What a big time win by the Hoosiers tonight. The first 25 minutes showed why winning on the road in the Big 10 is tough. Minnesota is always a meat grinder (even for the best IU teams), but when the officials virtually conspire to give the game to the home team (as they do at virtually every Big 10 game), it can be downright impossible. It’s easy to focus on all the turnovers, but that’s part of playing a pressure defense. Indiana did a great job converting the opportunities they did have. Stemler’s 3 made up for his HUGE mistake on defense a possession earlier when he failed to foul Minnesota lummox Tollackson. He’s a terrible free throw shooter, but Lance went up in the air and left him open for a nifty reverse layup.
Eric Gordon struggled after being saddled with a bogus third foul, but played large down the stretch, nailing four huge FTs and making a tremendous stop one on one on defense with the Hoosiers up a point and the clock winding down. DJ White continues to show that he is a man playing a boys’ game.
I’m not saying that Tubby Smith is a great coach, but I think he’s solid to some degree (maybe not by Kentucky standards, but whatever). His move to the Big 10 has elevated the Gophers to level of being a team no one wants to play. This will be good for the conference in the long run.
All in all, this was the kind of win that pays off come March. IU will play a team down the road that will press like the Gophers. For a young team, the experience tonight will pay huge dividends later.