The Hoosiers held morning and afternoon practices Wednesday and will have Thursday off before practicing twice on Friday.
Team members who live close to Bloomington are traveling home to be with their families for the holiday. About eight team members who are from farther away will spend Thanksgiving with coach Kelvin Sampson’s family.
Sampson said he and his wife, Karen, have always had their home open to his teamâ€™s players on Thankgiving.
â€œNormally, Karen throws a bunch of pillows on the floor,â€ Sampson said. â€œThey eat and they sleep. Then they wake up and get one of those big old styrofoam carryout things. They go home and eat again.â€
DEVELOPING AN IDENTITY: Sampson is still looking for the strengths of his first Hoosier team
Sampson told members of the media Wednesday that heâ€™s seen improvement over course of Indianaâ€™s first four games, but hasnâ€™t seen consistently good play in any one area.
â€œThereâ€™s nothing we do right now that Iâ€™d say is great, but thereâ€™s nothing weâ€™re doing that I donâ€™t think is going to get better,â€ the first-year Hoosier coach said.
The roadmap for being a good team on the road, like the Hoosiers would like to be Tuesday at Duke, Sampson said, is to have a team identity where there are particular aspects of the game in which your team is going to excel, no matter where you are playing.
â€œAfter four games, we donâ€™t have a strength right now,â€ Sampson said. â€œWe have some guys who can make 3s. I think D.J. (White) is playing better and better, but thereâ€™s not an area where I would say, OK, this is our strength right now.â€
GETTING BETTER: During practice this week, the Hoosiers are working on execution on offense, guarding the ball better, and sustaining concentration for longer periods of time, Sampson said.
â€œYouâ€™ll notice in the Indiana State game and the Chicago State game when we were focused, we were pretty good,â€ he said. â€œIt only takes one guy to let up.
â€œThere also has to be a personal accountability for that, just playing the game the right way when youâ€™re on the court, not looking at the score, whether youâ€™re up 20 or up 30, is finishing the game the right way.â€
Sampson said IU will continue to work on its own game Friday, then start preparing for Duke on Saturday and Sunday.
The No. 9 Blue Devils lost to Marquette Tuesday night, 73-62, as Marquette sophomore guard Dominic James led all scorers with 25. That has to be painful for Hoosier fans because James, a Richmond, Ind. native, reportedly wanted to play at Indiana, but Mike Davis and his staff did not offer James a scholarship.