight.... I guess

Robert Knight announced his retirement, and did it just like he did everything... his way. Coach Knight was easily one of the five best coaches to ever coach the game of college basketball, and perhaps for pure basketball intelligence is unmatched except for his protege, Mike Kryzyzewski (who I actually do think is a tad sharper by virtue of being a little more flexible).

I started watching Knight in high school, when Indiana was underachieving in the Big Ten race and choked away the conference championship to Ohio State. They came back and destroyed the opposition on the way to Knight's last Final Four. They came up painfully short against Duke. I watched that game again on ESPN classic, and really IU didn't get hosed by the refs, except that Cal Cheaney got hosed on a lot of ticky-tacky stuff. It's a little sad, because I think that team had such a great offense, and the following year was honestly one of the best college teams I've ever seen play the game, and to lose it all due to Alan Henderson's busted leg seemed crueler with each passing year as the Hoosier program spiralled into mediocrity.

By the late '90's, I was pretty tired of correcting Knight's critics (growing louder by the minute) on the facts, as he was a guy that I didn't ever want to be an apologist for. Facts being facts, the man's a very abrasive jerk with no sense of humor about himself and he just does some stupid and inexplicably mean stuff. I'll grant you, the sportsmedia love to blow it all out of proportion, but it's hard to see Knight as a "good guy." And Knight's brilliant coaching seemed to retreat behind a shell of stubborn counter-productive decisions as talented recruits lost their shooting touch or just refused to take the initiative on offense (Michael Lewis, Charlie Miller) or just transferred (Luke Recker). I think Dane Fife was the worst example of what Knight had created at the end of his tenure at IU, a McDonald's All-American that Duke had pursued strongly, who after 2 years of Knight's berating had completely lost confidence in his offense. And it wasn't like he didn't have it to start with, as he started out the year hot, and not only did Fife score like 20 points in his first game, but he hit huge shots that year (the end of regulation against Kentucky he had a duck-under three to send the game to OT, and against Michigan about to pull ahead he crossed over & hit a long pull-up two over Lou Bullock. You may have seen Bracey Wright trying to hit that same shot many, many times). And the heck of it was that Knight *liked* Fife.

I've seen some chatter that Knight was too inflexible and unchanging to utilize the three, and that his impact was in the 60's and 70's. But his teams from 1991-1994 both shot and made a good amount of threes. Only in Alan Henderson's senior year do I remember the Hoosiers shooting threes significantly less than other teams. I think Knight just got depressed or something at the end of his career. But in the early '90's, Knight had tough defenses and dynamic offenses that other teams just couldn't stop, so I think saying his coaching is 20+ years obsolete is incorrect, at best. The 1991-1992 and 1992-1993 teams would be title contenders today. It was those teams and their games against UCLA and Michigan that made me not only a college basketball fan, but a Hoosier fan.

So, I say thanks to coach Knight for having the right idea about the way basketball is to be played, for getting recruits honestly, for yanking starters who weren't playing hard, and for showing me that there's a lot to think about and analyze in even just one game of college basketball. Maybe he should recognized the writing on the wall and quit when Luke Recker left, but I really do appreciate many of the things RMK did for the game. I just hope that he enjoys the retirement, and try to stay out of the news.


Devin of CBC f/k/a Hoosier Fun Ball

Monday, February 04, 2008

Big Ten Power Poll Week... uh, whatizzit... 5?

Here we are, pretty much at the half-way point of the season, and things are more confused than ever. No theme this week, as I've got Gentrification and Bourdieu to study, and I just couldn't think of any way frame the Big Ten standings sociologically. Oh wait, I just did: Paul Fussell's Social Class. No Top-Out-of-Sight for the Big Ten this year, that only applies to Memphis and maybe Kansas on the national scale. No Bottom-out-of-sight either, that pretty much applies to some Independents and maybe Maryland-Eastern Shore.

1.) Wisconsin (8-1)
The Big Red Machine keeps rolling along, spanking a dangerous Minnesota team on the road after handing Indiana its ugliest (if not worst) loss of the season. Bo Ryan may be the best conference coach with his old-fashioned defense and nifty flex offense, but he's getting to be the new Gene Keady. Coach, you just never get a call, do you?
Social Class: Upper

2.) Purdue (8-1)
Give 'em props, they keep winning. I still don't believe this is an actual title threat, and keep waiting for the bottom to fall out, but it hasn't yet. But they deserve recognition after winning a road game at Illinois that I was certain they'd lose. If they win at Wisconsin, I'll put them at #1.
Social Class: Upper

3.) Indiana (7-1)
For lack of better options. Indiana looked weak against a Northwestern squad that they should've punished, and this time it was their defense that looked weak. I don't know if the Hoosiers are just uninspired or not meshing or what, but with this five-game stretch coming up, they'd better snap out of it fast.
Social Class: Upper-Middle

4.) Michigan State (7-2)
Again, the Sparties stick here only for lack of better options. Losing at Penn State means that MSU is probably going to have to win at Purdue, at Indiana, and at Wisconsin in order to secure a piece of the title. Like Indiana, the conference season has exposed problems with both the offense and defense.
Social Class: Middle

5.) Ohio State (6-3)
I would've moved the Buckeyes up, but they lost at Iowa. I don't understand why OSU loves the three so much when you've both Koufos the doofus and Othello Hunter inside. This loss also hurts their NCAA profile, which was starting to look pretty decent.
Social Class: High Prole

6.) Iowa (4-6)
Who would've thought the Hawkeyes could get this high? Of course, life has gotten a lot better for Iowa since Tony Freeman came back from injury, but Seth Gorney deserves credit for stepping up in conference play. Suddenly, the Hoosiers narrow win at Iowa despite the late barrage of threes looks pretty good.
Social Class: Mid-Prole

7) Penn State (3-6)

A great win for this team over Michigan State. This team has more raw talent than it's had since... I don't know... since Dino Gaudio and Calvin Booth made PSU a title contender in the mid-90's? A lot of the talent is just young, tho, and without the veteran scoring of Geary Claxton, I don't see too many more wins this year.
Social Class: Low Prole

8) Minnesota (3-5)
Granted, the first half of the schedule has been tough to Tubby Smith, but I really expected the Gophers to get at least one of the top three in Minneapolis. They've got to start just getting some wins. In the event that they lose at NU this week, even the NIT starts to slip away as a possibility.
Social Class: Mid Prole

9) Illinois (2-8)
Disappointing. I don't know what else to say. The numbers look good, and every close road loss makes you think that they're going to pay back that team at home, but then they don't. I don't know what's up with the Illini, but this season is looking less like a rebuilding year and more like a waste.
Social Class: Low Prole

10) Michigan (1-8)
What to say when you've got 8 losses and a single win (over Northwestern)? I mean, I'm sure these guys will be better next year, especially after having a full off-season to internalize John Beilien's system. But there's not a lot of help on the way, so "wait 'til next year" still seems a little hollow.
Social Class: Destitute

11) Northwestern (0-8)

Signs of life are not translating into wins just yet. Carmody's finally playing Jeremy Nash over Jeff Ryan, and Craig Moore's finding his shooting touch again. They could get their first conference win as soon as Wednesday when the Gophers come to Welsh-Ryan arena.
Social Class: Destitute

Sunday, February 03, 2008

IU Wins, and there was this other game today too...

Indiana beat Northwestern at home 75-63, but had a hard time pulling away. Of course, I didn't watch the game on television, but kept up with it as I could. It seemed Northwestern had no answer for the individual brilliance of Gordon and DJ, but IU didn't have a lot to be proud of in this one. Sampson knows things aren't going well, and is clearly trying to mix things up, given that he started walk-on Kyle Taber and played him for 24 minutes.
I don't know what the problem is exactly. Sometimes the Hoosier defense looks appalling, sometimes its the offense. But sputtering into the hardest five-game stretch of the season is not confidence-inspiring. I guess it was good to see that Gordon's okay again, and hopefully Jordan Crawford is too. Also, it was good to see Sampson admit things aren't ideal and not make excuses.

What was pretty awesome to watch was the last few minutes of the Superbowl! Who woulda guessed. I didn't pay much attention in the first half, scarfing delicious 7-layer dip and rum 'n' cokes. Tom Petty put on a totally decent half-time show, and then there was a really fun football game which was a standout defensive performance on both sides until the end of the 4th quarter when I think everyone just got tired. I was cursing the Patriots (as I imagine most Colts & Bears fans might've been) for yet again pulling out a late go-ahead touchdown drive when Eli Manning shook two tackles, circled around, and throw an amazing completion to a receiver who, while getting tackled, made a one-handed catch by literally using his head. Congrats, Giants! There was no point this season that I thought you'd get to the Superbowl, until you actually did it, and then I thought it was just a blind hope that you'd upset New England. Well done.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Indiana suffers first conference loss

Wisconsin won at home, which is what they were supposed to do. I haven't watched most of the game yet, it's sitting at home waiting on my DVR, but I caught the first 10 minutes and the last 4. Looks like we got down 20 in the second half before storming back to make it a game. Big Ten Chronicle has a nice statistical run-down of the game. I can't add much more to it, other than to say that the Indiana offense is really starting to look like a liability against good teams. I don't know if it's just the lack of a true point guard, or a just the resulting of playing a bunch of talented guys who don't know what D-I pressure looks like, but it's starting to piss me off. The Hoosiers need to know what they are trying to accomplish on offense, and jacking long threes or trying to beat five guys off the dribble should never the answer.

All that aside, this team could still come together. Eric Gordon & Jamarcus Ellis are solid players, and DJ White is just a beast inside (22 pts and 17 rebs last night), and there's a collection of solid role players. And they've shown some resiliency even in these tow losses. But getting guys to play as a team on offense is something Sampson needs to make happen but quick, and I still think Lance Stemler will help us more on both sides of the ball at the four-spot than Mike White (neither can block shots, but Stemler can at least take charges, and Stemler just doesn't cough up the rock). But heck, maybe Brandon McGee deserves a longer look at this point.

Northwestern comes to town on Sunday. Go Hoosiers.