Postgame Quotes - Illinois vs. Indiana (Big Ten Tournament)
March 15, 2013
Postgame Quotes - Illinois vs. Indiana
Tom Crean, Head Coach
Our whole focus was getting ready to play our best basketball today and hopefully we play even better basketball tomorrow. Never to look ahead and to stay totally locked into the game at hand.
And I'm excited about the way our guys played. They should be too. And because they started off in a great way, they continued to play at a high level, and we closed the game the last seven minutes, not only defending pretty well, but scoring very well. That's the key. To go 21-24 from the foul line, to rebound the ball the way that we did, those are big, big things for us. So we're excited about the victory.
Q. Victor and Cody, obviously you guys have been the subject of a lot of national headlines, but how important are some of the guys like Christian [Watford] and Will [Sheehey] and Jordan and some of the other guys on this team? Victor Oladipo: They're huge. It takes our whole team to win. When guys off the bench step up and when Christian and Jordan step up, it's huge for us. They're very capable of that. Without them, we can't win.
Cody Zeller: It's great. The guys that we have on this team are great as far as everyone is humble, no one's -- there's no jealousy at all, which makes us a tough team to beat just because we're such a close group. Whether it's me that has 20 or Will or Jordan or anyone else, it doesn't really matter to any of us, as long as we win.
Q. For any of you, I think it was 60-52 coming out of the under eight timeout and obviously a lot of people were kind of thinking about the game at home. What was it that just allowed you to close the game out. You hit them with a five-point burst and they called timeout and from there you just kind of had control.
Q. For Victor, you spent a lot of time on Brandon Paul tonight. He was 2-13. Just talk about the job that you did on him to help your teammates and the pride you take defending the other team's best player.
Q. For Christian, what's the season been like for you as the team's added so many new players, so much young talent?
Q. Cody, in the first half it seemed like for a time the ball got into you in the paint almost every single possession. How much of a priority was that in this game?
Victor Oladipo: It was huge. By watching film we know that when we do that we can excel on both ends of the floor. So they're a good team and we know they're going to make tough shots, so we were just trying to run it down on the other end as fast as we can to change the tempo of the game, because we like going up-and-down. Q. Victor, talk about Jordan [Hulls], he only had two points, but he played a really good defensive game. Talk about the role that he played. And also couple words about [Will] Sheehey coming off the bench going 4-4.
Victor Oladipo: Jordan, he went 0-2, but he had a great defensive game and he also had seven assists. So he helped us win. He does a great job of that. He's one of our leaders, he's one of our seniors, and he's very capable of changing the game as well with points. When we can win and he only has what? Two points and seven assists? It just shows how deep our team is and how capable he is of still playing defense at this time.
And Will Sheehey, he's just Will Sheehey. He's a sparkplug. He comes off the bench and he plays defense. He makes tough shots and he rebounds. He's one of our leaders as well. So when they play at a high level, our team plays at a high level.
Q. For any of you, what did you do better defensively? What did you feel better about just in terms of just game plan today?
We had a lot of deflections, which is always a big key for us. I thought we were just active. The beauty of that is it leads into our offense I thought it really got our offense going.
Q. Same question I had for Victor [Oladipo] and Cody [Zeller], obviously those guys have been the subject of a lot of headlines, but how important are the veterans on this team, guys like Christian [Watford] and Jordan [Hulls] in terms of the success y'all have had?
We have been in the top percentages of offense the entire year and we have been anywhere in the top-20 with the defense. I don't think that happens if you don't have a team committed to both. I think it showed again today in five guys in double figures, Jordan Hulls with seven assists, no turnovers inside the game with tough assignments, great looks. Jeremy Hollowell coming in and playing solid, Remy Abell playing, making some big plays, Will Sheehey we consider a starter and he played that way. So I don't think it's anything uncharacteristic for us.
Q. Your ball reversal today and also having that rudder of Jordan [Hulls] to where he's not scoring, but he doesn't get frustrated and try to press.
There's certain things we want to get early, there's certain things we want to get late, but everything in between is about that ball spraying all over the court and reversing, being reversed.
Q. What specifically were you doing on defense? It seemed like you were really blitzing the ball screens and getting your bigs out very aggressively.
Q. Almost regardless of what happens going forward you're probably going to be the only team in the country on Selection Sunday with at least nine Top-50 wins and no losses outside of the Top-50. Do you think that's enough to where you've already secured a No. 1 seed regardless of what happens tomorrow or Sunday?
Q. You talked about the defensive effort in particular. What did rebounding do for you guys? I think you controlled the boards most of the game, you finished plus 12 in that regard. How important was that?
So rebounding is a huge part of that. We kept stressing it all week, we had 53 rebounds in the Michigan game and if we only get 52 we might have lost the game. So every one of those rebounds matter. I think our guys really, really understand how important rebounding on both ends are and specifically how important guard rebounding is.
Q. What did you guys do so much better this time than the first meeting in getting Cody [Zeller] established?
And we didn't start the game great. Eight of their first 11 were off turnovers. So we went back through and as we did after that game and we watched the beginning of the game and we watched the end of the game, but we watched the 30, 35 things, clips where we really did go a great job. Because you don't get in games against these high level opponents without doing a lot of really good things.
So our guys understand fully and when we don't get away from it, we're really good. Where the ball needs to go early, middle, late.
Q. Do you feel like that the Big Ten obviously would be the best conference of the year, do you feel like eight teams is a possibility for them for the NCAA?
So I don't think there's any question that Iowa and Minnesota are highly deserving of being in that. The other ones are probably pretty much givens.
Q. Jordan [Hulls] hasn't been known for his defense that much. But today he did a terrific job on D.J. Richardson. It was a big turned around from the first game. Talk about how important that late development is.
And in the first game against us they both, they were, I believe, 14 of 29. And today we were able to hold them to 4-23. That's the story of the game. It's not just one person, when I look at this and how this is Victor's [Oladipo] second straight double double and Jordan has the seven assists and Cody [Zeller] and Will [Sheehey] and all these different guys, but it's a team. It's team defense.
I think that there's some individual matchups, certainly, but when that ball's being penetrated, it is team defense and I thought our guys did a really good job of that.
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