Jan. 30, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Head Coach Tom Crean met with members of the media on Friday to discuss Saturday's home matchup against Ohio State. Below is a link to the full audio from today's press confernce and below that is a partial transcript about what he had to say about Ohio State.
Head Coach Tom Crean
"The great news about playing a game like Northwestern the other night and the plus side is that we get a chance to look back at what we are supposed to look like - with intensity in so many ways. Our bench finally had that spirit and fire that we have come to expect from the teams that we have coached and exactly the way we want Indiana basketball and the players and staff on the bench to look. I know that upsets the referees once in a while but we are trying to get everything the way we want it to be. That was a great spirit there the other night. We made a lot of plays and we never flinched when we were down. But at the same time there was some poor execution. What we really focused on was the last ten and a half minutes of the game. We made some great plays and some great shots but we also had some opportunities where people ran at us to drive it or make the next pass or not relax on a screen.
"As I said the other night at Northwestern, they are so good now that if you make a mistake they are good enough to make you pay, pretty much every time. If you go under a handoff, they will knock down the three. If you don't give weakside help and you don't bump the cutter, it will be a layup. So that was a good tape for us to learn from. But I think our players have responded over the past two days.
"We had a great practice today and we know that tomorrow we are going against at team that is one of the more talented and tougher teams in this league. We did not come close to matching their energy or intensity when we played at Ohio State. They made too many shots and we made too many mistakes. We were tentative against their pressure and we did not attack their zone in the first half the way we should have and they got hot because we allowed them to. So there's no question in this game that we have to take our defense up not a step but two or three steps. We have to have great energy and intensity and that's what we are looking for and that's how we practiced.
"But it has not been a problem one bit to get this team to get better over the past two days. We were very shot with practice yesterday but I'm really happy with the way they continued to respond. And that's what we have to continue to focus on as we build for the games and as we build this program for the future."
On whether the team will watch the tape against Northwestern or the last meeting with Ohio State:
"They will see both. We spent a lot of time yesterday on Ohio State and then we spent time on us this afternoon before we started practice and then tonight and tomorrow we will continue to look at Ohio State. There's no question we will show our mistakes when they are made. And hopefully we will get to the point where that will bother them. That takes a while for that to kick in. Right now they are starting to hold each other accountable a little bit more. Not anywhere close to where it would and should be with a veteran team and where it will be. But it is still a lot better than what it was with the `I'm going to hold this guy responsible' a little bit and I like that. Not to the point where anyone is pointing fingers or getting chippy but I want a little combat in there. I don't want it just coming from the coaches, that's not how you build a great program. They have to go after one another and it's getting better.
On whether playing a team for the second time benefits a younger team:
"I don't know. It's hard to tell. I think the biggest thing for us is two-fold. We want to build on the things that we did well the other night and we want to correct some of things we didn't do well. We have to look at that film (from the first game against Ohio State) and say `this is not how we can remotely play,' especially at the start of the game. That was the game where we were so tentative against them and they thrived on it. But I don't expect that we are going to come out like that tomorrow. We are going to come out and have a battle-mentality because (Ohio State head coach) Thad Matta wil have them ready. And I also know that when you have good coaches like we do in this league, no one is going to overlook Indiana. They don't want to be the first and I know that and I've been down that road before. They are not going to let their team take it lightly and walk in here and they know they are going to have to play us. We need to do a better job of influencing how that game is played."
On whether the team has changed since Indiana last played Ohio State:
"There's no question about it. That's why this gets tough because we have been getting better every week. We have made considerable improvements since the Big Ten has started. That week after Lipscomb going into Iowa we made a lot of improvement. Now we've had some time where we have given it back. At Illinois and Ohio State we showed some of that but we're getting better with that. We went against a very good basketball team so it's not like we have any trouble getting our guys to be ready to play. There is nobody on our club overlooking anybody and we just keep pointing out how well they run their offense and how well they pressured on defense and our guys went in there and matched that for the most part.
"The lesson you learn from that is if you relax for a second against the best basketball teams, they are good enough to beat you on that possession. And Northwestern can beat you at any point during the shot clock because if you relax for a little bit they know how to find you and that's what we have to get better at."
On whether he expects anything different from Ohio State the second time:
"We expect that we will play them somewhat differently. They have some things that they do really, really well and they stick with them. When you are (Ohio State freshman center) B.J. Mullins off the bench, you have a lot of good things going for them. It is really a tribute to their coaches and player how well they have played without David Lighty, because he is one of the better players in our league.
"With that being said, (Jon) Diebler shoots the three as well as anybody in America. Evan Turner, you could make a case for him across the country not just the Big Ten, that he is one of the hardest matchups in the league. At his size he drives the ball so well and he is shooting a phenomenal amount of free throws. William Buford is not a freshman anymore, because like our guys, he has played a lot of quality minutes. Their point guard play is much improved and then you have (Dallas) Lauderdal and Mullins, who create havoc around the basket with scoring, rebounding and shot blocking. So I don't think they will make a lot of changes. I just think the biggest change we have to make is that we play with a lot more intensity than we did there."