Life cannot be easy for Indiana basketball coach Kelvin Sampson these days. He was the subject of a blistering column in Thursday's Indianapolis Star calling for his immediate dismissal as the Hoosiers' coach in the aftermath of NCAA charges announced yesterday. Whether Sampson even remains with the Hoosiers through Saturday night's game against Michigan State remains to be seen. ESPN's game day will be at Bloomington reporting all day Saturday and what a time for the network to be on campus given all the recent NCAA turmoil.
It's hard to predict how the Sampson news will affect Saturday's game. The Hoosiers will either have a lack of focus or they'll rally around their coach and play an inspired game especially after losing a tough one at home Wednesday to Wisconsin. And if Sampson is indeed eventually out and I think he is gone to be sure, then who takes over next season? The Indiana job, I believe, is still one of the best jobs in all of college basketball. That's the featured sport at the school which is known for its tradition. You can recruit to Indiana and the stigma of replacing Bob Knight is gone now that two other coaches have followed him.
And how will the Spartans play Saturday? Certainly they'll want a better start to finish performance than what they showed in the first half Tuesday at Purdue. If they get better play they certainly can win, I believe. How Tom Izzo shakes things up from that game to this one remains to be seen. I'm not sure some king of big shake up is needed anyway. After all Michigan State is still a nationally ranked team with a 20-4 record. My suggestion-- get all the players to just play harder and better-- simple as that. Radical changes indicate panic and I don't think it's time to panic because the Big Ten title is still on the table.