One of the first thing Indiana players noticed about Arkansas was that it preferred to run. The Razorbacks won’t walk the ball up the floor much.
Once upon a time, when a man named Kelvin Sampson coached the Hoosiers, they, too, were a team that was supposedly going to win by pushing the ball past opponents.
For a multitude of reasons, that never happened. The Hoosiers didn’t have a four-man who could become a regular part of the running attack and more often than not you would see Eric Gordon charging down the floor accompanied by one other guard. As proficient as Gordon is around the basket — both at scoring and drawing fouls — he could not handle every break on his own. And with D.J. White emerging as a truly dominant player, the Hoosiers had to build more of their offense around him.
If you’ve ever played basketball, you know that there’s a sense of pride in being able to “run” with another team. It’s part of the machismo of the game. But when you’re in the NCAA Tournament, pride doesn’t go as far in winning games as it might in other venues.
Nonetheless, Indiana’s players are saying that they’ll run with Arkansas.
“We have four good guards on our team,” said senior forward D.J. White. “We like to get up and down the court when the opportunity presents itself and hopefully get in transition sometimes and see what we can do.”
Armon Bassett, who has improved significantly at directing the run as the point guard, is ready to play a different style after the sluggish Big Ten season.
“I think that will be a plus, playing up and down a little bit,” he said. “A lot of teams in the Big Ten, they don’t shoot the ball until about six, seven seconds (are left) on the (shot) clock. We can play up and down but we have to push it on transition, miss or make.”
Eric Gordon at least mentioned a need to slow Arkansas down.
“I think we can play up-tempo, too,” he said. “We just have to slow them down a little bit, and I think we are prepared for their strategy.”
Against Michigan State in East Lansing, Indiana’s players could not slow the Spartans and were not prepared for their strategy. The Hoosiers transition defense amounted to running blindly toward their own basket in hopes of getting in the way of the ball, if largely by accident.
“You’ve got to be organized in your transition defense,” Indiana interim coach Dan Dakich said yesterday.
And on offense, Dakich doesn’t want Indiana to move too quickly.
“You can’t allow their speed to quicken your pace to the point where you’re uncomfortable doing the things that you would normally do; meaning you get the ball and you shoot it too quickly, as opposed to being in rhythm,” he said. “And that’s a big deal any time you play a team that likes to get up and down and likes to play fast.”
Arkansas won’t change what it does.
“We play a running kind of basketball,” said sophomore guard Patrick Beaverley. “We don’t walk the ball up the floor. We’re not going to change anything. We’re going to do the things that we normally do. We’re not going to put new plays in. We’re going to do things that got us here. What got us here is defending and running, and we’re going to continue doing that.”
As expected, the majority of the crowd gathered here at the RBC Center are rooting for the Tar Heels, who just happen to be beating Mount Saint Mary’s 60-41.
That’s a lot of offense.
Though I had reserved judgment until seeing him in person, I can now definitively say that Tyler Hasbrough deserves the Player of the Year award. What a monster.
He and Michael Beasley are such incessant players. They just keep going. In the NFL, they call it having a great motor.
We’re a little over three hours away from tip-off for Indiana’s first round match-up against Arkansas.
I’ll be keeping you guys up to speed with the in-game analysis from Bloomington because of the late tip. With a 9:40 scheduled tip-off, Chris and Doug are going to be swamped trying to get their stories done for Saturday’s paper.
So is tonight the final game in an IU uniform for D.J. White and Eric Gordon? Honestly, I don’t think anyone knows at this point. But I do think we’ll have a pretty good understanding of which Hoosier squad has shown up in the first five minutes of the contest. If they look lackadaisical and aren’t committed on the defensive end, it could be a long night for Indiana fans. But if the Hoosiers come out aggressive and physical, we may see a very good basketball team.
On another note, how about these games today? Stephon Curry willing Davidson back over Gonzaga? He is such a pleasure to watch. Or Ty Roger’s 30-footer to top Drake for Western Kentucky? What a shot. Oh, and not to mention San Diego’s victory over UConn just a few minutes ago in overtime?
Gotta love March Madness.
According to a news release, an argument between Smith and Fresno State coach Mike Batesole led to both teams leaving their dugouts. Smith was suspended for his actions during that argument.
Here’s the news release from the Big Ten:
In accordance with penalties established in Big Ten Conference Agreement 10.01.1.A.2, the Big Ten publicly reprimands the
The Big Ten Conference considers this matter concluded and will have no further comment.
In WNIT action, the Hoosier women will face off this weekend with James Madison, an 80-58 winner over Radford Thursday night. The game’s on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. in Assembly Hall.
Tamera Young, the Colonial Athletic Association’s Player of the Year, scored 38 points in the victory, breaking the school record for most in a single game and most in a season. Young, a senior forward, also grabbed 14 of the team’s 54 rebounds, which gave James Madison a school record for season caroms.
Young’s teammate Jennifer Brown chipped in another double-double for the Dukes (23-9), recording 11 points and 11 rebounds.
There’s a tension to this team right now. It is somewhat difficult to explain how it’s plying itself and what it might mean for Indiana’s chances, but the source is nothing more than what you’d expect it to be.
Here’s what happens at these things: media from all over descend upon these sites, hoping to write the very general story of What Has Happened to the team that may or may not advance in their readers’ brackets.
For many teams — most teams, in fact — that might be a fairly happy thing to recount. For Indiana, it’s a whole lot of trying to answer un-answerable questions that they’ve already faced for the past month.
D.J. White, Armon Bassett and Eric Gordon handled the questions with poise. They’ve done that all year.
But while the players from the other teams are up there joking around or talking about how to guard whoever their opponent is, Indiana’s players are rehashing events that tore them up the first time.
There’s a lot of drama to the story, so you can’t really blame anybody in the media for wanting to tell it. But there’s not much that Indiana’s players care to say about it. Not right now.
What does shoot around portend?
That’s an ancient question. I just watched Eric Gordon do exactly what everyone says he does, which is hit 80 percent of shots he hits from anywhere in the arena. But will it translate?
Fairly light turnout by Indiana fans for this practice, but my guess is that many of them won’t get in until tomorrow. The past two years the Hoosiers went West, and in many instances that meant that fans would make the trip a big early. But with this being a quick flight from the Midwest, I think more fans will wait until tomorrow.
Indiana has taken the court for its mandatory open practice session. Minutes ago Dan Dakich said that the Hoosiers just plan to shoot around. They had a full practice earlier today.
I’ll post any interesting updates (though I don’t expect many) and will have a brief recap of Indiana’s press conference in just a few.
During a lull in the practice action here at the RBC Center, Indiana interim coach Dan Dakich has challenged the North Carolina crowd to a free-throw shooting contest.
So far, he has won twice. He’s currently competing against an Arkansas fan that is probably about 3-foot-5.
After his first win he said, “Indiana 1, North Carolina 0.” That drew a laugh from the crowd. Most of them are here to see the Tar Heels practice in a few minutes. Many of them probably remember him guarding Michael Jordan. Have you ever heard that?
“It’s either sit around and wait for a press conference or have some fun,” Dakich says.
Dakich has been wandering around the arena since we got here. He was in the press area, snagging some of the free popcorn.
He addresses the crowd and says, “The one thing I forgot was to ask them their ages. We’re from Indiana, so we have to be careful. We can’t have a high school kid out here.”
A recruiting joke. He actually went there.
Laughs all around. The one thing Dakich should always be remembered for — no matter how long his tenure here lasts — is that sense of humor.
Now he’s digging at the media (we might deserve it).
“This will be my last one, because I’ve gotta go get asked for the 100th time what it’s like to be the interim coach.”
He’s called about 30 kids to the floor for the final game.
“Can you imagine how mad the security guards are?”
He’s encouraging the kids to try to distract him with screaming, or by waving their arms, while he shoots.
He hits the first three, misses the fourth. They crowd him for the fifth shot. He hits it.
Now, his challenger. Misses the first. Needs to hit four in a row. Banks the second. Hits the third. The fourth shot bounces off the back of the rim.
Dakich, at least in this contest, is the winner.