"First off that was one of the most incredible atmospheres I have ever been a part of as an assistant coach or a head coach. Our fans never cease to amaze me that was an awesome, awesome environment. Everyone was there, they were standing up, and they were in their seats when the game started. That's one of the greatest things our recruits in the stand s and our players can see. That's what we are trying to get built here on a daily basis. That was awesome.
"There were definitely some good things in this game for us. We proved that when we came out and we were aggressive, and we were confident and we moved the basketball so we could make plays. I have to look at our progress in two lights. Number one: where it was a year ago and number two: where it is from week to week. There's no question that it's a much different mentality all the way across the board from a year ago. There's no question that our improvement continues to show up with us, but at the same time, there's absolutely no question that we have a long, long way to go to be as competitive on a daily and nightly basis that we need to be. It's an overhaul and we just got to continue to get through that, but I love the spirit and mentality of our young guys. I love our team's attitude, they were locked in.
"We are making progress. We didn't make progress nearly good enough on the back boards. We weren't nearly good enough with our guard rebounding. When you are playing against a team that has the size and strength of Kentucky, which is a rarity, you've got to do a much better job of keeping them off of the glass. The guards have got to come in and get the rebounds. We did not do a very good job of that.
"Both teams were having trouble with awareness. Iin the first half we shot 60 percent, I think they shot 57 or 58 percent. Whatever it was, it didn't matter what defense we were in, we were a day late and a dollar short on our close outs and we moved on the catch rather that the pass. It does not matter what defense you are in, you cannot be late. We allowed too much confidence, to happen. When we were following our gameplan, when we were adjusting to them, we were doing some very good things. When we gave up open shots and when we gave them rebounds and second chance points, we weren't doing as many good things and that's the stuff that we have to continue to learn. Physical growth and maturity will help with that.
"We have to have an incredible amount of fight every time we play. That's a hurting locker room. When you lose, you don't want to see it be any different than that. A year ago we played at Kentucky, it was a stunned locker room, this year we play Kentucky, it's a hurt locker room. That's progress to me as well."
On philosophy of recruiting one and done players:
"I think each case is different, no matter what. I don't think you can pigeon hole it or stereo type it in any way. Frankly, I'm not for that rule the way it is right now. I have never been. I am not for one year. I think it should have never changed. If it was going to change, it should have gone up a little more than that.
"Again, I wouldn't say I'm opposed to having to deal with it inside of the rule the way they have it now. I certainly hope in a period of time it changes. It's just a personal philosophy. That's part of the element of recruiting right now. There are a lot of things that go into that, and there's a lot of people and voices and a lot of different things, but you have to be able to navigate the waters and do the best that you can, but at the same time never get away from the values and ideals that you want in your program. It would never be a situation where we would make a habit of it at Indiana, we aren't going to do that at Indiana, and we have to build it for the long haul as much as we can."
On being up in the first half and then we go on the 18 and nothing run:
"We worked hard in the transition. That was the fastest team that I have ever personally coached against; we didn't do a great job on that. We were not as aggressive defensively. Then we settled for some shots. I think it was more the defense more than anything else. We have to create points off of our defense. We're not going to score well enough against size and athleticism, like that if we're not getting some turnovers and easy baskets."
On continuing to fight in the second quarter:
"We did continue to fight, they just made some runs on us. Maurice Creek is a high level player. He played a high level game."
"We got beat on the back boards, pure and simple."
On progress of team:
"I think it's pretty clear cut we have (made progress). They are a great team to coach. They are an excellent group of young men. They are making huge improvements. Some of the things we have to learn and grow in. It's the defense, pass, ball pressure, it's just the ability to rebound the ball. You literally have to have, when you are not as big, and not as strong, and all those different things, you have to have a "gang rebounding" mentality, all five have to rebound. Wall is a great rebounder. We have to get boards as we grow this team. It felt like a big game though. Last year, I'm not so sure, this year it felt like a big game."
University of Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
"I was so happy that Indiana came out and just tried to run us off the floor, made every shot, and played with unbelievable energy. I knew Tom [Crean] would have them ready to go. He's not a good coach, he's a great coach. How about this [Maurice] Creek kid? We've played a lot of good teams, and he's as good as any player we've played. That's how you start to build a program, you get guys like him and Christian [Watford]. The game was a little physical for Christian, but he still made basketball plays. You guys all know I'm a big fan of Tom and how he does things.
"The one thing I will tell you is that they are just as young as we are. They're just as young. He's done a better job of coaching them, in that they are where they're supposed to be defensively. They don't break down. I watched a lot of tape. This game, for us to win in that fashion, we played well. I just want to tell the people of Indiana that we aren't better than that. That's like a February effort. We only turned it over 13 times. I had one guy [Eric Bledsoe] go for six, but I told him after the game that if he played that well I'll take your six turnovers."
On the Kentucky rebounding edge
"We're bigger than them. It's what we are and they got in a little foul trouble. We're a big team. At halftime, I came in, and there were four 50-50 hustle plays we didn't make. I pointed out each guy. If we get those 50-50 balls, we got a little breathing room and because we didn't, it's a close game. Then I looked at the stats and I said our job is to make it hard for them in the second half because they may come out and shoot 70 percent in the second half, but let's just make it hard. They shot, in the first half, 63 percent, 62 percent from three, and 100 percent from the foul line and we're up one. Well, guess what, we played well too, and that's why we we're up one."
On the Kentucky defense in the second half
"Creek was so good, all we said was don't even worry about playing anybody, don't help, and just play him. Then the first play of the half, Eric [Bledsoe] left him and gave him three. I said, `Did I even talk at halftime or were you not listening?' The rest of the half he said he was going to make it hard on the kid. We left the post to step up and help on Rivers, and you can't do that because he throws that pocket pass as well as any player in the country. Our goal was to not give them breakout baskets."
On Eric Bledsoe's play
"I'm just happy for him. He hasn't played with any kind of aggressiveness or assertiveness, almost a casual game at times in the last two weeks. Part of that is because he's been injured. When he went up to dunk that ball, you don't understand how happy I was. Then I saw him limp, and that's why I took him out. He's been probably 80 percent on that one leg for the last three weeks and he's playing through it."
On how Kentucky handled the environment
"We did great. I know you all think I'm crazy and that I just say stuff. Them coming out of the gate and trying to punch us in the mouth was the best thing for our team and for us to learn what we were. How did we respond to it? I thought DeMarcus [Cousins] was gassed early in the game because he's still trying to figure out how to get ready for a ballgame. He was probably too hyped, and when you're too hyped your energy goes quickly. Then I look at some of the other guys. Eric Bledsoe wanted to make a statement today and he certainly made it."