Indiana vs. St. Joseph
November 9, 2009 Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean
"First off after three very hard driving tedious days of practice, we really wanted to try to challenge these guys to play fast, to play at a high level, to play defensively very active. We always have three or four things we really want to focus on inside of a game. Today we got some game planning into that, but at the front of it were the better decisions we made, the quicker the pace we can play at a consistent level. If we can't play at a fast pace at a fast level, we can't make good decisions. Certainly we don't have the experience to understand that yet. That's why these games are so invaluable to get that game experience for these guys. You really want to take steps from game one to game two, but more important, as a coach I was anxious to see how they would respond after three long days. Because that is entirely how we set it up. Two weeks from now, we will have played our fifth regular season game. You are not in a situation when you can play three out of four days in exhibition games, so you have to be able to make the practices feel as much like that as possible. I thought our guys did that.
"I was frankly a bit surprised at how well they ran throughout the game. But again, when you have people playing at a fast level and you can go to the bench and those people can continue that pace and they will continue to work defensively, then you have a chance to do that. The players are learning that the more they push it, the faster they play, the more we will play that way. If it backs off, then you can't play as many people. I have no intention as a coach of backing off and I don't think they have intentions of that as players. Certainly we know the level of competition will continue to go up. We have to really learn how to compete at our level and at our pace. I am looking forward to how we build on that.
"I was shocked last week and still am when we come out in an exhibition game and see a crowd like this. To me this was like a mid-season crowd. Their energy level was high. I think they are having fun watching us. I think it is important to continue our stamina. We are going to make a ton of mistakes, but when I say we are on the upswing, that's what I am talking about. I don't know where it is going to lead. Neither do you, neither do they, neither do the guys in that locker room. . They are working at a very hard rate, they are getting tougher. Like I said last night in our media conference, they are starting to learn this competition thing is really for real. You really do have to come and bring it every day. You might have a bad day, but you are not going to have two bad days in a row and see yourself in that lineup. That's what we are trying to get across.
"There's absolutely no reason to not have a sell out on here on Friday night. I really hope we do. I hope the students that haven't been here yet get in there. I hope the fans that have bought the tickets make sure they are here and the ones that are coming are reminding people that Indiana is coming back and we need everyone of them to be a part of it."
On envisioning team running so much:
"We envisioned it with Jeremiah Rivers, there's no doubt about it. We saw flashes of that last year. We didn't see it when he came. I'm not very worried about our recruiting right now, in a sense, and I want to sign some really good players. It's not about the early signing period, it's not about the late signing period. We are in a hole and we have to prove that we are going to get out of that hole. And one of the things we have to prove is that we are going to be a fun, fast-paced, get-after-it, and get-up-and-down that court, solid team at Indiana. It's important for recruits to be able to watch that. So I don't get overly worked up about that, and I know you didn't ask that, but I think that the point I am making is that when Jeremiah Rivers is playing at that speed, when these guys are getting out and playing that way, it's showing a sign of things to come. I want recruits to be able to see that. That's why it's so important to have every game on television like we do and to get them into the crowd. When kids pick up the paper they are seeing a box score. Are we going to have to win some games 60 to 39? Yes, that's just the way it is. When we can learn to play at a fast pace, it's going to help us.
"We knew we were recruiting for speed, we knew we were recruiting for versatility; we knew we were recruiting for more athleticism. But again, if guys aren't smart and tough, you are going to get limited real fast. That's what we have to find out, how smart can we be, if the competition level rises up, how tough we can be day in and day out. That's where we don't have the experience or the bodies or the physicality to have anything to hang our hat on with that yet. That's what we have to continue to learn to go through. But we have no intentions of backing off."
On transition defense in first game, how well it went tonight:
"I was upset, but I was more upset with myself. Because obviously I am not demanding enough in practice. We weren't demanding enough in practice. Our transition defense wasn't being challenged enough. That's changed the last few days as well. We spent more time on transition offense and defense than anything else that we did. We didn't run a lot of set plays tonight. Some of the ones we ran, we weren't very effective with. We have spent maybe 5 percent ofg our practice times on these types of things the last three days. When you have a team like this, you have to take it in segments. It's not weekly segments, it's not biweekly segments, its everyday and you look at it from one game to the next. What are we accomplishing inside of these three days? Every day is as valuable for us as a young team. I think they got better with the transition."
On flexibility with roster:
"I think that what we've been trying to gear towards. That's what we want to continue to recruit for. I've never really been enamored with being a coach who has to play seven or eight guys. Sometimes you are forced to, sometimes foul trouble dictates that. I said this about Bawa, I don't think we are in a position right now where we can look at it and say ok, we are so good here that we can redshirt this guy. I don't think we are there. We will get there in time, but like any successful program, but I don't think we are there right now. We have to sell out every day and have guys understand the more competitive we are in practice, the better we will play in games."
Saint Joseph's Head Coach Richard Davis
On his overall thoughts on Indiana
"They were very good. They are better than they were last year. They are a lot more athletic too, with the addition of Rivers and Watford. Those guys are good, and Creek played well tonight too. They can still step up and clean up some things, but they've got a good team. They play hard and they play together, and that's the biggest thing."
On what Indiana did to control the game
"They have 6'6, 6'5, 6'9 wing players, and we are 6'3, 6'4, 6'5 at our best. They are longer and more athletic than we are. They are Big Ten athletes and they are Big Ten athletes for a reason. I take my hat off to my guys though. We played hard tonight. We played our butts off and that's what I told them. Come out and play hard, and whatever the outcome is, it is. Their pressure defensively and their athleticism were definitely factors. When we would get by guys, there would be a seven footer waiting in the lane."