Indiana vs. Michigan
December 31, 2009
Coach Tom Crean
"This was a game that, for so many reasons, we wanted to leave it feeling good about themselves. The great thing about it is that they weren't going to feel good about it without a win, and they got it, and they earned it. I thought they had very good poise under pressure. Don Fischer mentioned something that I didn't realize, we had one turnover in the last 24 minutes of the game. Our whole mindset going into this game was that we are going to have to play with great toughness. We were going to have to have great conditioning and hopefully it would pay off this game. We were going to have to play with tremendous intelligence and for the most part we did that. Because when you are playing Michigan, you are playing against a team that has as good a passing game as there is in the Big Ten conference.
"I know the big deal I made about Zack Novak the past three days and people were looking at me like I had three heads, but he moves without the basketball as good as anyone in our league. He got us a couple of times in the press, but fortunately we were reacting a lot better to him. When you play really good teams, you have to come with all those mindsets I talked about: the toughness, the conditioning and certainly the intelligence.
"We had a lot of good basketball from a lot of different people. Whoever went in the game today, it was positive. We matched down with them numerous times throughout the game, which is probably going to have to happen throughout the year, just like we may go big certain times throughout the year. Lack of minutes for Derek Elston or someone like that, was nothing against them whatsoever, it was just the matchups in the game. You can't do that if your guards don't rebound, and fortunately our guard rebounded.
"Our fans were so great. Before the game, in 11 years as a head coach and probably all the years as an assistant coach, I had an opportunity to do something that I had never done before. I had the ability to have Pam Morgan, Maurice Creek's mom, give a pregame talk since Maurice couldn't be here. I'm surprised I didn't have bloodshot eyes when I got out there; I held it together when I got out there. We had a lot of former players in our room and that was by design. To have her come in and speak from the heart to the team, not only about Maurice's situation, but how she felt about Maurice being with us, you could have heard a pin drop. But then once it was closed they charged out. A lot of good things happened for us today. We played a very good team and we are going to see them again in a couple of weeks. We just want to continue to improve."
On team being inspired by Maurice Creek:
"They like Maurice. It's one thing, there are 18, 19 points, the minutes and the deflections and the defense abilities, all of those aren't there, that's relatively obvious. The thing that's not as obvious is how they feel about him off the court. That's what that is more than anything. The last thing you can do as coaches try to get them to play on the emotion, but there is going to be enough emotion without the coach trying to provide it. It could have gone either way with adding Pam. I love Maurice`s family. She was caught off guard, but I felt it was something we needed to do. It was a risk, but the reward was far greater in my mind, even if we had gotten off to a poor start by having her out there. It was totally impromptu and those are the best things. We just need to continue to improve. We have spent a lot of time on that the last couple of days."
On being in bonus early in the second half:
"That was major. It helped tremendously. Our goal is to be in the bonus at the 12 minute mark of each half. In my time as a head coach, we haven't lost many games when we are in the bonus at the 12 minute mark of each half.
"We don't want to try to outshoot Michigan. When you do that, you play right into their hands. That's what happened to us last year; we tried to outshoot Michigan when we got the lead. We can't do that. We have to keep playing our game. We thought there were some things we could get and we did. Next time we play them, we will have to find a different way if they close some of those holes up. Just like we will hopefully close some holes up. It will be a different type of game.
"We wanted to drive and attack. We wanted to be in a free-throw game situation where we could get to the line. We tell the players a lot, there is nothing like a set defense that is coming after a made basket. That's the best kind of defense. The more we could put the ball in the hole whether it was a layup or shot or most importantly a free throw, the more we could set up or defense.
On playing guards:
"We have to play that way weather Maurice was in there or not. We have to get guard rebounds. We are not big enough to just come down and play and think that we are going to out-rebound people just because of our size. Our guards need to continue to play complete games."
On poise of Jordan Hulls:
"Everyone in the state of Indiana knows what he's capable of. He has the tenacity that he has on defense. It's certainly an added bonus at his age. Not only is he smart, not only is he quick, not only can he really shoot the ball, but when you get rebounds like that and you are defending people, he's been so well coached. We have great confidence with the ball being in his hands, and most importantly his teammates do as well."
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
"Indiana did a great job today of getting us in foul trouble. It was a very well officiated game, by the way, but they got us in foul trouble. It put some of our guys on the bench in the first half and they were able to take advantage of that. That may be the record for a time my team has been in the one-and-one 16 minutes into the first half and it was a well officiated game, a very well officiated game."
On what got them in foul trouble:
"Some of them were our reaching and grabbing. There were a couple of over-hustle types of things where just think about this for a second, the ball's a long ways away from you. I know you want to work hard, but you can't run through some people because we really don't foul that much. They're quick at some positions. (Jeremiah) Rivers did a great job of putting everybody in help defense all the time, where our close-outs and things like that gave them some angles where we fouled. Our hands were way out. I hope the games are called consistently like this all year long because that's how I actually want it to be called. We just have to adapt. I'd rather have that than the situation where it's a wrestling match out there and no fouls are called."
On key players in foul trouble:
"That certainly hurt us. I was really proud of our two Indiana kids though. They had struggled at different points this year. To have them back, Manny (Harris) and Deshawn (Sims) will be back and be able to play more minutes and be more effective, but having those two back certainly gives them some space to operate."
On the difference between Indiana this season compared to last season:
"I think they really have some poise out there. (Jeremiah) Rivers is in his fourth year of college. He's been at a Final Four. He's been around, so he's got great poise out there. Coach Crean had a young backcourt last year. We still have a young backcourt. It's really difficult and I see that's a big difference for them. (Christian) Watford is just tough to stop, plus he makes his foul shots. You get a lot of kids that are 6'9 and they're freshmen, they can do some things, but he can not only score the ball, he can get to the foul line."
On the Michigan defense:
"I want the game to be officiated like it is. We fouled three jump shooters. We've spoken to them about that. To lose that game, I think, will teach us very valuable lessons about the little things. This is Big Ten basketball. This is the way it's going to be every night when you're at home or on the road."
On the three point shooting:
"Zack (Novak) got off to a hot start and I think Stu (Douglass) got one as well. Unfortunately no one else could find the range. We hung around, but I looked at it, and those two guys are shooting the ball well, but we still shot 32 percent as a team. We're not going to win if we do that. We've just got to keep working. I saw today that we drove the ball. When you're guarded you've got to drive it. We drove it a couple of times instead of settling for a three."
On Indiana's shooting success:
"(Devan) Dumes did the same thing to us last year. He's a very, very good shooter. (Jordan) Hulls can really shoot. Were they going to have (Maurice) Creek, Dumes, and Hulls all out there at the same time? I don't know if they've done that before. They probably would too, but he picked up right where Creek left off. They certainly miss Creek because he can score in a lot of different ways. It was a great win for them especially under the circumstances that they went through this week."