I'm busy, so just a few thoughts on this laugher. First, let me note that IU is ranked 51 in the RPI this morning despite an 11-1 record. Sagarin has IU at #23, which is a bit better, but both rating systems agree that IU's schedule strength is horrible. IU's loss to Xavier is the Hoosiers' only game against a top 50 opponent. IU's best wins are against Illinois State (#65), Georgia Tech (#72), and at Southern Illinois (#80). Kentucky's RPI is sub-200, and based on the current developments, it seems likely that Connecticut, which IU plays in January, will be the Hoosiers' only NCAA-bound non-conference opponent.
The problem with scheduling as many foreseeable sub-200 pushovers as IU has scheduled is that there is no margin for error. Before the season, Kentucky, Southern Illinois, and Connecticut looked like IU's resume-building non-conference games. Kentucky is historically awful, and Southern Illinois has been a tad disappointing (while most Hoosier fans root for Butler and other local mid-majors, we really needed SIU to hold onto that game Friday). If IU had scheduled some low-level major conference teams or some mid-level CUSA or WAC or Missouri Valley teams, our RPI would be a bit better. As it stands, with the exception of the games I mentioned (plus GT, Xavier, and Illinois State), IU consciously scheduled the worst teams from the worst conferences in the country.
I understand that as talented as this IU team is, it's an inexperienced team with a bunch of guys who have never played together before this year. Still, what concerns me for the future is that Sampson hasn't scheduled a single tough game on his own. The Kentucky series is a traditional game. The Big Ten-ACC Challenge is a given. The Xavier and Illinois State games were part of a pre-conference tournament. The Connecticut and SIU series predate Sampson's arrival. It's going to be interesting to see how our schedules develop in the future.
As for Chicago State (box score):
- DJ White continues to be excellent. Who would have guess after the first couple games of the season that there might be some debate concerning the identity of IU's best player. 21 points, 8-11 from the field, 5-7 from the line, 15 rebounds, 23 minutes. That's good, even against CSU.
- Eric Gordon struggled again from the field (3-12) but was 14-14 from the line so ended up with an efficient 22 points. Let's hope Gordon can continue to get to the line when we are playing on the road in the Big Ten with Ed Hightower on the court.
- The turnover numbers were better (only 10 in an 80 possession game), although Jamarcus Ellis provided five on his own.
- 17 assists on 34 field goals. Better.
- Armon Bassett rediscovered his stroke, with 13 points on 8 shots.
- Jordan Crawford shoots a lot, as I have noted before. Crawford scored 15 on 13 shots. Crawford also added 5 steals.