Saturday, March 22, 2008

Arkansas 86, Indiana 72.

Well, that's that. Faced with the slight of an eight seed in the NCAA Tournament, IU responded by playing like a 16 seed. Actually, that's not fair. The 16 seeds actually play like they want to be there.
As was somewhat expected, The Razorbacks' big men had a big day. Here's the box score.
In terms of offensive efficiency, this was IU's second-worst defensive performance of the year (behind the freakish game at Michigan State), allowing 1.29 points per possession and 86 points in a 66 possession game. Arkansas shot 68 percent from the field in the second half and 54 percent overall. The Hoosiers, meanwhile, shot 43 percent from the field and a respectable 41 percent from the three. As with the last few losses, while it's fun to point to various statistics, IU's finish (losing four out of five games) can almost entirely be attributed to Eric Gordon's loss of his outside shot. Gordon was 3-15 from the field, 0-6 from behind the arc, and even 2-6 from the line. Absent Gordon, IU shot just over 50 percent from the field (25-49) and 10-16 from the arc. While IU's defense was poor (Arkansas shot well from the field and very well from the line),
Gordon, more than in any poor shooting performance this season, really hurt the team. I hope that Gordon's slump is related to the injury and that he will recover, because otherwise, it is nearly impossible to explain.
Arkansas disregarded its balanced approach, and why not? Leading scorer Sonny Weems scored a career-high 31 points on 12-14 from the field. IU's defense was hideous. As for IU's individuals, I've already mentioned Gordon's line. The others:
  • DJ White weas reasonably good: 22 points on 10-16, 9 rebounds.
  • Armon Bassett is the only reason last night wasn't a Colorado/St. Johns/Pepperdine style blowout: 7-9 from the field, 5-7 from three, 21 points.
  • Lance Stemler, after slumping for the better part of his two year career, of course rediscovered his stroke in his final game as a Hoosier: 9 points on 3-5 from behind the arc.
  • In my discussion with Hawgblog, I mentioned that Jordan Crawford might be a surprise. Well, he certainly surprised me: 0-5 from the field, 2 rebounds, 0 points, 4 assists.

That was a predictable end to a once-promising season. Now, it's on to the coaching search. There is an interesting nexus between games of local interest and IU's coaching search:

  • Purdue plays Sean Miller and Xavier today at 4:40.
  • Notre Dame plays Tony Bennett and Washington State at 6:40. This will be a really intriguing game, to see how ND's highly efficient, fast-paced offense compares to WSU's highly efficient, slow-paced offense.
  • Michigan State plays Jamie Dixon's Pitt squad at 9:10. Dixon is getting some mention these days.
  • Tomorrow, Butler plays Bruce Pearl and Tennessee.

Dan Dakich made some interesting comments after the game. He seems to be getting beaten up for those comments in some quarters, but I'm not quite sure why. He thinks he should get the job, and made a forceful argument about the culture and tradition of IU basketball. Hoosier Scoop has the transcript: I don't agree that Dakich should be the coach, but I don't disagree with much else of what he says. Davis didn't understand the tradition or culture of IU basketball at all. Sampson paid lip service to it. I don't think IU's next coach has to have an IU background but he does have to understand, appreciate, and live by IU's standards.

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