Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Hoosier basketball.

Wednesday, November 29

Learning From Duke Loss

Kelvin Sampson isn't messing around with this Indiana basketball team. He's coached too long. He's won too many games. He wants guys who will run his stuff, who will take care of the ball, who are mentally tough enough to do what needs to be done.

He wants guys, it seems, such as Errek Suhr and Armon Bassett and Joey Shaw. What they might lack in size (Suhr) and experience (Bassett and Shaw) they make up for in effort and smarts and toughness. Case in point -- IU's 54-51 loss at No. 11 Duke.

Duke coach Mike Kryzyzewski sought out Suhr after the game for some special praise.

So when it came down to crunch time at Duke, and when you fall behind by 15 at Cameron Indoor Arena, it doesn't get much more crunching, those are the guys who played. Veterans A.J. Ratliff, Rod Wilmont and Earl Calloway sat and watched. Did they learn? We'll find that out in future games.

This was not a super Duke team, at least not yet. It is too inexperienced, too careless with the ball. The Blue Devils were beatable. If IU had played the whole game the way it played the second half (outscoring Duke 30-21) it would have won. If it had gotten the ball more to D.J. White (pictured), it might have won. If it had had a better assist to turnover ratio (8 to 16), it might have won.

If it learns from this, if it grows from this, the Hoosiers (3-2) might yet become Big Ten factors.

No matter what happens, Suhr, Bassett and Shaw will play big roles. And if that continues to put Ratliff, Wilmont and Calloway on the bench, well, this isn't about seniority. It's about production.


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