Men's Basketball

    Indiana vs. Michigan Postgame Quotes

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    Jan. 7, 2009

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    Click here for Coach Crean's postgame audio.

    Head Coach Tom Crean

    Opening Statement:

    "Well it goes without saying this would have been a great win for this team to get the way it started out, but even to have found a way to win it with the way it closed out. If we could have just closed this team out, but we just got to continue to learn what 40 minutes is all about. We've got to continue to learn what 40 minutes of great defensive intensity and pressure and following schemes and shot challenges and all those things are about. That's part of it right now for us. We've got to continue to rebound the ball better, and there's a laundry list of what we've got to improve on, but we are improving. That's up to you to decide if you see it, but I see it. We are improving. We're going to continue to improve. This would's an unbelievably tough pill to swallow right now, but I mean they've got to learn real quick that you just got to turn right back around. Get right back at it. Learn from the film. See what it looks like when you're doing it really well. See what it looks like when you're not doing it so well, and get rid of that feeling. That's what we've got to continue to focus on. We lost to a very good basketball team. I mean, in this league when you're going against excellent coaches and when you're going against excellent teams no one's going to go away. I don't think we played like that was the case. We just weren't quite as good defensively obviously, and they made some big shots. They made some shots that we gave them, but that's what they do, they make shots. We just wish, and everyone in that room wishes we could have guarded just a little bit better. There is certainly some things in the last minute we'd like to have back. Most years, most times, most teams, you're probably going to the foul line at the end of the game on that drive to the basket. Unfortunately, this Indiana right now hasn't earned that, and that's where you learn that tradition and all those things don't mean anything. When you're on that court you've got to go earn it yourself, and that's what we've got to continue to do. We've got to go earn our way. There is nobody looking to give ole Indiana a break. There is nobody looking to give Indiana an edge, and there is nobody looking to give Indiana a favor, so Indiana has just got to go take it. That's what we're going to work towards."

    As a coaching staff what do you do to get them to bounce back quick and learn how to do that?

    Oh, I won't have any trouble bouncing back, and they won't have any trouble looking at me and seeing that and I won't have any trouble getting that out of them. I think the most important thing is the teammates. We just keep coming right back at it. I mean I'm looking forward to continuing to watch their development as combative guys, as competitive people. People that learn. People that learn from mistakes and move on, and frankly, if you can't you can't stay. This is major league now. We're not going to get caught up in how many we've lost or what could happen next. We're going to come right back and get ourselves ready to go and see what happens. Go ahead Bob.

    Would you have preferred that Devan (Dumes) had pulled that ball back out?

    Absolutely, but I think most times, most years you're going to the foul line on that personally. But yeah, I think so. I think that is just a time and score situation we wanted to be aggressive. We broke the press, but yeah, I think you've got to pull that back out and then you've got to come make them chase you. That's part of the learning process for us, but no question.

    The free throw issues in overtime, do you think that's just inexperience with this team?

    I don't know. Free throws are one of the great wonders of the world. I mean they really are. I mean you're making them. We shot them well the other day. We don't know yet how to keep each other's spirit alive. We're not front-runners. We're far from it. There are times we're playing well we don't understand we can keep that going. They just, they just...there's nobody that...there's no calming influence yet that they can look and say, 'wow, yeah he has played all those games, he does know what he is talking about'. It's great in coaching. We can say what we want to say, but once they go out on that court they've got to go out there and learn it for themselves. But yeah, we had our opportunities with that. There's going to come a day that we'll make those and we'll move forward with it. But right now it just hasn't happened yet."

    Coach, you're up 12 with 10 minutes to go. Michigan took that time-out and got it down to seven and you guys got it back up to 12. What did you tell your guys at that point? Your 30 minutes into this and you're up a dozen.

    "Oh, there weren't many changes. We kept sticking with the same things that we were trying to run. Believe me now, there is not anything we change about our plan offensively or defensively, we just have guarded better. We'd had a better hand up at times. Our help defense got a little soft in the second half. We weren't quite getting off of...into the weak side into the lane as much as we were in the first half. There's some correctable errors there, but it was just a matter of just sticking with it. There was never going to be a need tonight to have to force anything. We're getting...part of this team we have to learn to play in the shot-clock some is because we don't want to play as fast a game all the time. We want to get the best shot right now. There's going to come a day where I don't think we'll be in the shot-clock a whole lot at Indiana, but right now we are. We just have to continue to do our best inside of that. But it wasn't anything magical. We just made some good plays. We didn't panic. The whole key with your team is to convince them they can score in the first five seconds or they can score in the last five, and it's all about poise, trusting your teammates. We just have to continue to learn how to do that."

    A situation like this. What do you say to Devan (Dumes)? How do you as part of coaching him what do you say when you say it to make him understand, or does he understand it immediately what he needs to do?

    "I think the first thing is you say ok we got to pull that back out. You got to the foul line. I mean your...I don't mean you got to the foul line on that, you get to the foul line on the other ones. You don't want him to lose that aggressiveness, but we got to pull them back out and make them chase us. Because again those situations, and we go through situations in practice. I mean we play all these different types of games it's just a matter, but again practice it's different than going through it in the game. But then like what I said in the locker room, we haven't earned that play yet. It is what it is. Again certainly, you'd like him to pull it back out or create a real two on one in that situation. We tried to draw it in and we just have to see it on film and I'm sure we'll go over it. We'll go through situations like that into game situations like that in practice, and hopefully we'll be that much more prepared the next time it happens."

    Did you sense any kind of a here we go again kind of mentality from them down the stretch as things started slipping away?

    "Oh, that's always possible, until they've had the success. It's like, it's like...everything...when you're young everything is so over magnified. Well, winning is to. So you get a win or you do something right you can carry that with you a little longer, where veterans they've seen it all. But we're just not there yet. There was a little bit of that. That would only be natural. But certainly we're trying to...we're not saying hey this is not Lipscomb. We're not saying that. We're just trying to stay focused on what's important. Bottom-line is we didn't guard nearly as well in the second half as we did the first. That's the story. It my mind. We still had our chances, but we've got to continue to learn how to play the whole game for 40, 45, 50, whatever it is. It begins with that defensive end, and we're not going to get away from what our focus in practice is, which is defense and rebounding all the time."

    What did you like most about the way your team played in the first half when you built that 17 point lead?

    I think they just stayed with it. I mean it wasn't like we got up and somebody said it's my turn or I need to get this. We just kept staying with what we were doing. We guarded better. Somehow, we've got to get this bench a little deeper. We just do. We just do. We're going to have to live with certain things and get through it. It's what we got to do. We got have a little more depth. We just got to keep doing a better job of developing those guys and showing some trust in them and giving them those opportunities and see what happens.

    From a silver lining standpoint, how can a game like this help this team grow?

    Well, I battle cry is that we're just getting closer. There's not a sense of...believe me that locker room is not about moral victories. It's not about any of that. We just got to stick with it. I know that doesn't sound very fun, but we got to stick with it. We got to stick with what we're doing and we got to keep gauging what's real for where our reality is right now. Are we getting better? We just don't have some of these wins to show for it just yet. But we're making improvements and they're growing and that's what...I'm home yesterday and I'm getting ready to go recruit and I go home to change and I turn on ESPN Classics and there at the Marquette-Louisville game. Rick was at that game. The Marquette-Louisville game from 2003. We're down 19 in that game and I'm watching some of that and it was like within two minutes my whole mood was perked. It was like we're going to get back to being in those types of games. Well, you got to win a couple of these before you can get into that. I have no doubt that at Indiana we'll get back to that, but it doesn't help tonight. It doesn't help how you feel. It doesn't help how they feel. We're just going to stick with what we're doing. We're not going to change what we're doing. We're just going to keep trying to learn and being combative and when we line up that bubble on the rim and we go full court or we do our rebound drills it's going to be as nasty and tough as it's ever been, because that is all we can do right now. That's how you build your program.

    Coach, heard more than one fan on the court or on their way out say far exceeded expectations tonight on their way out the door. Is that enough for you?

    "Would it be enough for you? It's not. I love our fans. That's part of it to. They're cheering so loud and they're getting up and God I want to win for them to. Our fans are so into it. We're going to get back to where it's sold out again. We'll get it back. I'm not trying to preach to you. I believe it. We're going to get it back to where this is a sold out house. Where it's a monster ticket. Where the ticket brokers are making a heck of a living because of Indiana basketball. Ticket brokers right now probably aren't making a heck of a living. They're probably following the tickers watching their own stock options go down. We're going to get that back. I'm going to keep believing that and I'm going to keep getting it across to them. If the fans said that I hope they'll be back here louder than ever next Saturday."

    All things considered, is this team where you thought they would be?

    "I don't know. I don't know how to do that. I really don't. I mean it's hard to do that. I'm not being evasive. Just think about it, what's the gauge? There's no gauge here. There's no gauge. There's no veteran leadership. Everything we're learning we've got to go through it together. But you know what, I'm not trading any of that. We're going to keep going through it together and it turn at some point. I mean it will. But I'm not going to give up on them. Like I said, we've got to keep trying to develop more that can go in there and help us in those games. Thanks.

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    Freshman Guard Verdell Jones

    On what the team takes away from this game:

    "I think it shows that we are getting better and making progress. It was a tough game and it hurts right now, but we just have to keep working.

    "There are no moral victories. We are all competitors and a loss is a loss whether you lose by 30 or you lose by one. We don't want to feel like this again."

    On what was different in the second half:

    "I think we need to learn how to play 40 minutes and to play defense better. We can't just let up on defense."

    On whether the team got tired at the end of the game:

    "No, we are well conditioned. This is the first overtime game we have played and we just have to learn from it and come back for the next game."




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