Indiana vs. Kentucky is a measuring game, no matter how you shake it.
Kelvin Sampson constantly reminds us that his team is a work in progress, that every one of these losses is a little lesson on the way. This, undoubtedly, is true.
And the Hoosiers are owed a bit of space because they’re under a new coach, one with exacting standards and his own way of doing almost everything. It’s just going to take time for them to adjust. They actually ARE behind in preparation time when you compare them to other teams.
That also makes this an exciting year to watch, if you’re an analytical type of fan. Clearly Indiana has improved on defense and rebounding, the two areas Sampson proclaims his priorities.
But what’s up with the offense? D.J. White can be fantastic one night and a non-factor the next. The guards are interchangeable, according to Sampson, and yet also seem to to pick the same nights to be lackluster. In other words, they don’t do a great job of picking each other up.
Lance Stemler was 0-for-7 from 3-point range today but he’ll get his touch back. Don’t mistake this for some sign that he can’t play against good teams; this was his best effort on the boards and on defense. He was very, very active.
This illness could really hurt Allen. He was just starting to get confident in the low block and now he’s got to sit out. You get the feeling with Allen that he’s a guy who’s unsure — and not unwilling or unable — of how he needs to play, given his size. And he’s not going to learn just by some coach telling him or a bunch of media types writing about it. He was slowly picking away at it, feeling his own way, getting to where he needed to be. Who knows how far he’s been kicked back now.
Anyway, what I really want to know is: what are you guys thinking? Analyze the first eight games for me. Where were the Hoosiers, where are the now, and where are they going?