A day later . . .

If Kelvin Sampson discusses the status of his team before its next game he’ll likely say something in the realm of “I don’t overreact to losses.”

He’s off to see his son’s senior day game at Oklahoma, though, and won’t even be on the radio tomorrow night.  I don’t think we’ll hear from him again until after the Northwestern game on Wednesday.

I understand what he’s saying about not overreacting. Even Tom Izzo was quick to point out that Indiana is still a threat in the upcoming tournaments, especially if Calloway can come back.

And if you want to look at the big picture, you’ll see that perhaps the best thing that could happen for the future of Indiana basketball is the continued diversification of Armon Bassett. Everyone has high hopes for Eric Gordon next year, and he’s likely to live up to them. However, he’s not the physical specimen that Kevin Durant or Greg Oden is. It’s much tougher to be a great guard as a freshman because you’re constantly being hounded by seasoned, athletic defenders. If Bassett can truly become a supplement to Gordon, that changes everything.

All that aside, Saturday’s loss should be troubling for Indiana fans. All Big Ten teams lose on the road, I know. We’ve been over that.

But where was the emotion late in the game? Walton makes that steal, hits the lay in and thats it. The Spartans coast away.

I think Calloway is probably more of a leader than any of us expected. He deals with a lot of the logistics of running the offense and defense, but he’s also got a quiet cockiness about him that gives the Hoosiers their edge. Bassett’s got it, too, though he’s a bit young to be the guy the rest of the team follows.

What are you guys thinking on this dreary Sunday?

8 comments

  1. Well first off .. I am hearing the pessimists sounding off that we are a mediocre team. We are a good team… This team has great moments but recently it has strung some bad moments with the great moments. We need to string the great moments with good moments. As I saw it yesterday.. We owned MSU for 20 minutes or so while they owned us about 8 minutes… the remaining minutes we just gave it away. This team is missing the senior leadership the last few games… We do not have a senior like Teagues or Tucker that are consistent. Therefore we have to look to our freshman. I think we are at a point now where Armon Bassett will have to become the identity for the team. Rod, it seems, has relinquished that role.

  2. Every time IU wins a road game, the sky is falling for most IU fans (Peegs message board being the one that comes to the top of my head). I understand it was a tough loss, and more importantly it was a game that would have improved the chances for IU to potentially get a 4-5 seed later down the line in the NCAA.

    However, if IU wins these last two games that puts them at 20-9 (10-6), and I’m not sure about anyone else but if you told me that would our record at the beginning of the year…I would have said I’ll definitely take it. Sampson’s getting a lot out of these kids this year and that record is solid. Toss in a win or possible deep run in the BTT, and this team has itself a good seed in the tourney.

    Either way, the team needs to finish these last two games off and they’ll be fine…and the sky will cease from falling.

  3. To me, the most significant thing about the four Big Ten losses in the second half of the season is they were on the road against teams we beat earlier. While our earlier wins might seem to indicate we should have prevailed the second time, I believe the emotional aspect has just the opposite effect. Sure, if you’re a truly dominant team (OSU, Wis) you might be expected to win both home and away. But if you’re just a pretty good team as IU is — close in ability to four or five other teams (IIll, Mich St, Iowa, Pur, Mich) — then following up a home win with a victory on the road becomes very difficult because the revenge factor plus the energy of the home crowd works strongly against you. The incredible home court advantage can make regular season results very misleading. Let’s wait until the Big Ten and NCAA tourneys to make any kind of judgement about how well Sampson has directed his first IU team. And it won’t be until next season and the one after, when Sampson has a roster of mostly his own recruits, that we’ll have a real handle on what we can expect from the man in the long haul. I’m betting we’ll eventually see more championship banners hanging in the Hall — or hopefully a new arena!

  4. Some thoughts while spilling a taco salad on my shirt.
    –IU’s players look exhausted and that makes me wonder about their conditioning.
    –Whenevr Sampson decides to get the ball to DJ the team forgets to even look for the outside shot and IU becomes very easy to defend and easy to beat. IU “won” the first half due to the 3.
    –Sampson doesn’t strike me as a good in-game coach. Matt Painter out-coached him because of the moves he made during that game. During the second half of the MSU game Sampson kept fiddling with the lineup and never allowed any chemistry or timing to develop.
    –With a year under a new coach and his own players coming in, next year should be fun. Sampson is a good coach and will do well here but it’s too much to expect too much this year.

  5. I think it may be too early to judge him as an in-game coach. Your points about the 2nd half of the MSU game are valid, however I can also remember some games earlier in the season where we made adjustments that were vital to winning games. I believe it was the Southern Illinois game where we went to a zone defense in the 2nd half that stifled them for basically the rest of the game.

    Also, a lot of times fans will say so and so got out-coached simply because they got their butts handed to them. I think the chances of us beating PU at Mackey this year were slim…especially given the drubbing we put on them earlier.

  6. I don’t disagree with you too terribly much. It’s just hard to figure out why in one game he went to a zone and in another when it would have helped he didn’t; or why Keeling or White contribute in a first half and never play in the second; same with Ben Allen sicne he had played so well then gets the pine at MSU.
    I’m still very optimisitc all in all.

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