BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head men's basketball coach Tom Crean, along with juniors Jordan Hull and Derek Elston, preview the Hoosiers' game vs. Iowa in Assembly Hall on Sunday, Jan. 29.
"Well our focus the last couple of days has certainly been just making sure that we understand where we played well the other day and what we have to shore up, and at the same time just keep building on what we've been doing because we've been doing some very good things. The fact that we've held teams under 40 percent gives us something to shoot for. We know that's going to be a real challenge tomorrow with Iowa and our whole focus has been on getting ready for that team. They're a hard preparation because they do a lot of different things. They have a very good system, but they also have a lot really good players and they do different things defensively. They do a lot of different things offensively. They've had some guys step up as of late and play extremely well. Guys like Zach McCabe and Roy Devyn Marble are continuing to play better and better all the time. We have a lot of respect for how they play. They are a tough team and a team that is physical and a team that we have not played that well against the last couple of years. So we are really focused on it. The guys are excited to play and we're looking for just a phenomenal, phenomenal crowd in here tomorrow."
On defending Zach McCabe:
"He's one of the better guys in the league without the basketball and that means that he can score a lot of different ways. I think the statistic that shows that is in the first 16 games - he shot 21 free throws. In the last six games, he shot 21 free throws. It shows his aggressiveness. He's always been and an excellent rebounder and he can shoot 3's. He can post up - tremendous, tremendous back-cut player, slip player, very good on their out-of-bounds plays. Just an excellent passer - he's a very good all-around player. I think most people that had any awareness of Zack McCabe, like we did, knew he was going to be a very good player. They've done an outstanding job for them."
On Roy Devyn Marble:
"Marble's got the ball in his hands a lot. He leads them in field goal attempts over the last five games, so he's very aggressive offensively. He wants to get to basket - very, very hard to keep out of the lane. He does an excellent job - it's the length, it's all that length. I think he can see over people. He's hard to trap. But the bottom line is that he's playing with a lot of confidence from what I see on film."
On the last step to closing out the game:
"I think we've had those steps. Against Ohio State, we closed it out defensively. Against Kentucky, we closed it out offensively and even though we had our chances inside of that game, we've done it and we've also lost a couple of games where we did not close it out on offense or defense. Really, what happens is that you can look back at the last two minutes, minute and a half of a lot of games right now as of late where the mistakes are magnified. But the bottom line is that if you do a better job inside of the game and you keep stringing three stops in a row and you have good possessions, even if the shot doesn't go, you have good possessions, not empty possessions - I think that's what it is more than anything else. I think you can get too caught up in how you finish and not caught up enough in the middle parts of the game, the timeout parts of the game, execution and those four-point swings that come out on a dead ball situation on a TV timeout or a timeout that's called. There's so many parts of the game. At the end of the day, this league epitomizes possession-by-possession basketball. You just want to shore up some of the things, you want to keep eliminating the mistakes."
Junior Jordan Hulls
On what has caused IU to struggle against Iowa the last couple years and why this year could be different:
"This is a new team and a new year. But the last couple years they have out-toughed us here and at their place. So we need to get back to playing our game with our defensive intensity and edge that we need to have."
On the key to holding the last three teams under 40 percent field goal shooting:
"We have been communicating very well, had good ball pressure and been in the passing lanes - just doing the things we need to do. And I think the intensity overall has been a lot better and the way it needs to be and how it was early in the season. That is the way we are going to win ballgames."
Junior Derek Elston
On the physical nature of the games against Iowa in the past:
"A lot of the times with practice last year, especially before the games against Iowa, we made sure to bruise each other up a little a couple days before because we know that their big guys like to crash the boards. We know that they are going to go (to the boards) every time so that's all we have been working on in practice is rebounding so we can get that toughness back that we need."
On defending Melsahn Basabe and what makes him such a threat:
"I would say his quickness. He is the kind of guy that likes to set screens and slip those screens a lot. If we don't communicate, it becomes easy for him to find the open spot and be in the right place at the right time. This year, we have to have a lot more communication and every one needs to be in the right spot on help-side. He is one of their main guys and we have to make sure he is one of our focal points in this game if we want to win."