Kelvin Sampson said he wanted to know how tough this team was.
I think he got a pretty good indication last night, as the Hoosiers scraped, clawed and fought their way to a most-gratifying Big Ten road game in one of the toughest environments imaginable.
Here are my thoughts:
- Indiana did not have an MVP on Thursday. There were four or even five players that they simply could not have gone without: D.J. White, Jordan Crawford, Armon Bassett, Eric Gordon and Jamarcus Ellis. You could even throw Shaun Pruitt into that mix; he was equally as important if not more to Indiana’s victory.
- They fought. In a close game, with an average opposing player in Demetri McCamey going for a career-high 31 points, none bigger than the 3-pointer he hit at the end of the first OT. But Indiana found a way to win. That’s what great teams do. And by no means am I saying this a great team- they simply are not- but they found a way to win a game in a hostile environment when they played far from their best basketball.
- Kyle Taber? He’s making a strong case for more playing time. He dropped in that pretty putback in the second half like it was nothing. And while DeAndre Thomas continues to provide little for Indiana besides fouls, I’d expect to see Taber become part of the rotation. You have to love seeing a former walk-on come in an contribute for a team as talented as Indiana; it shows his hard work and dedication has paid off.
- Is is me, or do you all out there see absolutely no cohesion with this offense? It’s hard to give Kelvin Sampson that much credit, because I really don’t see a set system that Indiana runs and it oftentimes leads to terrible shots (maybe a Jordan Crawford fadeaway?) There absolutely needs to be more movement, more screens and more passing. Why not run Gordon around a few screens (a-la-Reggie Miller/Richard Hamilton) to get him an open look, as opposed to giving him the ball 30 feet from the hoop? I don’t see the methodology behind this. On a staff where every assistant has been a head coach at some point, how can they not run a better offense?
- Gordon stepped up in the second half last night. You could tell that he was a little rattled early because he was trying to do too much. He was going 100 miles an hour and forcing the ball to the rim. But he settled down in the second half, scoring 18 of his 19 points and he was one of the critical elements to IU’s second half comeback.