Opening Statement: "This game starts with our lack of awareness defensively. Communication, weak side, ball side, challenging shots, block outs, the awareness never got where it needed to be until the end of the game. What I said to this team before the game, what I said to them all week, it's a step that they have to take. They're shooting the ball well and getting a lot of attention for winning and things like that, but teams that take the next step totally get that defense is what comes first in every situation. Defense creates the offense, defense creates more opportunities, defense creates the fast break, you name it. The best teams gain confidence from their defense, not the other way around.
"The easiest thing in the world to do is be sky high when you're making shots. The hardest thing to do is to understand how committed you have to be to the game of defense and rebounding when you're not. Tonight was one of those nights where we didn't make as many shots and we're going to watch the film and see that the ball didn't move as well and that our movement, our screening, some of those things weren't nearly as good. Again, that's how I see it. We played hard, but we didn't play as smart as we needed to. We were prepared, our guys had really good practices, but as I look at the game now we weren't playing on edge the way that we have. Those might sounds like buzz words, but those were real.
"They practice hard and they prepare and all those kind of things, but you got to have an edge. What we've got to get to now again with Will (Sheehey) having been back, tonight is the first night he has gone up and down since he got hurt. We haven't had him go up and down in any kind of live contact situation in practice, so I'm proud of what he did. What this will do now as he gets back, it's got to increase the competition inside of practice and for minutes, all those types of things. When you take a player like that out of the lineup and some other guys aren't playing as well it hurts your team. Now that he comes back I'm looking forward to, we've had very good practices, but now I'm looking forward to the spirit of those practices even more so."
On whether the team is learning to play with a target on its back: "I don't know about the target thing. I think it's different for all of them. We don't have a lot of guys who have come from winning backgrounds. When you start to win, now some of the younger guys have obviously, but when you start to win, as things change around you, your mindset can't change. They've got to learn, they've got to grow through that. This is new for them. As coaches, we've won before, we've been ranked. We've gone on the road and won. We've been to the Final Four, but they haven't. When you're going through that, the number one thing is to stay committed to that improvement and keep that edge. We knew Minnesota would have that; their backs were against the wall. We knew that, it was very obvious to us. At the same time, did our players have the same edge that Minnesota players had tonight? No, they didn't. The last seven minutes of the game they did, but up to that point they didn't. We paid a price for it."
On how they can gain that edge in a game: "These are good guys, they'll respond. I'm not going to get too caught up in that. It comes down to the mindset. You guys know, we're not the most talented team, even in our league, not even close. When what you have plays on edge and plays with togetherness on defense and communication and that ball is moving, and then you're going to play better. As I said to them in the locker room, I'm not going to overreact, but I'm not going to under react. We're going to move forward in a quick way and it is very clear that we've got to get that edge back and I'm very confident we will."
On how Zeller played against a senior: "I don't ever look at individual matchups. Cody Zeller played well against Minnesota. I think that's because if you watch the game it wasn't just a one-on-one. He was scoring over two and three people at times. I thought Cody played very well and needs to demand the ball and be more demanding of his teammates as his confidence grows. Well he needs to bring it on the outward way, not just the inward way. That will be the next step for him because Cody truly is just scratching the surface."
On changes the defense up during the game: "Well, we played a lot of zone last year against this team, a lot of different type of zones. We needed to get some movement; we needed to get some activity. We definitely had planned to play zone inside of the game, but it became more switching of the defenses inside of the game to try to stop their momentum. Again, that's where the awareness comes in. We challenged some shots, then all of the sudden we give up an offensive rebound, or we lose a guy on the back line as he slides under. I think we're going to see the film and we're going to see a ton of awareness mistakes."
Minnesota Head Coach Tubby Smith
Opening statement: "I thought it was an excellent effort on our part defensively. I thought we did the things we had to do to get the stops and we really guarded their three tonight. I thought that was the main thing we've had problems and there was some outstanding play. I thought Austin Hollins, we'll put him back in the lineup. He shot the ball extremely well tonight and played well. He did some good things for us. Joe Coleman you know made some big-time free throws. Ralph made a big shot for us down the stretch. So just a good all-around team effort to beat a very good Indiana team."
Beating Indiana as hot as they are and Minnesota struggling: "Well we needed a win we've been struggling obviously. We've been playing well in sprawls but we haven't been able to sustain it. We'll see. You never know. It's one game and I thought tonight we caught Indiana on a tough shooting night and we did what he had to do to get the win so hopefully we can build on this. We'll use this to continue to improve as we get ready for a good Penn State team."
On the ball movement on offense and good defense: "I thought our defense was outstanding. We really contested shots. We challenged them on everything. Our ball movement, we did a good job in that motion offense but we were pitching a couple quick shots right before the half and we had a kid take a bad shot. I thought overall we took good shots. They started to foul us at the end so the fouls got to be a little more even. But I thought we did a good job of taking care of the ball for the most part and that's always a tough thing to do when you come on the road and play a good team like Indiana. We did a good job and blocked some shots. Our defense we had good movement. I was very impressed with Cody Zeller. He was a really tough matchup for us and we had all kinds of trouble guarding him. Otherwise we did a good job on most of the other guys."
On keeping Zeller away from the basket: "Well I didn't think we did a very good job on him. He had 23 points. Well we tried to but we didn't do some of the things. We let him go baseline and we told them that's what he does. That's how the first two fouls happened. So no we didn't do a very good job at all."
On withstanding the pressure late in the game: "I was really concerned with driving with the ball and just coming to meet every pass, the basic fundamentals that you have to do in order to secure the ball and secure the victory. We didn't make some free throws and we missed some shots but there are a lot of things we need to improve on but I was glad to see our guys without a timeout. We didn't have a timeout so we kind of were using a small lineup. We didn't have Rodney (Williams) in the game so we had some guys step up and do some special things. I thought Joe (Coleman), in particular, Austin (Hollins) making his free throws and Ralph (Sampson III) had a huge jumpshot."