They would have been in yesterday's post had it not been for the Duke game. So, the question is: Was indiana underrtated, or is Duke overrated? I think maybe a bit of both (though it is difficult to ever imagine Indiana basketball being underrated).
The Good News: D.J. White is healthy and looks great. And he adds to a decent amount of returning talent like Wilmont and Ratliff. Plus, it's Indiana, and home court is always worth at least 5 points. But, to tell you the truth, there's not much more.
The Bad News: There's plenty here. I always thought Kelvin Sampson was a capable, if unspectacular, coach. He recruited well, won the games he should have won, blew an occasional close one, generally imploded in the Tournament.
And then came Duke.
How you get your team back into a game, then blow all your timeouts before the 3:00 mark, is beyond me. After all, with TV timeouts and 30-second timeouts, there are about 30 chances to stop the clock per team. So, when his team was withon one possession, Kelvin decided it was time to use everything he had left. What happened was inevitable: Indiana got the ball back with about 10 seconds to go and down by 3, and inexplicably tried to drive to the basket before taking a desperation three. This should never have happened.
Throw in the departure of Robert Vaden, who left for the Mike Davis-led UAB (Dragons), and there are a couple of problems. Vaden was absolutely unstoppable at times (as in, at Carver Hawkeye) and will be sorely missed.
Finally, there's not much inside. Ben Allen is a perimeter player disguised as a center. D.J. White is generally the same. I don't know if there's enough here.
Worse News: Kelvin can't recruit off-campus this year because of more than 500 inappropriate calls placed to recruits at Oklahoma. Whoops.
Best Name on the Roster: The exquisitely named Xavier Keeling.
Greatest All-Time Player: Isiah Thomas has destroyed the CBA and the Knicks. Steve Alford has come damn close to destroying Iowa basketball and my psyche. Neil Reed destroyed Bobby Knight's coaching career. So we'll go with Walt Bellamy, who is in the Hall of Fame, set the record for most games played in an NBA regular season with 88, and hasn't destroyed anything to my knowledge.
All-Time High Point: They've won 5 national championships. Let's go with 1987.
All-Time Low Point: Well, that season led to this:
...OK, let's go with 1981.
Projection: They still have UK and UConn on the schedule, so an 8-5 finish against a tough nonconference slate isn't out of the question. I don't think they go any better than 8-8 in the conference (they only play tOSU and Wisky once, but they also only play Minny and Northwestern once). The Sampson era kicks off at 16-11.
4th Place, Big Ten: IZZO'D (a.k.a. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS)
Good News: Tom Izzo is still at Michigan State. The man is such a good coach that they wanted to give him the football job.
Bad News: They lost four starters. But you know what? It doesn't matter. They have Izzo. Bow before his majesty.
Best Name on the Roster:
All-Time Great Player:
Program High Point:
Program Low Point: