Indiana vs. Illinois Postgame Quotes
Feb. 15, 2009
Head Coach Tom Crean:
" The hardest thing to learn is who you really are, what your identity is. And we have been going through that for so long. They are going to get better. They are going to get more physical. They are going to get stronger. They are going to improve their athleticism; they are going to improve their technique. Right now what we have to hang our hat on is spirit and toughness. It is the way that it is. And the way we played in the first half, that is not what we played with.
"And (Illinois) exposed it. They are a very, very good basketball team. It is very obvious; it should be obvious around the country. I thought they have been ranked too low in the sense of not really getting the respect nationally that they deserve. When you look at the improvement of their players, especially with (Mike) Davis... I love Davis. He plays with an edge. And that is what you need. When you are his size that is what you need. (Mike) Tisdale plays with an edge. And I think they have done a great job developing that. The guards and their abilities speak for themselves, and what they are capable of.
"Well, we are not going to come in just match up with that. We have to come in and we have to play with a fierceness; we have to play with a toughness. The first 20 minutes we made far too many mistakes to give us a shot. We knew they would come out with great pressure; that is what they do. It is what teams do to us right now.
"I will never coach this like we don't have something to lose. But our guys came out with much more spirit and toughness. The crowd was phenomenal. To have this record and be sold out, to have this kind of spirit... it was a great thing. We gave ourselves some chances at the end but the way we played in the first half they had built up a cushion. And we gave them no reason in the first half to think that we were going to come out and fight. Give them credit. They made enough plays and went to the free throw line and made free throws and did things like that."
On the status of Devan Dumes:
"As for Devan's situation, this is still very much a basketball issue. It is nothing other than that. This is a multiple-incident type of thing in a couple of different games. I have been in consultation with the commissioner (of the Big Ten) and I have been in consultation certainly with Athletic Director Fred Glass. That is where it has stood. Every day is a different day. I fully am ready for him to be back and that is what we are looking forward to right now. Mistakes were made, in the sense of the games, and it has been a heavy price to pay, no question about that. We are just trying to take care of our house the best we can with that."
On frustrations of not getting the defensive rebound:
"I don't get frustrated. I really don't. I know it appears that way. We just have to keep fighting it. We just have to be better getting our body into their bodies. I don't coach these guys like we are out here looking at some talent difference or an athleticism difference. Now certainly we have to scheme that way. We did not do a good job of taking away what we wanted to take away in the first half. But it is what it is right now. But that does not mean we are not going to fight as hard as we can."
On backing off of Chester Frazier defensively in the second half:
"What we were doing in the first half was not working. Because they were making too many open shots. They were making open 15-17 footers, or they were making layups or dunks. And there were a couple of time where we certainly did not do a good job of reading the next pass. And if they didn't set a shot-block record, they were probably close. We've just got to be better than that. We take those shots in practice, nobody blocks the shot. We take the shot in the game and there are three people lining up to get it. We have to mature into that. That is why making the next pass is above all the most important thing in our offense, no matter what we are trying to do. We didn't do a great job of that. With them they have so many different players that can make plays. We had to find something that would give us a chance to get back into the game."
On fewer turnovers today:
"That says a lot because their pressure is phenomenal. They really get up after you. They shoot the gaps very well; they get around screens. Their strength difference is amazing. (Illinois coach Bruce Webber) allows them to really get out and pressure which is when they are at their best. For us to withstand that, it says a lot about the short time we have gained that maturity. We have to continue to get better at that every game."
On Matt Roth getting back into the game during the run:
"They did a great job of guarding him early. They were putting so much pressure on us that the one or two things we could find (Roth) in, we were being pressured so hard that we couldn't get it there. It is like anything else, it will loosen up at some point. So we had to stick to what we were trying to do. But again, Matt has to get lost in the offense a little bit so we can find him. I keep saying that and you saw it again today. We have sets for him; people know the sets. There are certain concepts we feel he can get open in inside of there. But he is also putting the (ball) on the floor a little bit more. He got fouled on the three-point play. It is not a range issue with him, sometimes it is a bit of a space issue...having the space to get it off. I am really proud of him. He played a lot of minutes."
On fewer three-point baskets but more points in the paint from Illinois in the second matchup:
"They are a very good team. I don't know if it is the youth of (our) team. I think it is the experience and talent of the other team. They are very good. Illinois can beat you a lot of different ways. I hate to use the term "pick your poison' ... but they have players that are hard to guard one-on-one. They can score at the rim, they can score in the mid-range, and they can score from the three-point line."
On the crowd support being unique to Indiana:
"I have never seen anything like it. I've never read about it, never heard about it, never had anybody tell me about it. It is amazing. I don't have any adjectives anymore. That was an incredible place (today). I know my energy was raised. It was high-level in that building. There are so many coming to these games that have never been here before. We are getting so many people that are exposed to Indiana basketball. It is beyond loyal. Losing is very hard because you want them to walk out of here feeling really good too. They are giving us everything they have to put us in a situation to be successful. Maybe it could happen somewhere else...I hope nobody ever has to go through this... I hope no group of fans ever have to go through this (like Indiana). I couldn't imagine it happening anywhere the way these fans care about this program."
On being able to make a comeback late in the game:
"I think it is the maturity of playing the game. Everything is an experience. Obviously they don't have things to fall back on. All they have to fall back on is this, the experience of going through this; the experience of playing these games. That is all that they have. They just come out and learn it. Taking care of the ball in a game like this has a lot to do with that. You have to have a balance of taking care of the ball, making the shots and you have to string numerous stops together."
Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber
"I challenged our guys to have a sense of urgency at the start of the game, especially on the road. I thought we did that. I couldn't be more pleased with the first half. We guarded people, moved the basketball. We kept reminding them, how did we get here. It's by playing hard. We had 28 on our play hard chart. I think that is a halftime record for this year. The deflections, loose balls, all those things. We had great hustle. We defended and got after them, and disrupted them I thought the first half. We shared the basketball and really played as a team.
"Tom [Crean] has done an unbelievable job of keeping them motivated, keeping them into games. It's amazing to me because I know how hard it is. We went through some struggles last year as a program, and just every day to come to work and get those guys to play, get them to believe. You know, they could have quit at halftime. They didn't, they got the crowd back into it."
On the first 10 minutes of the second half:
"Well they just started taking us, we told them in the first half when they did score we fouled and they got free throws, got a couple second chance points and we wanted to continue to pressure them. But no matter what I say at halftime, you know you're not going to have the edge you had and they took advantage of it. We missed a couple of shots but we still got it to 21 and that's where you have got to be smart.
"I thought the first seven, eight minutes was fine; you know they were going to make a run. They weren't going to stop and lay down, on CBS with this sellout crowd, but we survived it, then they changed defense and that's where I thought we got a little tentative. Then we didn't guard and I kept telling them that it doesn't matter what we do on offense."
Check back soon