Final
  for this game

Indiana faces Northwestern, new distractions

Feb 23, 2008 - 3:06 PM No. 14 Indiana at Northwestern 8:00 pm EST

EVANSTON, Illinois (Ticker) - Indiana has gotten rid of Kelvin Sampson. Now comes the fallout.

Interim coach Dan Dakich may not have a full roster available to him when the 14th-ranked Hoosiers visit Northwestern on Saturday in a Big Ten contest.

After much speculation, Sampson and the school reached an agreement on a $750,000 buyout on Friday.

"While I'm saddened that I will not have the opportunity to coach these student-athletes, I feel that this is in the best interest of the program for me to step away at this time," Sampson said in a statement released by the university. "I wish my players nothing but the best for the remainder of the season."

The resignation ended an ugly nine-day process in which Sampson was cited by the NCAA for five major violations, including the non-observance of restrictions that were imposed on the Hoosiers (22-4, 11-2) because of his previous infractions while at Oklahoma.

However, the decision was an unpopular one with many players including senior D.J. White, who is the team's leading rebounder at 10.4 boards a game. White was among six players who skipped Dakich's first practice on Friday. Athletic director Rick Greenspan gave his assessment of the situation.

"I assume there's always that chance and I won't pretend to speak for our players," Greenspan said when asked if the players would revolt. "Much like any student-athlete, they develop a strong affinity for a coach, and that's a tribute to Coach Sampson."

The players showed their support for Sampson by sending him out with a pair of wins over then-No. 9 Michigan State and No. 14 Purdue. White had 19 points and 15 rebounds in the win over the Boilermakers despite a hyper-extended knee.

It remains to be seen how White and his teammates will react to Dakich, who played for legendary coach Bob Knight at Indiana from 1982-85. He coach 10 years at Bowling Green before returning this season.

Regardless of the distractions, the Hoosiers should have no problem with the Wildcats, who are the doormat of the Big Ten. Northwestern (7-17, 0-13) has lost six straight, overall, and three straight to Indiana.