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Inspirational Reads

Not Nearly Enough Ashley

December 11, 2006

So, I didn't know that the game was actually being played at Rupp Arena. Seems a scheduling conflict has returned the Indiana/Kentucky series to a home-and-home. Indiana was allotted 100 tickets for the game. 100 effing tickets! That's a lot of blue to deal with (and not nearly enough pictures of Ashley Judd...Pat Forde and I weep together at this travesty).

Now that I've stopped puking over the results of the game, I can properly post about it. A few things I noticed: Indiana outrebounded Kentucky. While this may seem good on the surface, they had a ton of offensive rebounds, which means that they were shooting like a bunch of blindfolded, crippled nuns. Actually, the nuns would have God on their side and could probably hit more shots.

Indiana also had a lot of steals. The younger Wildcats weren't very careful with the ball, and Indiana's guards were picking their pockets all day. Again, on the surface, this looks good. However, most of the time Indiana would run down and piss the ball away either through a stupid turnover, or better yet, by trying to force the ball into the basket on a 1-on-4 break. I don't know about anyone else, but I figure if four guys are defending the ball, that's not a good time to drive the lane. Just a thought. Maybe pull it out and reset the offense. Again, just a thought.

Here's another thought: if you haven't hit ANY shots all game long, you probably shouldn't be shooting in a crucial situation. If you find the ball in your hands, get rid of it, preferably not on an ill-advised heave toward the rim. Perhaps maybe dump it off to the guy underneath who has been taking every lump and bump that the defense has thrown at him and more or less dominated (D.J. White looked like the promising freshman Mike Davis brought to Bloomington two years ago...not to say Randolph Morris played like shit. He, too, had an incredible game, but then, only one guy was playing defense on him...Stemler for IU stood there and basically allowed Morris to go around him all game long). Maybe you might want to drive to the basket, causing the defense to collapse and you can dump the ball off for an easy dunk by D.J. White or Mike White or anybody. Kentucky sure as hell was using the drive-and-dish effectively to their advantage. Perhaps you could learn a little something from the clearly superior team.

I'd like to comment on Indiana's ability at the free-throw line, but that would assume that I actually saw them shoot a free throw. Kentucky had 4 fouls in the second half. 4. The referees kept their whistles quiet most of the game, allowing the players to play (unlike the pre-season NIT, where EVERYTHING was a foul or a turnover). However, 4 fouls? One every 5 minutes? That's a little...spare. I think Indiana ended up with 9 for the half. Like I said, the referees let them play, but still. None of the 4 fouls were in shooting situations, either. Perhaps the refs were too busy scanning the crowd for Ashley Judd, too.

I'll grant this much: Mike Davis left the cupboard a little bare. Rod Wilmont and D.J. White are about the only star-caliber players on the team. For some reason, there seems to be a LOT of JUCO players, moreso than normal. And, of course, the walk-ons (interesting fact: two of the three Indiana kids on Indiana's team are walk-ons...the other, A.J. Ratliff, is still waiting for his "break-out" game...after four years. I'm not sure who is a bigger waste of a scholarship: him or Ben Allen. If either of you prove me wrong, I'll own up to it, too. So, c'mon, try and prove me wrong!).

I also blame the "shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor" mentality on Davis. He had no control over the team's shot selection. Sure, he looked like a genius when Indiana demolished Illinois a few years ago and later when they beat Kent State to get to the Final Four. But then there are those nights when it's a choking slop-fest out there (the 2002 Championship game...the game against Kentucky). Here's to hoping coach Sampson knocks some sense into these guys heads. It seems to be slow in coming. Ben Allen is no longer playing around the perimeter (which is almost a shame, as he's probably Indiana's best long-range threat), but he's also not exactly playing the post real well. Yes, he's been sick, but still, a little stepping up would be nice. If you need, go back and watch film of Jard Odle from 2002. That was a season-long step-up right there. Fortunately, waste-of-space George Leach (a Knight holdover), was injured and Odle busted out big time that season, basically filling Leach's shoes as well as departed-captain Kirk Haston. In case you can't tell, I'm a big Jared Odle fan (and because it's how my life works...I might be spelling his name wrongly...I almost want to put two r's in the middle).

Alright, my rant is over. I'm going back to my silence and trying to write. Goal for the week is finish up some of these half-chapters I've got spawned. 15 and 13 are the primary goals. 16 and 17 are secondary (they are the ones far-less developed, but I have the outline for the chapters jotted down). I'm still doling out major FF7 damage, bitches. Watch out for my spikey-haired, big-sword-wielding ass. I'm on a roll.