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COLUMN: Kelvin Sampson deserves another chance at Indiana

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It’s time for the Hoosiers to bring back the coach who has had more success at Indiana than anyone else this century.

NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Houston Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

When the team you spend way too much bandwidth covering online loses nine of its last ten games, your brain begins to rot in fascinating ways. Is this a real opinion of mine or am I just doing a bit? I stopped being able to recognize the difference after Michigan jumped out to a 17-0 lead on Indiana at home (in basketball).

Here are some hard truths about Indiana basketball since the Hoosiers’ last title:

  1. Bob Knight lost his fastball in the mid-nineties and could’ve been fired a lot earlier for strictly basketball reasons and should’ve been fired even earlier for being a bad person.
  2. Mike Davis was the result of a shortsighted hiring process that likely contributed a great deal to the quagmire Indiana has found itself in now.
  3. Kelvin Sampson has been to a Final Four and likely would have gone to a second one had Jordan Poole not pulled a ridiculous shot directly out of his own ass. He also went 43-15 (21-8) at Indiana and did nothing that today’s NCAA would consider a violation of its rules.
  4. Tom Crean won two Big Ten titles in nine seasons and spent the other seven being late for press conferences and making me defend him on the internet. Unforgivable.
  5. Archie Miller is going to miss the tournament for the second straight year despite the presence of Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan, both of whom will not be on the team next year. He’s also lost to Rutger twice. RUTGER!

Crimson Quarry, as our loyal readers (all six of them) are well aware, is extremely pro-cheating. Sports don’t matter, hell, none of this matters. Cheat like hell and win as much as you can— there’s no real penalty for doing so.

In this regard, Kelvin Sampson was ahead of his time. He came to Indiana with a checkered past with the NCAA and left under similar circumstances. But is this really so bad? This is 2019. We all hate the NCAA. Why should we besmirch someone who looks to skirt the very same rules and regulations we endlessly mock and rail against? Kelvin Sampson isn’t a cheater, Kelvin Sampson is the embodiment of the resistance. There are several periods in history where people like Kelvin Sampson are deified— a brave hero fighting against institutionalized oppression.

Kelvin Sampson served out his punishment in exile, bouncing around the NBA waiting for his show-cause to expire and then returning to the NCAA ranks as the head coach of the Houston Cougars. He’s yanked them out of the depths and is on track for his second-straight NCAA Tournament bid. His Cougars were a 3-seed in the committee’s midseason reveal this past weekend.

It’s time for Indiana to do the tried-and-true formula for success and go back to their Ex. He’s changed, but perhaps more importantly, Indiana has changed. They went through the motions out in the world, saw what there was to see. Indiana did that semester abroad and now they’re ready to accept each other for who they both truly are. The data doesn’t lie: he’s the best thing to come through Bloomington since the old, mean guy got too old and the game passed him by.

I know it may seem awfully rash to talk about replacing Archie Miller but, hey, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Frankly, Archie deserves better than Indiana. Indiana basketball is a drama queen that’s only truly happy when folks are mad at them or there’s an active warrant for their arrest. Leave us to roll around in the mud with the bad boy who just gets us. It’s not you, it’s most certainly us.

Kelvin Sampson has paid his dues and has become a better coach for it. He was excellent at Indiana before the NCAA decided a handful of text messages was criminal enough to bring a program to its knees. So criminal, in fact, that all the violations Sampson committed are no longer considered violations. He can text people whenever he wants now. We’re springing for the unlimited plan.

The prodigal son is ready to come home— have the courage to throw open the doors and prepare the feast.