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Published: Saturday, 3/12/2005

Indiana's Davis on shaky ground

BY RON MUSSELMAN
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Davis Davis
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CHICAGO - Indiana coach Mike Davis just can't seem to escape the shadow of Bob Knight.

Win or lose, Davis knows he will have to field a question or two about his job security.

It's been that way for five years now.

Davis found himself back on the proverbial hot seat again yesterday after the fourth-seeded Hoosiers were routed 71-55 by Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals at the United Center.

"I have been in this situation for five years," Davis said. "It would be an insult to my administration to come down and say, 'Hey we support Mike Davis.' I don't need that, they don't need that."

Indiana (15-13) likely will miss the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year and end up in the less prestigious NIT.

Davis, who replaced Knight shortly after his firing in 2000, believes the Hoosiers still deserve NCAA consideration because of their tough nonconference schedule and 10 Big Ten wins.

"We played three teams that won big-time conferences, the ACC, SEC and Big East - no one else did that," he said. "We finished in fourth place and that's why we were the fourth seed. That's all I can say.

"You do the math."

Indiana has won nearly 60 percent of its games and averaged nearly 20 wins per season during Davis' tenure.

He has been to the Final Four, won a conference title and upset the nation's No. 1 ranked teams in 2001 and 2002. And he has done his best coaching in March, when he is 18-10.

Yet he remains an embattled coach.

While Davis and Indiana appear to be out of the NCAA tournament, fifth-seeded Minnesota (21-9) figures to be in the 65-team field for the first time in six years.

The Golden Gophers won their fifth straight game and will face No. 1 Illinois in the semifinals today.

Vincent Grier led Minnesota with 16 points, including 14 in the second half when the Gophers used an 18-5 run to pull away from the Hoosiers. Freshman D.J. White paced Indiana with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.

"I felt before this game we were deserving of an NCAA bid," Minnesota coach Dan Monson said. "I think we have a resume that is very deserving for what these guys accomplished this season - going 10-6 in the Big Ten and winning games."

NCAA PROBE: The NCAA will interview Wright State coach Paul Biancardi Tuesday as part of the scandal that led to the firing of Ohio State's Jim O'Brien last June.

Biancardi, an OSU assistant for seven years, is accused of breaking a number of NCAA rules involving former player Slobodan "Boban" Savovic. He allegedly set up illegal living arrangements for Savovic in July of 1998 and later worked to have the player's failing grades changed.

Biancardi has denied all of the allegations against him.



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