A Festivus for the rest of us!

I can’t imagine comparing Kelvin Sampson to Santa Claus will make me popular in media relations, so I’ve decided to bypass the annual Christian tradition and present you with a column centering around the traditional Seinfeld holiday, Festivus.

For those who don’t watch Seinfeld re-runs religiously, Festivus is the untraditional holiday that centers around wrestling the head of the household, a sturdy aluminum pole, and the ever-so entertaining airing of grievances.

Since I’m pretty sure Sampson would pin me in a heartbeat, and the only aluminum thing I have is in the shape of a 12 ounce can, I present to you my Hoosier Basketball airing of grievances.

“And at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year!” – Frank Costanza

My first grievance is the Hoosiers’ inability to defeat Butler, Kentucky or Duke. Outside of Butler, the Hoosiers weren’t expected to beat any of the teams, but it would have been a pleasant surprise to upset Kentucky or Duke. The only reason I even discuss the possibility of an upset is because of how close the Hoosiers came in both contests.

My next grievance is as broad as Shawn Kemp’s waistband (ironically, the same size as Santa’s). What I’m referring to is the lack of stability at the point guard position. Imagine if you were describing IU to someone outside of the state. Who would you say its starting point guard is? Would it be Earl Calloway who plays like a Jaguar that can’t go under 90 mph? Would it be freshman Armon Bassett who was playing in prep school this time last year? Maybe 5-foot-8 Errek Suhr? The point being (ha-ha), the Hoosiers have yet to have a point guard emerge from the cluster and play as a consistent leader. Woe is me.

For the past two seasons during Midnight Madness/Hoosier Hysteria, A.J. Ratliff has thrown down dunks that would make Vince Carter blush. Then the season starts, and Ratliff acts like he got a cease and desist order not to throw one down. I wish Ratliff would play aggressively and attack the rim like I know he is capable of. I’m not asking for three Hoosiers to huddle in the lane and let Ratliff dunk over them on a breakaway…but I would like Ratliff to posterize at least one Big Ten opponent this season. While I’m at it, let’s make it Purdue.

My last grievance doesn’t have much to do with the current Indiana Hoosier team. It’s a grievance that has been boiling over for years. It’s very unlikely and might be a longer shot than a Bracey Wright three pointer, but I wish IU’s athletic department would at least acknowledge Bobby Knight’s milestone. He is about to become the most winning coach of all-time in college basketball, and the fact that he gathered a majority of those wins in Bloomington warrants at least a departmental nod. A press release, or a mention at the next home game, or something. I’m not saying they should give the guy a bronze statue on top of Assembly Hall, but they shouldn’t act like they never met the guy either.

There are myriad (you like?) other grievances I could air, but instead I’d like to hear some of yours. Post comments and air your grievances reflecting the Indiana Hoosiers, or me, whichever one floats your aluminum pole this holiday season.


  1. I echo your grievance with AJ and his non-aggressive play. I would also like to extend the same to Rod Wilmont. I bet he could jump just as well as AJ, and he should drive to the bucket more as well.

    I also grieve the fact that we have 0 big men who play really big inside. Mike White and XK are both too small, Ben Allen is sick and not yet up to snuff inside, and DJ just needs to play bigger. I would like to think differently, but when I watch teams like Florida, Ohio State, and Wisconsin, they have big men who would torch us inside. I’m almost dreading January 2nd right now. I hope they prove me wrong big time (pun intended).

  2. My biggest grievance is the tendency for the Hoosiers to fall in love with the 3 point shot like its Borat. About 36% of IU’s shot attempts have been from downtown. That is the 3rd highest such ratio in the Big Ten! I may be old fashioned, but I believe that shooting a 3-pointer for ever two 2-point attempts is too much. This isn’t the same IU team with Coverdale, Hornsby, and Fife that can afford to rain threes like its monsoon season. I feel that the Hoosiers would have much more success if they explore the lane a little bit and penetrate before resorting to shooting it from downtown. I agree with Matt and Mike, in that our wing-guys (particularly Ratliff and Wilmont) should take it to the rim and have their penetration open up the 3-point game.

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