Talking About Illinois
Jan. 24, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head coach Tom Crean previews Sunday's game against Illinois. The game starts at 3 p.m. ET and will be televised on BTN.
On Will Sheehey's status:
On how the team has developed since the Big Ten opener at Illinois:
"With the exception of Saturday (against Northwestern), when you are not making shots and your confidence starts to go, it is amazing how much more fatigued you can look in those situations. When you are making shots and having success, it's amazing how much energy you can have. I think our guys have to understand that it doesn't have anything to do with that. Your energy and ability to play through things has to remain a constant, no matter what is going on with your own personal game or shooting or how much of a grind it is. You have to be able to play through it. That's an area that we have to continue to improve upon. But I think we have made a lot of strides in a majority of areas since we played Illinois the first time."
On what he sees from Illinois:
"They are still a very veteran group, there is no question about that. They do a great job of getting to the basket. They have had some tough shooting nights, like many teams in this league can have. Because of those veterans and the abilty of guys like Bertrand and Abrams and then what Ekey is capable of, especially the way he shot it last night. We know Rayvonte Rice, after having a tough night last night, is going to come in full of energy and intensity. I think they are just a product of this league. You have to make shots in this league and they are hard to get, they are very, very hard to get. There are a lot of different ways to play and there are a lot of different styles inside of a game, no matter what your style of play is, it is always going to be different because of the other team and it is going to change throughout the game.
"But I think they are a veteran group. I think they are going to come in with a ton of excitement and energy. I think we are going to get their very best and I hope they get our very best."
On what Rayvonte Rice did well in the first meeting this season:
"Bottom line is, the other thing (Rice) has is that it is hard to come off his teammates because Bertrand is capable of making shots; Ekey is a tremendous shooter; Tracy Abrams is a guy that can get to the rim and make shots; Kendrick Nunn is playing better. So to me, he really over-powered us at times getting to the rim."
On how the team can improve on making layups:
"For us, so many times it has been taking one more dribble. We had a couple of tough shots at the basket the other day. The one thing you can't do is throw the ball at the rim or the backboard and hope that it goes in. We had a couple of those moves in that span in the second half where Michigan State was getting a bunch of great looks and we were taking a couple of tough ones. Our intention was good; our intention of getting to the basket was good, but the fundamental of making the shot or making the next pass wasn't as good. We have to out-grow that. That is youth and inexperience to be honest with you. It is really nothing more than that.
"As far as the layups, we work harder and harder on that. A guy like Stan Robinson is one that has to make the crane layup instead of always looking for the contact that comes with it. And then at other times, you have to be able to play through the layup. Really, we concentrate on the fundamentals as much as possible on that, nothing has changed on that from the beginning of the season. Now it is just a matter of `Do I have a layup?' or `Do I need to pump fake?' or "Do I need to take one more dribble?' or "Do I need to go get it on the other side?' And I think what happens is, because of the length and athleticism in this league, it is a lot easier said than done. Every situation is different. We are no different than other teams in this league, and I just make a point of it because it is what has hurt us some.
"We are the same team that made a ton of layups and close shots in the Wisconsin game a little over a week ago. But it is all part of the game and all you can do is continue to build their skills and help them build their concentration."
On what Stan Robinson and Troy Williams has improved upon this season:
"What Stanford Robinson has been is a guy that has continued to develop his skills. He has continued to develop the ability to go both ways. He has a very natural instinct at being able to get to the basket. He is improving his shot. He is improving at not playing in tight spaces, which is where a lot of his turnovers came. Or they come from not pounding the dribble and turning it into a drive versus just dribbling the basketball and using a crossover as part of his game instead of a weapon. I think the next thing that we can see from him is continuing to have improved decision-making on the court. He has to make his close shots and layups. If it's a clean layup, take it. If it's contact, take the contact and make the play to get to the foul line with confidence.
"Both of them need to really keep being on the glass, offensively and defensively, because that is always going to be a big part of their responsibility and a big part of their game."
On each game in the Big Ten being a new challenge:
"I think that is what the Big Ten is all about. You never know what play is going to win it for you, just like you never know which one is going to lose it for you. That's why you have to put some much into every possession. At the same time, you want to be able to run and play the way you want to play. When you look around, maybe a lot of the other leagues are having conversations about poor shots and finishing through contact but that is a topic in our league right now. They are hard to get, they are harder to make and they stand out when you don't get them. I think that is the epitome of the league. It is so close and so closely contested - look at the end of the Penn State-Nebraska game last night. We have only had one game (home vs. Michigan State) where it didn't come down to one or two possessions, win or lose. You have to have confidence; you have to have energy; you have to be able to play through your mistakes. So much of it in this league is being able to have a short memory and move on and not live in the last success or the last failure. You just have to move forward. And I think that is what will withstand it over a period of time in this league."
On having three former Division I head coaches on staff with the addition of Rob Judson as Director of Operations:
Expanding on "taking one more dribble or getting a better angle":
"To me, it is the `straight ahead' where you can really see it. When you are coming down the lane and you are either changing hands or changing direction without changing hands, you are trying to get by the defender and you are so concerned about making the move that you forget to take one more dribble to get a better angle. So the dribble is like the backboard. The dribble and the backboard are really synonymous with creating an angle. Take one more dribble to get to the glass. Take one more dribble to give yourself a better angle at the rim. When you try to finesse it or finger roll it or throw it up or get the contact rather than make the layup, you usually are not going to be successful. You might be successful 15 or 20 percent of the time.
"When you play it as fundamentally sounds as much as you possibly can, and take that extra dribble and use the glass the proper way, I think we have to pump fake more inside and we are working on that, then you have a much better chance. What you have in us the last two and a half years is we have led the BCS in free throw attempts. I think we have had a lot of success around the basket; even when the shot didn't go in, we drew the foul. Sometimes I think that's where a pump fake with this team will help a little bit. Frankly, we are not as strong as we have been the last couple years of playing through that contact because we are just not there yet. Our bodies have not matured to that point yet, but they will. So in the meantime, you have to be in a situation where you give yourself every opportunity to make the basket."
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