Men's Basketball

    Tom Crean Talks About Northwestern

    Go Hoosiers! Head Coach Tom Crean
    Go Hoosiers!
    Head Coach Tom Crean
    Go Hoosiers!

    Jan. 8, 2011

    Tom Crean Podcast | Tom Crean Video

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana men's basketball head coach Tom Crean met with members of the media on Saturday, Jan. 8, to discuss the Hoosiers' game at Northwestern on Sunday. Here is a transcript of what he had to say. For complete audio and video, click on the links above.

    On the challenges the team will face against Northwestern:
    "First off, you have to throw out the game on Thursday night, that's not them. Illinois played outstanding and didn't miss shots. Northwestern missed shots they usually make so we're not going to spend a lot of time on that game. We know we're going to get a great game from them. We know they're going to be very hungry at home and they're going to want to come out and redeem themselves, as do we. I think that's what's most important."

    On the team having to focus on defense:
    "I don't think there's any question of that and I don't know if you can ever just guard those guys one way because no matter what you think you know, they know it so much more and they've got an answer for everything. It's not only the system, certainly it's the personnel that's inside of that system so we've got to be really, really locked into what their strengths are. They have their team strengths and they all have their individual strengths. We have to know both equally well."

    On facing another excellent shooter in John Shurna:
    "Yes and he's not alone. You've got a freshman in Cobb that took 19 shots. You've got Drew Crawford who leads them in shot attempts. You've got Michael Thompson who's one of the better guards not only in the league, but in the country for doing exactly what needs to be done. He is playing at a high level and making shots.



    "Again, you can't go up there and focus on one individual player. That's the strength of this league, it really is. I think that's why it's the best league in the country. No matter who you play, it's never like you're just getting ready for two or three guys. Everybody's got a leading scorer and everybody's got a second leading scorer, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's their only two or three guys. We've got to be locked into their team and judging from last year we've got to know what's coming off the bench. They have five men that can shoot 3's. They have point guards that can post up. It's a very unique team and you've got to be locked into that."

    On how the practices have gone this week:
    "They've been very good, very upbeat. We've mixed them in the sense of what we're trying to get accomplished. Some have been very game-plan oriented and some have been very oriented towards what we're trying to get better at, but they've been good."

    On the team needing discipline on defense against Northwestern:
    "Well we have to have discipline, but you can't have paralysis by analysis during the game either because that'll get you. They're a quick moving team. The teams that have been a part of that system for so long, and I think Bill's (Carmody) group does this as good as any in the country, they never stop cutting hard ever and they never stop reading their cuts. They're really not a multiple offense team. They're going to run those things and they're going to put a couple of variations in there and you have to deal with it. At the same time, they have certain things they're going to do with the shot clock.

    "There's an individual personality to each player and he knows how to get to that, in the sense of what they try to do. So you've got to be disciplined, but you have to have energy, you have to have some emotion. You don't have to be emotional, but you have to have some emotion going through this. You've got to be willing to defend every cut. Most importantly, you've got understand that this team, as strong as the cutting is, they shot 38 3's the other night at Illinois. They live on ball movement. It doesn't matter if it's the back-cut or the 3-point shot, you've got to be alert and aware."

    On if the team approaches road games better this year than in the past:
    "I think so. I think that's all part of it. I think anytime you're growing and you're maturing, I don't think there's any question. I thought our approach was good at Boston College and Kentucky and it's just continued to get better. I think that's a real sign of their maturity. They were highly confident the other night at Minnesota and a lot of times it showed, then other times when we didn't make the right plays, and again it goes back to that we can't build a hole for ourselves because we're not as good at getting out of that hole yet. Eventually we're going to learn to get through that, but we're not to that point yet. We need a breakthrough and hopefully it comes on Sunday."

    On what the team will take away from the game at Minnesota:
    "I think so, but I think that's more of the experience of them just going through it than any one thing that we would bring out. There are things that we need to get better at as a whole. There are things that when you point the numbers out to them or you show it to them on the video and they see it, now they have to do a better job of seeing it during the game.

    "As we keep telling these guys right now, when you first start you learn to pass, you learn to shoot, you learn to dribble. Then you go down the line and you start learn that rebounding really matters and that certainly playing defense really matters. Well you better understand that one of the greatest fundamentals that you can have is the ability to make adjustments and we've got to be able to make better adjustments during the game. Adjustments are communication, it's knowledge of the game, it's energy. There's all those different things that fit into adjustments and the game never plays it's way out the way you would expect it to for either team and a lot of times the old saying that the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins, well the teams that makes the best adjustments on players during the game during the course of action. We're trying to get them to really understand that.

    "You've got to make adjustments on the fly and it can't just be when the coach calls time-out and it can't just be from a coach, it's got to be from the players inside of the game. That's why having conversations, those hundreds of conversations that you need to have in the course of a game, that's what communication is. It's not just watch the pick or ball-screen left, it's the conversations you need to have and we need to do a better job of that."

    On if it's been tougher to develop that in the past with lack of upperclassmen: "Oh without a doubt because you're not talking to people that have any idea what you're talking about and it doesn't get reinforced when they go into the locker room. It's not because they don't want to, they just don't necessarily know how to because they didn't have it handed down to them. So that was part of it, but we're starting to grow through that.

    "The guys that we are asking to do that, again, they didn't have that come to them so they've got to understand that this is the only way it can be done. That's why you point out what other teams do. You point out what other successful sports do. You show them those things as much as possible. It's never just one thing."


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