Feb. 19, 2011
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Head Coach Tom Crean
"Our biggest problem tonight was exposed in the first half when there's not enough team accountability on the defensive end and a coach can sub and try to do that. We can practice all week and we can have great practices and all those types of things, but defensive-minded players do not accept when teammates on the court are not defending the way that they need to defend. Again, it has got to be a mindset that players bring to one another. I'm disappointed in our first half defense. I'm disappointed that the sellout crowd watched us defend so poorly especially with the 3's that we gave up. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that we'd come back, that's what we do, but it never should have gotten to that point. Scoring points was not going to be an issue for us when we drove the ball and when we made the next pass.
"We talk about it all the time with this team. We show them video. We show them what it's like. We showed a lot of clips of the Illinois game today where we just kept grinding it out when we weren't scoring points. Again, it's individuals holding individuals responsible and not wanting to let each other down. If the rules weren't set up for it to be so soft for players after this, where you could come back and practice that night or come back and practice at midnight the next day, that's exactly what we'd be doing. We'll be in here at 7:30 tomorrow morning guarding and continuing to get this thing where it has to be on the defensive end and just continuing to search for people that have a mindset of what it's going to take defensively. If it's not good enough at that point, we'll come back and we'll do it again. It's my responsibility, there's no question about that. There's absolutely no way of accepting the way we defended in those first 20 minutes and that doesn't excuse free throws not going in and it doesn't excuse turnovers and those types of things. As we build to win, we have got to have a defensive mindset and when we've had it, we've been pretty solid and when we haven't, we have a first half like tonight."
On if anyone is bringing the defensive mindset:
"Not on a consistent basis. It's not about playing hard. There's got to be more accountability for one another outside of a coach making a substitution. We start the second half and we're getting stops strung together, no issue. It just should never come to that. It's a forty minute game and sometimes we've got too many guys where that part of the book, they haven't gotten to yet. That's disappointing. It's disappointing to me and I take responsibility for it, but we're going to keep trying to correct it as inherently and emphatically as we possibly can. A couple of our guys that are our better defenders did not have games that were even close. You can't let mistakes compound. Dan Moore makes a mistake, gives up a backdoor because he's overplaying, he can't get over and he comes back and fouls a three-point shooter. That's six points from an individual guy in one minute. We can't win that way. Those are the things that I'm tired of seeing and we've got to keep working to correct it."
On the zone defense:
"We weren't in the zone probably as much as we should've been. They made a couple of threes. We weren't moving well in the zone. When we start hopping, we're not very good defensively and that's why we got uptight with the zone. I think zoning a team like Northwestern is not a bad way to go, but if you're moving on the catch against a team like that, that makes threes and puts five shooters on the court almost every time, except there's maybe one guy that you wouldn't look at and say he's a really good three-point shooter, then that's a problem. It's not the defensive scheme as much as it's the lack of movement. That's where you can sub, but you've got to have guys where they don't want to let each other down and frankly they are afraid to let each other down on the court defensively. That's what we've got to continue to build."
On not getting over the hump in the second half:
"We didn't make stops. Every time we got to a point, they would make a big shot. That's why we mix defenses like we have. I was really, really concerned going into this game and I've been this way since yesterday because of the lack of time we've spent on execution, five-on-five execution of really working on our offense. It's like a wasted week. We were breaking things down defensively, shell drill, two-on-two, four-on-four, five-on-five full court. It just can't be that way. Our mistakes didn't come offensively as much in the second half as they did not getting the stop when we needed it. That's where that individual accountability to one another on the court comes into play and I thought we were a little closer ahead on that. That level of play is not acceptable. It's not going to be acceptable even remotely close on Wednesday night. All I can tell you is bright and early tomorrow morning, when the rules allow, we'll be in here correcting it again."
Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody
"It seemed like a long game. There were a lot of fouls both ways. It wasn't real fluid. Both teams were in the bonus early in both halves. We had a nice lead going into the half and they came out in the second half and `poof!' It came down to a lot of foul shots. Thompson came up big for the most part and Shurna made some big plays. He isn't up to par physically but he made some big shots at the end. We had stops the last three or four times. We made some fouls and they missed a few big free throws at the end."
On 3-point shots:
"We don't have much of an inside game, so you have to do what you are pretty good at. We haven't shot three's well on the road but most teams don't shoot well on the road. We were 11 for 24 throughout the game and we average 10 [3 pointers] per game."
On importance of win against Iowa:
"It was our second road win and they are hard to come by. We feel good and positive about ourselves as we make a run for the tournament."
On Luka Mirkovic:
"In the first game [against Indiana], Luca [Mirkovic] went 20 and 12 and this time they double-teamed him every time he touched the ball. He passed the ball to the right guy, and we were able to knock down three's because he was double-teamed. He did well 80 percent of the time."
On Shurna's confidence:
"He just needs to get stronger. I am saying he was just okay tonight and still had 19 points. He came through and blocked a couple shots at the end. He was a little off defensively. We had a couple plays designed for him and he knocked down a couple three's at the top of the key."