Men's Basketball

    Talking about Northwestern

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    Jan. 17, 2014

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana Hoosiers (12-5, 2-2 Big Ten) host the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday in Assembly Hall. The game starts at 2:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Big Ten Network. Head Coach Tom Crean and assistant coach Kenny Johnson met with the media on Friday to preview the game. Below is a partial transcript.

    Head Coach Tom Crean

    Talking about Northwestern:
    "Northwestern is extremely well coached. Chris Collins has been a fantastic coach for a long time. He has a great staff and they have a lot of veteran players. Drew Crawford is a fifth year senior. JerShon Cobb is back, Alex Olah is one of the most improved players. They have added a couple of guys to go with their veterans. They play excellent defense and can do numerous things, they can be in man, they can be in zone, they can press, they run a ton of great sets."

    "They know how to win and they have proven that with the Illinois win. We have a heck of a task with this team, there is no question about that. We have to have great focus and I'm concerned about that. I'm concerned with a young group, are we going to have the focus that we have had the last couple of games. What they need to understand is that there is nothing that is not a tremendous challenge in this league. When you have success or have failure you have to learn from it and move right on and that is what we are looking for in this game."

    Assistant Coach Kenny Johnson

    Opening statement:
    "Northwestern comes in two days removed from their big home win against Illinois and based on how they performed early in that first half against Michigan St., it shows the newfound emphasis they have on their defensive intensity. And attention to detail is going to come and present a challenge, not only to us, but for the rest of the year in the Big Ten. These guys are focused on packing it in and causing teams to have low field goal percentage on their offensive end. They're doing a good job of moving the basketball. They've dealt with a little bit of adversity with their starting point guard (Dave) Sobolewski being out for the past couple games, but you never know whether he's going to be in or out on Saturday. Their focus seems to be at an all-time high. We're looking forward to a good challenge on Saturday."



    What's different when JerShon Cobb is running the point as opposed to Sobolewski?
    "Well, he's been really impressive handling the basketball. I think that Sobolewski is one of the leading assist guys in the league, so he does a good job of spreading the ball around. Cobb is always someone who's dangerous when he has the ball in his hands. So that presents an additional challenge because he's not waiting on the basketball to get to his hands. (Tre) Demps is still coming off the bench as instant offense for them and (Drew) Crawford has been leading the league all year long. So I think Cobb has done a decent job at spreading the ball around, but him, with his ability to score, especially shooting jump shots off the dribble; having the ball early, what we call "drag screens" early, ball screens that they're running, they become a little bit more dangerous with him handling the basketball."

    What does Northwestern do well on defense?
    "They're a very good help-side defensive basketball team. They're a team that hopes to force teams into relying on shooting from the perimeter. They've been packing it in, but more than packing it in, they've done a good job of playing without fouling. You'll get into the paint and they'll wall-up on you. They'll make sure that they're in defensive rebounding position. And in tradition of what coach Collins has done at Duke, they're a great defensive communicating team, so they've been doing a good job of helping each other out."

    On play of Stanford Robinson:
    "Early in the year when he got injured, that set him back a month, not only with the conditioning, but with the fundamentals. Anytime you have a player of his youth missing a month of time, we didn't hit the pause button, we kept moving forward so he had to get up to speed. He had to go through his reps and fundamentals."

    "We talk about Noah Vonleh and his age, his 18th birthday on the 24th, Stanford's was July 11th, so he is still a young basketball player, physically, and is still maturing. He has a world of potential, but he has a long way to go. I think the success he has had has a lot to do with him buying into the philosophy and his teammates doing a good job of using his skillset and him realizing who he is currently as a basketball player, while continuing to develop and work hard in practice every day. He is someone who has maintained a humble spirit and realized he has a long way to go. The competitiveness and pride he has taken in the program is what has led him to have some success on the court."


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