Men's Basketball

    Talking About No. 5/4 Michigan State

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    Jan. 3, 2014

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head Coach Tom Creanmet with the media on Friday to talk about tomorrow's Big Ten home opener against No. 5/4 Michigan State. The game starts at 2 p.m. ET and will be televised on CBS.

    Opening Statement
    "Michigan State is playing with great confidence. You can see it in the way that they play and the way that they are with each other, and they should be. They have one of the best teams in the country and I think they are playing even better than they were early in the season when they were the number one team in the country.

    "I don't know their health and all that stuff - they all look pretty healthy to me - but what I see is great transition offense. They are tremendous at rebounding the ball. This is a team that you have to be incredibly good at the beginning and at the end of every possession. It's not just the beginning and end of the game, that's obvious. But the beginning and end of each possession with the way that they run and the way they rebound.

    "Their help defense is as good as any team's in the country. I think some of that is because they have such great experience. They are really on a string with each other offensively and defensively because of how long they have been together. They are very similar to where we were a year ago with a high-level sophomore in Gary Harris and a seniors and juniors that really know how to play and how reliable they are on young guys for key roles. They can come in and spell the vets a little bit.

    "We have to come out with great youthful enthusiasm. We have to have tremendous consistency in our approach and the way we talk. And then we just have to be locked in to every possession. It is going to be a challenge, a great challenge, especially when you are dealing with a team that is as confident as (Michigan State) is.



    "When you look at the statistics (for Michigan State), there is no deviating from that on video. They are that good. They can score inside. They can score outside. They can score from 3-point range. They can score on the break. They can score at the end of the clock. Their ability to run and rebound is tremendous. It is going to be a great atmosphere, there's no question about that, and our guys are ready and anxious to play. We are trying to learn on the fly as quick as we possibly can."

    On Adrien Payne's development and impact:
    "There are so many players on the court for them that can play. They are rarely putting anyone out there that can't make shots. So that helps. You can't build your defense around stopping him, because then they are going to carve you up with 3-pointers. You can't go out and over-pressure because then they are going to go around you. Denzel Valentine and Branden Dawson are both very hard matchups, so now you are talking about a guy like Payne. He is one of the most elite matchups in the country because he can post, play at the foul line, drive it and shoot 3's, not to mention rebound and defend.

    "When you have a guy like that, who really made those strides offensively a year ago, he becomes that much harder to guard. So your help defense and ability to guard the first dribble...those things are crucial. You can't just let them come down and play how they want to play, because they are going to beat pretty much everyone if you do that."

    On the team responding to adversity early in the season:
    "I think we have responded to everything. It would be silly for me to stand here and say that we have an understanding of what this takes. We have some guys that do - and they are in different roles and their roles are continuing to expand in what they have to bring as players and leaders. I try to tell these guys `If you are waiting for experience, you are going to be waiting for a long time'. You have to get an understanding as quick as you possibly can. You have to understand the importance of each possession and what mistakes can do.

    "The other day, I kept trying to get to some matchups inside of the game (at Illinois). That is very hard for guys that have never looked at it that way to look at it as `Okay, we have to slow it down and go here.' We work on those things in practice but it is completely different inside the flow of the game. Where last year's team we would try to go to certain matchups and we just did it like it was breathing. Those things hit you that make you realize that we still have a long way to go.

    "I think it's in our decision making and some of our decisions are very indecisive. Some are just trying to make plays that aren't there. Some are going to fast. We just have to continue to get an understanding and that doesn't happen in a period of one or two games, it happens over a period of time. What you want is to make sure that you are responding every time, and I think we have done that. We didn't play with great intelligence against Illinois, but we played extremely hard for a long time.

    "We got our heads down way to quick against Syracuse and that was a loss. This loss the other day, our heads never got down inside of that game. If they would have, we would have lost in regulation. We are learning."

    On what worked well in the first half against Illinois:
    "Ball movement and body movement. Going through the paint on the pass and on the drive. That is how we want to play. In the biggest game we have had to date, we had the best ball movement with that. We are making progress, there is no question about that. But making progress in this league when everyone else is established where they are with veterans, that's where we have to continue to get that understanding of moving the ball and moving bodies.

    "There are a lot of great help defenses in this league. This is as good as any in what we will see tomorrow from Michigan State. If we play into their hands, we will have our hands full and a hard time scoring, shooting and posting. So you have to have constant ball movement and body movement. That is a direct indication of getting the open looks that we got against Illinois.

    "I thought our 3-point defense on a team (Illinois) that relied on getting to the rim on the 3-point line, was outstanding. Now, we gave up to many easy baskets in the lane and too many offensive rebounds and it cost us."

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