My beloved Hoosiers rallied around one another and played a tremendous game this evening against a tough, well-coached Michigan State squad. The Spartan spanking at Assembly Hall (80-61) in front of a national TV audience was, by far, the best collective effort this young Indiana team has produced. Kelvin Sampson is a dead-man walking, but he had the players focused for this game.
With their senior leader and emotional engine on the bench with an ice-pack around his knee for the entire second half, the team leaned on two freshmen perimeter players - Eric Gordon and Jordan Crawford. Gordon was dominant and Crawford was spectacular. DeAndre Thomas provided big play off the bench, but probably wishes he was 20-30 pounds lighter.
This was an impressive, total team effort. The Spartans were out-played and out-hustled, and that is not easily done against Tom Izzo's team. The Hoosier's offensive execution was the sharpest that I have seen all season, and this was the first time against a quality oppnent that Gordon played like a clutch, playmaking finisher.
Jordan Crawford made some highlight reel plays. I hope that IU does not lose him next year. There are moments when he makes stupid decisions with the basketball, but there are almost as many flashes of brilliance. This guy can be a big star in the Hoosier pantheon if he stays in Bloomington. I'm just hoping that this Sampson fiasco does not scare him into leaving early for the NBA or transfering to another team.
I'll blog my thoughts about Sampson (this post was a "feeling" post not "thinking" post). Right now all I can do, and all that I have been doing, is echoing the question that Dickie V asked during this evening's broadcast - Why?! Why, after the problems at OU and the second chance he was given at IU, a job far superior to the OU job, would this man commit the same mistakes and jeopardize his career? Kelvin Sampson's behavior makes absolutely no sense. Not only has it cost him is job (at least I think it has) but it may have retarded the resurgence of my beloved Hoosiers' rebirth.