Conflicting reports are already mounting around last night’s Indiana MSU game. As for the game itself, the Hoosiers, particularly Eric Gordon rallied hard and put together a tremendous performance despite losing DJ White (who was the only one keeping them in it early). I’m happy for these kids, who are a very easy group to root for. Because of them, I’m hoping IU doesn’t impose a postseason ban. These kids did nothing wrong and deserve to have their shot at glory. As far as basketball goes, we are all hoping the best for DJ White. Not just for this season, but really for the rest of his career. This kid really deserves a shot at the big time, and it would be sad to see that not happen.
As for circus surrounding the game, I could have done without Dick Vitale three separate times launching into insane rants against IU for how they treated Bob Knight. It’s fine to set up the game by talking about the scandal, but he went back to it every 2 minutes, often ignoring the game itself for minutes at a time. It was disgusting. Erin Andrews was classless in asking Sampson scandal related questions at her half-time walk off interview. That’s stupid, honey. Go learn some class. She did contribute a GUTLESS quote by AD Greenspan, who tried to buck pass the hiring of Sampson. He needs to go just for that spineless quote. On the plus side, it was awesome to catch a shot of Bill Polian at game.
The media at large doesn’t seem to know what to make of the crowd. Bob Kravitz praised them for being hard on Sampson, and ESPN ran an incessant string of video clips showing fan outrage. Then inexplicably, Gary Parrish of Cbssportsline.com KILLED the IU faithful for supporting Sampson. Apparently, at some point the crowd did the Kelvin-Samp-son cheer. This must have been after the game, because I never heard it during. He got no reception whatsoever before the game started. During the final seconds, I heard the crowd chanting DJ White’s name. At any rate, I hardly think that one fan cheer after the game (where IU beat a top 10 team by nearly 20), is quite the same thing as the front running support that Parrish accused them of. To hear him tell it, you’d think that IU fans were clamoring to keep Sampson. Quite the opposite is true. Demond’s bitterness at the pro-Knight fans that still love that coach first and the University not at all notwithstanding, I still hold to my opinion that I stated yesterday: people are furious and want Sampson gone.
Demond Sanders: I’ve been thinking hard on this one and reading the message boards over at Peegs.com. I think there is definitely a mixed reaction to the scandal. Everyone realizes that Sampson is on his way out for the good of the program. So I don’t think anyone is trying to lobby to save his job. It’s a matter of whether they choose to support him and his team while he remains the coach or scream expletives at him.
There is a sizeable contingent of (especially younger) Hoosier fans who appreciate that he landed Eric Gordon and got the team back in the running for a title. They feel sorry for him because he’s such an idiot and ruined his promising career. This is the group I would have fallen into.
I think that’s what you heard from some of the students chanting his name at the end of the game. I don’t think they were begging for him to be spared or in any way condoning his actions. They may have been saying thank you, we’re sorry you screwed it up, and good luck.