The announcing team working the game last night posed a constant and intractable obstacle between viewers and the game. Which, not to put too fine a point on it, is pretty much the precise opposite of what an announcing team is supposed to do.
I literally found myself leaning in toward the TV and squinting at the screen, as if that would help me follow what Gerald Henderson was doing while the announcers went happily and blissfully AWOL, addressing such pressing matters as Ronde Barber, the new College Basketball Experience in Kansas City and, inevitably, Jimmy V.
This announcing team has been tarred on occasion with the easy catch-all pejorative "ESPN," but let us be clear. It's not ESPN. Jay Bilas, Bill Raftery and Sean McDonough share a water cooler with these guys, yet they're consistently outstanding. No, it's simply that last night's announcing team has apparently been given free reign by someone in the organizational chart to ignore the game whenever they want. Which, as it happens, is very often. That's worse than annoying. It's unprofessional in the most literal sense of the term. Anyone else in the world is free to talk about whatever they want to talk about. Last night's announcing team, on the other hand, was paid specifically to talk about Wisconsin vs. Duke. They should have tried it from time to time.
- Gordon was Gordon, 28 points on 15 shots.
- Jamarcus Ellis was great, 12 points on 7 shots plus his usual good play.
- Armon Bassett didn't shoot well but managed five assists and one turnover.
- Jordan Crawford scored well, 12 points on 10 shots, but the turnovers (3) are back.
- Deandre Thomas provided some much needed offense: 10 points on nine shots, but he still committed 3 fouls in 16 minutes. That will have to improve next year.
- Kyle Taber's mistake free ball continues: 2 points, no FG attempts, 2 rebounds, 0 turnovers, 1 steal.
It speaks well of these players and Sampson that the team remained focused and didn't panic after falling behind early. Now, it's time to prepare for the biggest IU-Purdue game since the early 1990s. IU will need DJ, as I don't think the zone will work, at least not for the entire game, against Purdue's various three point threats. It should be fun, at least.