Thoughts Following Indiana Loss Against Wisconsin

January 16, 2013 Comments off

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No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers defeated Tuesday by Wisconsin Badgers at The Assembly Hall. Hoosiers next game is Sunday at Northwestern. (Photo Credit: Jamie Owens)

Being able to watch these home games from the balcony, I leave knowing the outcome of the game and for the most part how each team played on the championship banners half-court.

With that said, going home and watching tape left me with the same thoughts following Indiana’s loss against Wisconsin and their past two games at The Assembly Hall.

Closeout defense on perimeter:

This was the main takeaway from Tuesday’s loss to Wisconsin, and most of the issue was from the first half. Wisconsin shot 33.3 percent from three-point range in the first half, making four of 12. Both teams were not successful shooting in the first half or second half, but Wisconsin’s inability to score down low would have allowed Indiana to stretch their lead to more than one at the half.

Slow starts for Christian Watford:

It is pretty simple. Watford is the secret weapon for this entire team to be successful. I watch tape of him and wonder after, “How in the world did he get eight rebounds? I only saw three.” Against Wisconsin he only had five rebounds and 11 points, and what we saw in the second half is what Indiana needs at the tip. When Watford starts slow, Indiana can struggle early. When he starts with points and hustle, the Hoosiers are capable of extending leads quick.

Cody Zeller ended against Wisconsin with 23 points and 10 rebounds. (Photo Credit: Washington Post)

Cody Zeller ended against Wisconsin with 23 points and 10 rebounds. (Photo Credit: Washington Post)

Hoosier defense from Zeller, Ferrell and Oladipo:

We know Victor Oladipo is the best defender in the country, and he was jipped from the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 list. Oladipo continues to prove he is the hardest working player on the Hoosiers team. Excellent defense ability, but he also needs to show his improvement on his jump shot in games too.

Other players who were impressive were Cody Zeller and Yogi Ferrell. Zeller went with a foul, in successive games, but played a major role near the paint, despite running from the perimeter to the block all night. Ferrell has been impressive so far in Big Ten Conference play, and his quickness and ability to stay elusive through screens has been a joy to watch. Improvement is still needed for this talented, freshman guard, but what has been seen so far is fantastic.

Jordan Hulls and Will Sheehey shooting woes:

Sheehey goes scoreless for the second consecutive game in 33 combined minutes. Against Wisconsin, Sheehey missed a mid-range jumper from the baseline, a shot he is known for and nearly automatic. When these shots start dropping or Sheehey drives to the hoop and gets to the free-throw line, it will open him up to hit the three-pointers down the stretch.

Despite a great outing against Minnesota, Hulls has been hesitant with the basketball in his hands when it comes to shooting. He threw up two horrific shots Tuesday night in the first half, and left the loss with only four points and no free-throws.

Holding big leads:

Though we have not seen this team screw up big leads besides the near loss against Minnesota, before conference play the Hoosiers have shown signs of having an inability to contain big leads. It is more vocal after having a 23-point halftime lead diminish last Saturday, because this team decides to take breaks and be lazy with a comfortable lead.

Momentum is everything in conference play, and when Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean’s team finds a double-digit lead, it needs to be clear to never let go of the throttle.

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After Rest Day…Team SPEED With Consistency

January 14, 2013 Comments off

After rest day, Team SPEED ready to move on with the 2013 Dakar Rally on Monday. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

After rest day, Team SPEED ready to move on with the 2013 Dakar Rally on Monday. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

With two more stages completed and the rest day in the rearview mirror, Team SPEED finds themselves ready for stage nine and the remaining six specials.

Two more podium-finishes later, Robby Gordon, driver of the No. 315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER, finds himself 23rd in the overall, five hours, 51 minutes and 23 seconds behind Dakar Rally leader Stephane Peterhansel.

In stage seven and eight, Gordon finished third for the fourth stage in-a-row.

Moving on from a difficult, confusing stage eight will be difficult for a few competitors after a cancellation of the stage due to a flooded river, but the rally moves on. Only nine cars finished the stage and the rest, including second overall driver Nasser Al-Attiyah, will not be penalized for not finishing.

Here is the statement issued by SPEED Energy from the ASO:

“ASO cancelled the special stage at CP2, kilometer 86, and some cars had made it to the finish line. Those cars keep the time, and the ASO decided the cars that already had made it to the finish at the point in time of the cancellation should keep their times. All others, who finished after cancellation or not at all, were ranked with the time of the last driver who finished prior to cancellation.”

Al-Attiyah did not reach the flooded river and was stuck on a boulder with a broken transmission and no support vehicle on the way.

Moving on to stage eight, Team SPEED will start third overall for the 852-kilometer stage and the longest timed special of the rally so far of 593 kilometers. Gordon will drive his HUMMER through a stage full of soil-stones terrain with a tarmac, non-timed section and opportunity to refuel.

Gordon will start his stage approximately at 8:07 a.m. EST. Drivers will race from Tucumán to Córdoba, Argentina.

By using Twitter, fans can use these hashtags to follow Team SPEED and the 2013 Dakar Rally: #TeamSPEED, #USvsTHEM, #TeamToyo and #Dakar2013.

Follow Team SPEED on Facebook by searching SPEED Energy, or on Twitter (@SPEED_Energy). Also on Twitter, live updates will be given by @PLANETROBBY, or you can sign up for free on PlanetRobby.com for live updates and chat for each stage. Daily updates will be given at BAJA Sports for Team SPEED.

Team SPEED With Consecutive Top-Threes

January 11, 2013 Comments off

Robby Gordon finishes third in stage six to make back-to-back finishes in that position. (Photo Credit: SPEED Energy Facebook)

Robby Gordon finishes third in stage six to make back-to-back finishes in that position. (Photo Credit: SPEED Energy Facebook)

Robby Gordon consecutively finished in the third position, and after stage six’s third place, Team SPEED still finds themselves long behind but gaining positions.

Gordon, driver of the No. 315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER, and Team SPEED finished 13 minutes and 42 seconds behind stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah. Gordon is 24th in the overall and nearly six hours behind 2013 Dakar Rally leader Peterhansel.

“It was another good special for us, another podium result for us as a team,” Gordon said. “Unfortunately, we gave up five minutes in the transfer section, and missed a couple of roads near the beginning. Getting beat 13 minutes does not really concern me because it really does not matter, we are just in a mode to get the best results we can and finish the Rally. We have the ability to break into the top-15, top-10 with a lot of cars are dropping out daily.”

Stage seven will take place from Calama to Salta, Chile. The 754-kilometer stage will allow the competition to go through soil and stones throughout the entire 220-kilometer timed special.

Gordon was slated to start stage seven at 10:56 a.m. EST behind Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel.

By using Twitter, fans can use these hashtags to follow Team SPEED and the 2013 Dakar Rally: #TeamSPEED, #USvsTHEM, #TeamToyo and #Dakar2013.

Follow Team SPEED on Facebook by searching SPEED Energy, or on Twitter (@SPEED_Energy). Also on Twitter, live updates will be given by @PLANETROBBY, or you can sign up for free on PlanetRobby.com for live updates and chat for each stage. Daily updates will be given at BAJA Sports for Team SPEED.

Stage Five Proves Better Than Stage Four

January 10, 2013 Comments off

Robby Gordon finishes third in stage five of the 2013 Dakar Rally.

Robby Gordon finishes third in stage five of the 2013 Dakar Rally. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

Team SPEED rebounded after a horrific stage four to finish stage five back inside the top-three for the second time in the 2013 Dakar Rally.

Robby Gordon, driver of the No. 315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER, finished third only one minute and 41 seconds behind 172-kilometer timed stage winner Perin Roma.

Despite having a stage without issues, Gordon and Team SPEED find themselves 36th overall and nearly six hours behind leaders. The rally may be out of reach for an overall victory, but stage wins are a possibility.

“Stage five was obviously a lot better than stage four as I put ourselves into a horrible position, “ Gordon said. “The car showed today that it’s capable of performing by finishing third.”

“There’s really nothing to gain except to have strong runs, learn as much as we can about the car and at least we will have more experience.”

Gordon started stage six at 8:39 a.m. EST, as all competitors will complete their first stage in Chile today. The drive will take place from Arica to Calama, Chile.

Stage six is the longest stage of the rally through six days, and the 785-kilometer stage will test all drivers and the cars’ equipment over soil, sand, a mixture and stones. The timed special will be 454 kilometers with a near 100-kilometer neutralization point.

By using Twitter, fans can use these hashtags to follow Team SPEED and the 2013 Dakar Rally: #TeamSPEED, #USvsTHEM, #TeamToyo and #Dakar2013.

Follow Team SPEED on Facebook by searching SPEED Energy, or on Twitter (@SPEED_Energy). Also on Twitter, live updates will be given by @PLANETROBBY, or you can sign up for free on PlanetRobby.com for live updates and chat for each stage. Daily updates will be given at BAJA Sports for Team SPEED.

Team SPEED’s Chances Take A Flip

January 9, 2013 Comments off

Robby Gordon (R) is pictured next to his Hummer in the sand during Stage 4 of the Dakar 2013 between Nazca and Arequipa, Peru. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

Robby Gordon (R) is pictured next to his Hummer in the sand during Stage 4 of the Dakar 2013 between Nazca and Arequipa, Peru. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

47 minutes was a large deficit, but not impossible to overcome over a 14-stage rally, but Team SPEED and Robby Gordon saw their chances of a 2013 Dakar Rally diminish in stage four Tuesday.

Gordon, driver of the No. 315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER, flipped his machine only 29 kilometers into the 288-kilometer timed special. It took multiple hours for support trucks to arrive and help the HUMMER that was stuck on its roof with a broken windshield and radiators.

Team SPEED would eventually get to racing again, but not without the penalty of finishing five hours and six minutes behind stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah. After stage four, Gordon is 43rd in the overall and five hours, fifity-one minutes and 39 seconds behind.

“We went over a dune and it was just straight down with one right end to it,” Gordon said. “We idled into it just enough to tip us over the front, honestly, five miles an hour probably, it wasn’t a big rollover. Except it put all the weight of the vehicle on the front, broke the windshield and flopped it on its roof and we had to wait for new radiators to get to us. It was a long wait.

Despite being so far behind, and without a chance to win, Gordon and Team SPEED will continue the rally. But will this be his last year?

“You know, we just needed to have a good day today. I don’t know what’s going wrong,” Gordon said. “We’ve just had a horrible rally so far this year. I don’t see a bright side coming, because it’s going to be a long ten days. We haven’t been able to put it all together.”

“We’ve got the team, we’ve got the cars, but I guess the drivers are making mistakes. It’s just unfortunate. I think we’re going to have sit back and see if it really makes sense to continue or not.”

The HUMMER was fixed relatively quickly once Gordon drove into the bivouac, and will continue with the rally starting with stage five today. He is scheduled to begin at 12:43 p.m. EST.

Stage five is from Arequipa, Peru to Arica, Chile. It is a 509-kilometer stage with a timed special of 172 kilometers. This will be the first special competitors will not drive through the dunes, but the terrain will be filled of soil and stones.

By using Twitter, fans can use these hashtags to follow Team SPEED and the 2013 Dakar Rally: #TeamSPEED, #USvsTHEM, #TeamToyo and #Dakar2013.

Follow Team SPEED on Facebook by searching SPEED Energy, or on Twitter (@SPEED_Energy). Also on Twitter, live updates will be given by @PLANETROBBY, or you can sign up for free on PlanetRobby.com for live updates and chat for each stage. Daily updates will be given at BAJA Sports for Team SPEED.

Team SPEED Back With A Runner-Up

January 8, 2013 Comments off

Robby Gordon steers his Hummer during Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally 2013 between Pisco and Nazca, Peru. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

Robby Gordon steers his Hummer during Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally 2013 between Pisco and Nazca, Peru. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

Robby Gordon and Co. finished second to former teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah in stage three of the Dakar Rally, making up many minutes on rally leader Carlos Sainz.

Gordon, driver of the No. 315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER, and Team SPEED lost the stage by one minute and 18 seconds behind Al-Attiyah and now find themselves 13th overall, 46 minutes and 47 seconds behind rally leader Peterhansel.

“We started very far back this morning but we caught and overtook loads of cars, so it was a good day for us,” Gordon said. “My car’s fast, but so are the Minis, we’ll see. Al-Attiyah’s also fast, as we saw today with his win and his recovery from yesterday’s stage. I’m still racing to win the overall, I’ve got my work cut out for me, but we’re going to do our best in every single stage.”

Moving on to stage 4 of the 2013 Dakar Rally, the Cars class is already underway on the 707-kilometer stage and 288-kilometer timed special. Stage 4’s terrain adds more dunes and soil to the rally, but also adds its first section of stones.

Another long special will prove to be tough for competitors as proved to be from stage three. Robby Gordon looked to improve time by starting second on the grid this morning; however, Gordon and Team SPEED has been said to roll the HUMMER and be stuck on its roof. Reports have shown it is unclear whether they will be able to continue once support trucks arrive.

By using Twitter, fans can use these hashtags to follow Team SPEED and the 2013 Dakar Rally: #TeamSPEED, #USvsTHEM, #TeamToyo and #Dakar2013.

Follow Team SPEED on Facebook by searching SPEED Energy, or on Twitter (@SPEED_Energy). Also on Twitter, live updates will be given by @PLANETROBBY, or you can sign up for free on PlanetRobby.com for live updates and chat for each stage. Daily updates will be given at BAJA Sports for Team SPEED.

Stage Two Complete … More Time Lost

January 7, 2013 Comments off

Robby Gordon finished 13th in stage two of the Dakar Rally. Will look to improve on lost time in stage three today. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

Robby Gordon finished 13th in stage two of the Dakar Rally. Will look to improve on lost time in stage three today. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

Team SPEED through two stages of the 2013 Dakar Rally has been a struggle falling behind the eight ball and looking to decrease their gap on the leaders after falling 19 minutes Sunday in stage two.

Robby Gordon, driver of the No. 315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER, finished 13th on the 242-kilometer special, improving Team SPEED’s overall from 33rd to 28th. Leader of the rally, Carlos Sainz, locked up consecutive stage victories as he won stage two over Peterhansel by three minutes and 23 seconds.

Robby Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch drove through issues of finding a critical waypoint through the dunes before being able to continue with the stage, losing valuable time.

“It was really tricky to find the waypoint today,” Walch said. “There was a bunch of cars even some bikes still circling around the dunes trying to find it too. It was a bit frustrating just because you know you’re losing time and there’s nothing you can do at that point. Once we did find it we were on our way and pushed pretty hard. Fortunately, we will get to start near the top ten which will help as we face some of the toughest dunes tomorrow. Robby did a great job trying to make up the lost ground today.”

Gordon will start his special today from Pisco, Peru to Nazca in a 343-kilometer stage and a 243-kilometer timed special. Team SPEED will look to improve on their overall and gain time on the leaders by driving through more dunes and soil, terrain favoring the HUMMER.

Gordon will start at approximately 10:41 a.m. EST and be the 13th car off the line today. Making it critical to pass cars and stay out of other competitors dust to improve time.

By using Twitter, fans can use these hashtags to follow Team SPEED and the 2013 Dakar Rally: #TeamSPEED, #USvsTHEM, #TeamToyo and #Dakar2013.

Follow Team SPEED on Facebook by searching SPEED Energy, or on Twitter (@SPEED_Energy). Also on Twitter, live updates will be given by @PLANETROBBY, or you can sign up for free on PlanetRobby.com for live updates and chat for each stage. Daily updates will be given at BAJA Sports for Team SPEED.

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