I suppose it's fitting that it was two of college basketball's most tradition-rich programs that set college basketball back to the peach basket era last night. UCLA was very impressive defensively, but even that defense can't quite account for 5-28 and 13 points for IU in the first half. Here's the ugly box score. The most disappointing statistic is the 10-21 freethrow shooting. As poorly as IU played offensively in the first half, the unforced errors are the most troubling. In a 59 possession game, even with IU's late run IU managed only .83 points per possession, although UCLA had only .91. Many will point to the impressive rebounding numbers, but of course those numbers are skewed by the sheer number of missed shots.
Still, for all of the ugliness on the court on in the statistics, IU rallied from a significant deficit playing in front of a hostile crowd against a #2 seed that played in the NCAA title game last season. Suffice it to say that if we are in this position after the first weekend next year, there will be much gnashing of teeth. For this season, the Sampson era is off to a promising start.