Game MVP- Rod Wilmont. It's a virtual toss-up between Wilmont, Armon Bassett and Lance Stemler, but Wilmont gets the nod thanks to his team-high 18 points. Wilmont started slowly with only four first-half points, but bounced back with 14 in the second half. A streaky shooter throughout his college career, Wilmont was 7-of-13 from the field and added five rebounds, two assists and a couple of steals. He teams with Earl Calloway to give the Hoosier backcourt a couple of high-energy, in-your-face defenders that fit the Kelvin Sampson style. Wilmont started slowly
Biggest Surprise – Armon Bassett. There were originally some questions about whether the Terre Haute native would be ready to back-up Earl Calloway this year, but those questions are getting answered quickly. The freshman point guard contributed 16 points and six assists while knocking down 4-of-5 shots from behind the 3-point arc. He also did a much better job of harassing North Dakota's guards when they tried to bring the ball up the floor in the second half. Calloway remains the catalyst for IU on both ends of the floor, but Bassett will be a valuable contributor off the bench, particularly on the offensive end.
Biggest Surprise, Part II - Lance Stemler will be a very valuable part of this year's team. He'll likely come off the bench like he did Sunday, but he'll give Sampson outside shooting, hustle, and smart play when he's on the floor. Some wondered if he would anything more than just a perimeter threat, but his five offensive rebounds suggests he'll do a whole lot more than just float around behind the arc.
What I Found Most Impressive - Indiana pulled down 20 offensive rebounds, including six for Ben Allen and five for Lance Stemler. What makes that even more impressive is the fact the Hoosiers shot 52.2 percent from the floor (35-of-67) and 70 percent from the free-throw line (14-of-20), meaning there weren't an abundance of offensive rebounding opportunities. Last year, Indiana averaged 10.3 offensive rebounds per game, ranking ninth in the conference. Sampson's Oklahoma team, though, ranked second in the Big 12 with 14.8 offensive rebounds/game.
What I Found Most Concerning… Kelvin Sampson has turned Earl Calloway loose, freeing him up to harass opposing point guards from endline to endline. The Hoosier senior sets the tone for the IU defense with his play, and it was obvious he frustrated North Dakota's backcourt players all afternoon. With that said, Calloway will need to pick his spots to avoid getting into foul trouble. Calloway picked up his third foul with 6:35 remaining in the first half, and then committed a careless foul with 10:43 left in the game that sent him to the bench with four fouls. His absence was inconsequential in the Hoosiers' 45-point win, but once the regular season arrives Calloway needs to be on the floor for IU to be successful. He needs to be a 30-minute plus/game player, and he can't do that if he's saddled with fouls.
Quotes of the Day: "I think when Ben gets the rebound, he wishes he was on the three-point line." - Kelvin Sampson on Ben Allen, who had six offensive rebounds in IU's 95-50 win.
Nearly half of the 6-11 Allen's 87 shots a year ago were from behind the 3-point arc (43), but Sampson has the big man playing inside more this season. Yesterday, Allen was just 1-of-3 from the field, with his one basket being an 18-footer at the top of the key.
"He might be the last guy picked in a pickup game. A lot confuse basketball with rat ball games. I refuse to watch rat ball games. Lance knows how to play." – Sampson on Lance Stemler's play. Stemler was one of two junior college players Sampson lured to Bloomington during the spring signing period along with 6-6, 235-pound Mike White.
"His defense in the first half was nonexistent. No. 54 (North Dakota's Mike Gutter) thought he was playing skeleton offense. There was no one guarding him the first three possessions." – Sampson on the play of D.J. White early on, a comment that made the Hoosiers' 6-9 sophomore smile during the postgame press conference. Gutter scored the first six points for North Dakota, but finished with only 10.
Random Thoughts: If Sunday's game is an early indication, IU will utilize a nine-player rotation – D.J. White, Ben Allen, Lance Stemler and Mike White in the frontcourt, while A.J. Ratliff, Earl Calloway, Armon Bassett, Joey Shaw and Rod Wilmont saw significant time in the backcourt. While a blowout win can result in big minutes for extra players, all nine of those Hoosiers saw action in the first 10 minutes of the game…North Dakota Coach Brian Jones – an assistant at Iowa through last season – said the most notable difference between this year's IU team and past ones he's seen is the Hoosiers were playing with a more traditional two post-player player lineup, thanks for the presence of D.J. White and Ben Allen.
Upon Further Review - North Dakota
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