It was a very big win for the Indiana Hoosiers, against struggling Northwestern, in their first game without Kelvin Sampson.
While the expectation had to be an easy win over Northwestern, which hasn't won a Big Ten game, a win in this situation is more important even if by the skin of their shaky teeth. Coming on the heels of the forced resignation of Sampson due to alleged NCAA phone recruiting violations , the team was visibly upset although still determined to win, if not for themselves, to honor their former coach as many players wrote his initials KS on their shoes. It's obvious this was a shaken young bunch Saturday night and Hoosier fans can only hope these young men will be able to pull together and meet the tough challenges ahead for the remainder of the season.
Certainly they have the ability to win the Big Ten and to go deep into the NCAA tournament. It will depend on the ability of their team leader D. J. White, and freshman floor leader Eric Gordon to lead this team through the difficult adjustment of loosing their father like coach Sampson, and pulling together behind the very capable interim coach Dan Dakich.
I think the Hoosiers will show they are a great team that is improving as the season goes and will continue to do so under Dakich.
They will want to honor Sampson whom they have obvious respect and admiration for as a coach and father figure even though he may not have followed the rules with regard to alleged recruiting and phone use violations.
With tough games this week against OSU and MSU it won't take long to see what this IU team is made of.
It will be fun to see what happens.