Coach Crean Talk About Thursday's Game At Michigan
Jan. 13, 2010
Indiana head coach Tom Crean met with members of the media today to talk about tomorrow's game at Michigan.
Below is a full transcript:
"We've worked very hard. We took yesterday off, but we worked very hard on Sunday and Monday to not only game plan, but to continue to improve at all the aspects that we need, which is competition, which is people fighting for quality time. Really the biggest things for us, going on the road, with shooting you never know where that's going to be. You never know where foul trouble is going to be. You never know if you're going to make shots, if you're going to make threes, but you have to be able to go and make decisions. You have to defend, you have to put forth great effort in the rebounding area, you have to be able to get back on defense, and you have to be able to make decisions. We've got to get better at that area.
"There's no question, as a coach, I sense a lack of depth in the backcourt, certainly when you take Maurice (Creek) and Matt (Roth) out with what they bring. At the same time, our ability to make decisions and have decision-makers come off the bench, we can't have a problem there. There's not a guy on our team that doesn't need to get better making decisions with the basketball, whether it's a better angle on a pass, whether it's a stronger pass, whether it's the simple pass. It's a big part of our process on how we want to improve. Those are certainly the things that we've worked on.
"It's not our spacing, it's our recognition of spacing. It's our vision. There's a certain amount of `okay what are we going to do to get fouled,' because as we saw the other night that you can put your head down and just drive it and go hard to the rim and you're going to put a lot of pressure on the referees. We've still got to be able to make the next pass. We don't always have that quality of strength that you have to have to command that whistle.
"There's a lot of different dynamics that we're continuing to try to build and you go on the road, we have got to be able to make decisions. Our turnovers, especially at Ohio State, led to baskets. It's not just the points off turnovers, it's how they get them. It's the ability that you don't have to get back and make a stop because it was a turnover that nobody saw coming, an errant pass and they just picked it off and went to the other end. It's a game of easy baskets. The teams that get the most are the teams that win. The teams that give up the fewest are the teams that win on the other end. You get enough of them and you take them away from the other team, you've got a winning team no matter where you play. That's what we've got to keep getting across to these guys too, but again, that's where decisions come in."
On playing a road game against a team that they have previously defeated:
"I was thinking of this the other night watching Villanova and Louisville, and we're going to show some clips of this game. It was a tremendous comeback by Villanova. Two years ago, in the Big East, that was us at Marquette going to Villanova and getting that win. We went into a sold out atmosphere, a Big Monday atmosphere, and we won the game because we made the right decisions. We played hard, we created easy baskets, we got turnovers, we got a lot of scoring from different people, but our confidence was so high because our defense was so high. We didn't always have that. We had to grow into that. Now I look at Villanova, Scottie Reynolds is a senior, Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes are juniors. Now the freshmen that come in, they don't have to rely on them to make the big plays. They can add to the equation and that's what we've got to grow through. Those are the kind of perspective things. I'm sitting there telling my wife that I cannot wait until we're like that again. We're not like that yet. We've got to have something go right. Taking care of the basketball, getting back on defense, making sure that we understand what they want to do screening-wise, those are the things that we have to focus on more than how are we going to play on the road."
On playing Michigan twice before playing seven other Big Ten teams:
On the advantages of playing a team twice in a short period of time:
"The number one quality of any team, when it's all said and done, is could they execute under pressure and that's what we have to grow into. We have to learn how to do that. We've got to have more of a self-discipline on some of these decisions that we're making with the basketball. I know we're playing different lineups together and moving around different guys. I told Bawa (Muniru) this morning that I want him to be able to play in these games, but we're going against a four guard lineup. That makes it hard. I want to get Derek Elston more minutes, but again, you have to be able to guard on the other end and guard the matchups that you have. It's not as much what you do on the offensive end, it's who you're able to guard the other way. Zoning Michigan is a scary deal because of how well they shoot the ball."
On Derek Elston fitting into the rotation:
"There's a series of checkmarks that go into every player, into every game and it's not just one or two things. Matt Roth, last year, was a tremendous shooter for us, but he got better at different things throughout the season. So he had more checkmarks as you would go along. I coached Steve Novak at Marquette. He could shoot the ball. That was a pretty important checkmark, but by the end of the year, he could space, he could get some people open. There's a lot of different things you have to be able to do and that's where your depth comes from, it's consistency. We're not getting that as much in certain areas so we have to continue to find those. We could be playing totally different lineups against Minnesota and Penn State. It's just the way that it is.
"I think he's not real comfortable guarding the small, quicker small forward guys yet. Again, I say all this and I say it knowing that we look down the road in a year we won't be having this conversation because his body will be so much different, his speed and quickness will be high-level collegiate. He's a high-level athlete, but being a high-level collegiate defender, they all go through that. Christian (Watford) is getting better in that area. Maurice was leading us in deflections, but Maurice was just finally starting to figure out some of the angles that guys try to create and cutting those angles off and things of that nature. When you're going against four guards, at some point in time, you're going to be in a big switch game, especially with a team that spaces the floor like Michigan does. That's not his strong suit yet. Our zone has got to get better because we move on the catch too much and not on the pass enough. When the ball moves we don't move fast enough sometimes, but he rebounds the ball, he can score. I love having him on the court. He brings an energy, so there's going to be some points in time where we just have to let the game sort itself out."
"I'm not down on him at all. He's going to be an excellent player here. Really, going back to the Michigan game, it's just the matchups more than anything else. There's going to be a night where you're going to see three big kids out there, somebody at the small forward, but again, your matchups are not what you do on offense. Maybe 20 percent of the game, ok we're going to put a guy in for this reason, but it better be a real special situation. That's what Roth brought to the table, but 80 percent of the time it's about the defense. Who are they going to guard, what kind of schemes and rotations are you in, what is it going to do to the rest of our defense. We work hard at it every day and there's no question that he is."
On who has stepped up in practice of late:
On the guards filling the void for Maurice Creek and Matt Roth:
On when freshmen are no longer considered freshmen on the basketball court:
"I always worry about the wall, there are always a couple walls that guys go through. We are fighting that now. You don't address it with them, you just try to recognize it and help them through it and don't make a big deal about it."
On Tom Pritchard in the post and his activity compared to last year:
On how Pritchard is responding to competition in the post in practice from Bobby Capobianco:
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