IU Coach Tom Crean Talks Minnesota
Jan. 16, 2010
Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean
On the death of University of Southern Indiana men's basketball player Jeron Lewis:
"In terms of Minnesota, they are one of the best defensive teams in the league, there is no doubt about that. They have tremendous experience and they have a great combination of energy, toughness and athleticism. We are going to have to play a very good game. They are doing an excellent job of causing turnovers and they are outstanding on the offensive glass, all of the hustle things.
And not to mention guys like Blake Hoffarber and Lawrence Westbrook that can really score and Al Nolen that can really score and get to the rim. The whole group is really good and I think the fact that they have had a couple tough games just shows how tough this league really is. But we are going to have to be very good at taking care of the basketball and on the backboards. Our decision making and athleticism will be challenged tomorrow, because the energy and toughness that they play with.
We have had a couple of good days. We didn't do a lot yesterday with a Thursday-Sunday turnaround. We try to make sure these guys get a chance to recuperate a little bit. We had a very good practice today and our energy is good and we are anxious to play."
On what makes Minnesota's pressure so difficult:
"I think it is a combination of their length and athleticism and then the fact that they have guys that have done it and they know what (head coach Tubby Smith) wants in that press now. If you look at their press and defense now compared to a year ago, you can just see that it is better. Damien Johnson is all over the place in the statistics - steals, blocks, offensive rebounds - all of the hustle plays. Now you have (Paul Carter) and (Devron Bostick) who can do those things. (Ralph Sampson III) and (Colton Iverson) are just a load because they get people open and they rebound the ball. We are going to have to be really good blocking out tomorrow. And we have to be that way all the time in this league, but Minnesota will really bring that out."
On the struggles behind the three-point line recently and whether that forces a team to try to work inside-out:
"The other night (at Michigan), we played very hard. Even going back to the film, watching the game didn't do it justice to the film. We really battled them. But Manny Harris got going around the 11 or 12 minute mark and then at the 6:30 mark it all just changed for us. And then our gameplan broke down on both ends of the floor. We still have to be able to space the floor and take comfortable open shots. And we still have to be able to set our defense, and to set our defense we have to make baskets and get fouled and get offensive rebounds. Those are the areas that we have to continue to improve upon."
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