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.

Tuesday, January 23

Illinois Too Much For IU

Kelvin Sampson got plenty of grief from Illinois fans (you bet they remembered Eric Gordon), although not as much as students had hoped. All signs were confiscated before the game by school officials, prompting chants of “Traitor! Traitor!”

No matter. Students resorted to the time-honored tradition of chants (“Call me Kelvin!” and “Read Your By-laws,” references to the phone call infraction that earned Sampson NCAA sanctions, was a big favorite) and boos and holding up cell phones. Getting an earful was Sampson’s wife, Karen, as well as the IU official contingent. They all were seated next to the Orange Krush section at courtside near the IU bench.

Right in the middle of all that was ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews. She generated her own attention, but that’s a story for another day.

Illinois didn’t have a monopoly on crowd passion. A small group of IU students -- okay, two guys wearing red wigs -- did something to earn a first-half lecture from Illinois security officials. It wasn’t enough to get them kicked out.

Sampson’s arrival generated plenty of anticipation, but Illinois coach Bruce Weber came out first at the one-minute mark Sampson came out 30 seconds later. Sampson and Weber briefly shook hands and went to their respective teams.

Did it all this affect the game? Not even close.

Illinois’ defense and intensity, however, did affect it.

The result was a 51-43 Indiana loss that almost certainly will knock it out of the rankings just a day after it made the polls for the first time all season (No. 23 in AP, No. 24 in the coaches’ poll).

That, too, is another discussion for another day.


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