The Indiana Hoosier would seem to have found another scoring threat in their lineup. How will that affect the Gophers on Wednesday?
Forward D.J. White
and guard Eric Gordon
, arguably the two best players in the Big Ten, have been carrying the load for Indiana
However, the Hoosiers have found a third scoring option in the latter stages of the season.
Sophomore guard Armon Bassett
has stepped up his scoring since Kelvin Sampson was fired and replaced by Dan Dakich on an interim basis. Bassett had 24 points in a win over Northwestern
on Feb. 23 in Dakich's debut then 23 in a victory over Ohio State
on Feb. 26.
"I've been trying to attack more," Bassett said. "Obviously D.J. and E.J. (Gordon) are our focal points on offense but I've been trying to be more aggressive while at the same time stay in the same mode. I think I've been able to do that."
Bassett has taken charge on the advice of Dakich.
"The only thing I've said to him is he is a better when he is aggressive," Dakich said. "He's been a leader for us, both offensively and defensively."
Indiana has increased the security around school president Michael McRobbie in the wake of coach Kelvin Sampson being asked to resign after being found to have violated NCAA rules concerning excessive phone calls to recruits. Campus police said no specific threats have been made against McRobbie but several thousand students gathered at former president Myles Brand's house and burned him in effigy after he fired Bob Knight as coach in 2000.
Indiana's 103-74 loss at Michigan State on March 2 not only knocked the Hoosiers out of a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten with Purdue and Wisconsin, but was their most lopsided loss since being hammered 79-45 by Wisconsin in 2003-04.
Coach Dan Dakich has shortened the bench in his three games since taking over for Kelvin Sampson. G Jamal Crawford is the only reserve averaging more than eight minutes a game.
G Eric Gordon goes into the final week of the regular season leading the Big Ten in scoring with a 21.4 point a game average. The last freshman to lead the conference in scoring was Minnesota's Kris Humphries with a 21.7 average in 2003-04.
F D.J. White had yet another double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to Michigan State on March 2. White has 18 double-doubles in his last 25 games. White's point total, though, was his second-lowest in Big Ten play this season as he was held to six by Michigan State on Feb. 16.
G Jamal Crawford is picking up the scoring pace off the bench, averaging 14.0 points in the last three games.
IN FOCUS: Indiana has won two straight games against Minnesota, but the 65-60 win at Minneapolis on Jan. 17 was a struggle. The Hoosiers turned the ball over 24 times against the Golden Gophers' pressure defense but made up for it by holding a 39-21 rebounding advantage. F D.J. White led Indiana with 17 points and G Armon Bassett added 16. Minnesota F Dan Coleman had 15 points.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters — F D.J. White, F Lance Stemler, G Eric Gordon, G Armon Bassett, G Jamarcus Ellis. Key Sub — G Jamal Crawford.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They're just a terrific basketball team. I think they're a team that can get on a roll and I think that will be imperative in college basketball this year. The best one is going to win the national championship and Indiana is capable." — Ohio State coach Thad Matta.
Indiana 85, Northwestern 82
Indiana 72, Ohio State 69
Michigan State 103, Indiana 74
vs. Minnesota, Wednesday, March 5
at Penn State, Sunday, March 9