Loose thoughts

Kyle Taber slaps hands with his teammates.

1. Is Kyle Taber going to be a regular part of the rotation?

Here’s how Kelvin Sampson answered that: “Depends on how he practices. He’ll have the opportunity.”

2. How badly is Jordan Crawford, who played only 2 minutes, hurt?

Sampson said the freshman guard “flipped” his ankle again and was unable to play. No word on his long-term prognosis, though it seems like rest should be enough of a cure.

3. Why doesn’t Brandon McGee, the 6-7 freshman guard/forward, play more?

He’s not a good enough perimeter player to earn time there, and doesn’t do the little things as well as Lance Stemler and Kyle Taber at the four, Sampson said.

One could possibly wonder if McGee doesn’t do the “big” things better than those two.

4. Has A.J. Ratliff made any progress toward becoming the player he once was?

Ratliff had to take up Jordan Crawford’s minutes and then got even more time because Jamarcus Ellis got into foul trouble.

Ratliff looked especially comfortable on defense at the top of the 2-3 zone. He was shouting directions to the other players and seemed to be really engaged in the game.

He shot just 1-of-6 from the 3-point. Sampson joked that he asked Ratliff, “Are you ever going to make a 3-pointer again? If you’re not, just tell us.”

Ratliff needs to regain his touch — he’s been really, really open on most of his shots — and provide some scoring so that D.J. White and Eric Gordon (who have scored 75 percent of the team’s points the last two games) have some help.

5. What’s Gordon’s reception from the fans in Champaign on Thursday going to be like?

Here, I’ll let him tell you: “I don’t know. But, (we) just gotta go over there and win. That’s the No. 1 thing.”

My answer?

It’s going to be insane.


  1. Coaches want to win more than anybody. If McGhee would make Indiana better, he would get the opportunity to do that.

    People are just searching for stuff. Indiana just needs to play better. It’s not all that complicated.

    Sampson knows who is his best players are. What he’s doing is called motivating.

  2. if gordon shot this well vs. uconn and wisconsin, we would be sitting here talking about how amazing our 1 loss IU team is.

    and i loved seeing aj atop the 2-3 zone. normally i don’t like zone defense, but it is something we need to have in our arsenal and if aj can just make shots like he did last year then having him there to direct the defense will be extremely useful. we have the right personnel for the zone too, dj can park himself down low and block shots, we have guards who are quick enough to play in the zone as well

    one more thing, its time for D to stop getting consistent minutes until he shows that he has a feel for the game and has the ability to make a layup. he can’t play defense, he is slow, and now he can’t score. mike white can at least play defense and isn’t immobile. why can’t he take up D’s minutes? its ridiculous, D should be playing football and not basketball

  3. I like McGhee. He was getting some minutes until he made that
    dunk that was inappropriate. I think he’s served his sentence and
    needs to be given some time in the game. A few seconds in today
    and he hit a 3!
    Give him a chance!!

  4. why did it take so long to go zone? Did KS do that intentionally?? The backdoor defense was atrocious! And I could see no apparent corrections being made. Anybody else? Is our problem guarding players in motion a result of our stand-around offense (in practice)?

  5. Usually when coaches switch defenses from a man-to-man to a zone defense, it’s done intentionally. In fact, I can’t conceive of a time when a coach changes defense but does it unintentionally. Can you?

    Indiana should have been able to defend Northwestern man-to-man. KS gave the team 3/4 of the game to do that. That’s when Kelvin decided that it was better to just win the game than it was to prove Indiana could defend NW in the man-to-man.

    And I really hope that your question “is our problem guarding players in motion a result of our stand around offense (in practice)?” was an attempt at a joke. Indiana attempts to mimic the offense of whoever they are playing in practice with their scout team.

    Do you really think Sampson is one of only 6 coaches in Division 1 to have won 20 games 10 straight years because he tells his team to stand around on offense and then has no idea how to coach defense?

    Seriously, people to think before they put their thoughts out for other people to see. Granted, Indiana is not playing good basketball, and a lot of things need to be corrected. Having said that, Indiana is 18-3, so they must be doing some things at least half way well, or they would have lost a few more than they have. They obviously don’t have a terrible defense or a terrible offense. If they did, they would be Illinois right now…at the bottom of the league.

  6. “KS gave the team 3/4 of the game to do that. That’s when Kelvin decided that it was better to just win the game than it was to prove Indiana could defend NW in the man-to-man.”

    That was my question/observation. I thought so. Glad someone else agreed–we should have been able to, but weren’t.

    I have no idea how he has had all those 20 win seasons.

  7. KevinK….I think you are right…our defense suffers cause we are guarding our offense in practice..maybe. WHich is a do nothing…How KS has won 20 games so many season…exhibit A..our schedule this year…..

    I agree about McGhee….why isn’t he a better perimeter defender? can’t be anyworse than anyone else……doesn’t he bring something to the table? Enjoy McGhee this year kids cause I can see him leavin’…hate to say it but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit….

  8. kelin, how about the fact Sampson won around 70% of his games in BIG 12 play? How about the fact he’s been to the Final Four, Elite 8, and Sweet 16…how about the fact he’s won four BIG 12 conference championships (3 tournament, 1 regular season)? At a school where fans don’t support the team and football is king?

    While Sampson was at Oklahoma, he beat Arkansas four straight times, took 3/4 from Connecticut, beat Michigan State with less talent twice, beat Maryland the year they won the national championship…I could go on and on. It’s a whole lot more than scheduling.

    But I guess you’re right. The guy must be a total moron of a leader & must have no clue how to coach offense or defense.

    The idiots who voted him national coach of the year twice must know nothing.

  9. Hooseirfan your so right, people just throw stuff out there and know nothing of which they speak….

    This is a young team and they are working on getting better, yes they have flaws and need to improve. EJ stated it best when he said they needed to listen to their coachs, they know what they need to do, that sums it up completely, this laying it all on KS is a joke. We shoot the ball the way we ALL know we can we are still a 1 loss team in the TOP 5……….

    PS: This team will be ready come Late March and Early April when they need to be peaking………

    PS2: KS is also the winningest coach in the HISTORY of the Big 12, guess he did that blind folded too……….

  10. KS had a better record at Oklahoma then Roy Williams had at Kansas during the same period. I guess Williams sucks, too.
    I hear Eddie Sutton is available at the end of the year.
    What’s the deal? Indiana somehow lures in a 2-time Coach-of-the Year but some of you seem to think there were better coaches available. IU is better week in and week out than it has been in a long time (I attended my first game in 1968).

  11. I agree with hoosier fan… I think the stats speak for themselves. Some of the best players in the country played in the Big 12 during KS’s run at Oklahoma.

    And Kelin, come on big dog, any other year this schedule would look pretty tough. But obviously you don’t know much about how college basketball works. You see, most of our opponents are set a year or more before we play them… like UCONN for example, we have a home and away series going with them. And Kentucky, who’s usually a top 25 program, is having an off year. But we play them every year. We also have a home and away series with Southern Ill. who has been a top 25 team the last 3 or 4 years with the exception of this year… We also played GT who’s usually in the hunt in the ACC… I mean, it just turned out that these teams aren’t as good as usual.

    You can’t blame KS for the bad schedule. The bottom line is, we havent been able to win the big game yet. Could it be because we aren’t as good as advertised? Maybe. But it has nothing to do w/ the schedule because any other year it would be solid.

  12. Ummmmm…..ALL of you answer this …give me the date of KS national championship and who did he beat….(crickets crickets crickets)

    Now give me the date of Roy Williams national championship _____________ (fill in the blank)

    I ironically think Sampson is a great recruiter and a solid guy, but his offensive coaching abilities are equal to Mike Davis. Maybe you don’t want to admit it but…..
    *We lack movement
    *We lack screening for our good shooters
    *You can pin point what other teams have as an identitiy (Wisconsin…the flex/swing offense, Purdue….motion 4 out 1 in, UNC…strong transition team) IU has no identity on either side of the court……When you play MSU you know you are going to have to rebound and box out ….

    When you play IU what is our identity?

    So for one second stop being such a FAN and look at the current results…Our signature win is Minnesota…the young team excuse was good 15 games ago…Purdue is a young team, but you can see there improvements.

    We have been having the same conversations about IU……movement in offense, who will play the 4, our defense is suspect….at what point will we settle these issues…(20 games in)

  13. knasmiley….I wasn’t the only one who layed on KS ….HE DID BLAMED himself also and I agree with him………

  14. Give me the date of the national championship Roy Williams won at Kansas…(even more crickets) Even Bill Guthridge won big at North Carolina. Everyone but Matt Doherty (known for great offense)did.

  15. knasmiley,
    There is no way, NO WAY, that that team sunday was a top 5 team in the country. If you saw a top-5 team at AH sunday, then YOU are the one that doesn’t know what you’re talking about. NW gave us all we could handle defensively. How many layups did they get in the half court? Thank goodness they missed some of them. The defense was horrible, and there is plenty of blame to go around.

    I applaud Sampson for putting Kyle Taber in the game, and trying to motivate some of the others, it should have happened long ago (IMO).

    The issue is not youth, the issue is that this team is not demonstrating any real progress in the WAY it plays. I too hope for a team prepared and ready come march. When is this metamorphosis going to take place? These next 5 games may be brutal, or we may do very well. We’ll see.

  16. I would like to qualify my earlier statement–DJ’s progress and contribution to the team has been tremendous and growing.

    My original comment about the zone was that I thought coach was running that man-to-man so long almost like it was an exhibition game or something trying to get the problems with the defense sorted out. Did anyone else think so too? I apparently didn’t make my point very well.

    What will happen the next couple of games if we try to go man?? Weren’t the other coaches in the conference watching that as well?

    And kelin, as far as McGhee(sp?) goes, he hasn’t played enough for us to know if we will miss him next year or not if he does decide to transfer?!?

    Last comment, I don’t really care one way or the other about Big12 results, he was hired to compete for championships in this conference, and expectations by many were very high this year. Have they been met so far and do you guys think there is evidence right now that they will be?

    {Notice I didn’t call anybody any derogatory names here anywhere.}

  17. Pleae don’t downplay Roy Williams accomplishments, cause he did win one at Kansas. My point with KS is…..less we forget his badge of honor coming here was….
    *tough D
    *great recruiter
    *teams play hard

    I can honestly say, as of this season and some of last …the recruiting part we are solid. We DO NOT play tough D and we do NOT play hard all the time.Yes some of it falls in the laps of the players but I only agreed with KS, it is his problem/fault and it is his to solve.

    I don’t think McGhee has done anything to totally give him NO floor time. Now we are not in practice at all so we don’t know for sure…BUT I do know….the guys we have used at the 4 spot don’t have that much on McGhee….is McGhee comparable to Ahfeld…he doesn’t play either?

    It is ok to disagree without being disagreeable…
    Yes We Can

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