Indiana at Northwestern
Jan. 28, 2009
Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean
"Maybe I am biased but both teams deserved to win that game as hard as they battled. They kept playing through mistakes, playing through fouls, playing through runs, all the different things that go into it. Wouldn't change anything, we just didn't execute our last play the way we wanted to. It was another learning lesson for our team to understand. You never win or lose a game on the last play but everybody has got to do their job to the nth degree in situations like that. Our guys really fought, battled and I am very disappointed for them because that would have been such a great way to walk out of this city feeling really, really good about themselves.
"That being said, I am really looking forward to seeing how we rebound from this. I didn't think we rebounded very well from the Michigan game when we blew the lead and lost the game and lost the game in overtime. I did not think we rebounded very well at all in going to Illinois. But in a couple weeks time, like we have done all year long, is showing maturity. It is very important that they are resilient right now and come home and play well against a very good Ohio State team."
On the final possession:
"The best play. The situation---we could have got Malik in the game. We were going to run one thing and come down the court. But once we couldn't and with the extra timeout we knew exactly what we wanted on the side out. There were different options and Kevin Coble made a very good defensive play. But again we had a couple different pressure releases in that and wanted to get the ball either on the strong side initially and go right in or get it off the top or through the middle and reverse to Devan on the other side. We just never got there. We were just going to take the best shot in that situation. If we had a layup we certainly would have taken that. Certainly also with an open three or open pull-up."
On offensive strategy against Northwestern 1-3-1 zone:
"We wanted to shoot jump shots but also wanted to play through the post and thought we did a pretty good job of that. Devan certainly shot the ball at a very high rate tonight. The key against their zone and they play it so well, is that you have to reverse the ball. We wanted to play through the middle, we wanted to attack on the corners and wanted to get into the lane. We couldn't stay on one side. We couldn't stay on two sides. It has to continually be reversed. You have to make them move. If you allow them to keep you on one side of the floor it is going to be a long night for you."
On Kevin Coble:
"The TV does not do justice to him. You see him make those plays on television or see him make those plays on tape and then you get into the game and it is amazing. It is also a situation where they have numerous players on the court that can make shots so it is very, very hard to---and Kyle Taber fought like crazy on him and different guys fought on him. We made some mistakes when we went zone. The zone wasn't as good for us tonight. At the same time we didn't have a guy that could totally keep that ball out of his hands. If you don't have that guy you can play a little bigger on him. There is not a lot I would change about who guarded him. He certainly made some very tough shots and some we made some mistakes on.
"This is why they are a good basketball team. This is why this league is full of very good players, very good shooters, excellent coaches. If you make a mistake, the best teams make you pay and that is what Northwestern does now. I have only been in the league this year but....if you go under the handoff, they hit a three. If you go under one of their actions, go under a player, they are going to make the shot. Some teams don't do that but they do and that is why they are a really good team. They execute if you deviate one second from your game plan."
On Northwestern's defense in the second half against Devan Dumes:
"No, some of that----he did a really good job of moving, flashing to the middle sometimes. They guarded him pretty well, they were there. The one three he missed in the deep corner would have been a great time to shot fake because they closed out hard. It is a very tough zone to think you are going to come down and run some set plays against. There were a lot of spacing issues. Again though we made some good plays, we just didn't settle for threes. He did an excellent job of playing inside of the game. He didn't force any shots or anything like that."
On Northwestern's defense forcing turnovers:
"We are just not strong with the ball. We have to get there. Some of it will obviously come with our maturity level and gaining strength. That is why we do a lot of five on seven (in practice) and try to make it as chaotic as it can be because we can't assimilate that in practice right now. That strength with the ball. We turned it over 19 times but the amazing thing is we had 47 deflections today. Kyle Taber had 11 deflections and was averaging 2.5. We guarded at a pretty good level. I know it didn't seem like that when Coble makes those shots. But like I said, they made us pay when we deviated just a little bit.
"We have to be stronger with the ball. It is attacking two different zones in our opinion. You have to attack that top line because of the way they pressure. That is why we wanted to post in the middle of it. Then we have to attack it from the bottom and they really move well in it. They remind me of when John Chaney was coaching at Temple. When I was with Tom Izzo at Michigan State we would play them and their zone was so much like a man to man, it moved so well. Northwestern's is exactly like that. It is one of the best zones I have ever seen, personally as a coach. What Bill is doing with that team--they move so well. Nash creates a lot of that at the top but you have to make all five of those guys move. When we did, we did a good job. When we allowed guys to lock into the ball, when we allowed guys to attack the ball (we struggled)."
On getting 19 assists on 23 field goals tonight:
"That has to be a first for us. Those are Illinois, Northwestern numbers. We are not a high assist team right now. We played well enough to win, there is no question and so did they. And they did. I know I am stating the obvious but that was an incredible atmosphere. It was one of the more intense games I have ever been a part of as a coach and I was really disappointed for our players that they did not get an opportunity to have that joy they would have had with a (win) in this game."
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