Previewing No. 20/20 Indiana at Purdue Head Coach Tom Crean, along with assistant coach Tim Buckley, freshman Cody Zeller and juniors Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston, preview the Hoosiers's game at Purdue.
"Purdue is an extremely talented team with quite a few proven winners. They have great leadership on the court and are always in attack mode."
"They are extremely effective on offense because they take care of the ball and get excellent penetration and it's a team full of very good shooters."
"Defensively, you have to be prepared to handle their pressure, switching and the overall physicality of the game."
"Every league game is being played at such a high level, they are all played like a rivalry game. The coaches and players in the Big Ten all understand the importance of each conference game, and I wouldn't expect anything different tomorrow night."
"Purdue has different ways they double the post. They really try to keep you guessing on coverage. We have to be a great passing team Saturday."
On Thursday's practice:
"I loved our resolve in practice today. It's always important to have hard line and high-level competition. Our start at Michigan was so uncharacteristic of us. This will be a real battle of movement and spacing against Purdue."
On Verdell Jones III:
"A decision on Verdell's playing status won't be made until the day of the game. He is receiving treatment on his right shoulder (bruised) and we will have a better idea about his ability to play then. Verdell is experienced enough that we need to allow him to get better so he can be game ready."
On challenges Purdue will present:
"I would say they are probably as physical of a team as we're going to play on the offensive and defensive end. I think they can play a couple of different ways. They can play with a bigger lineup or they can go smaller and of late they've tended to go smaller with (Robbie) Hummel at the center position and (D.J.) Byrd at the power forward so they have a versatile team. They run motion offense very well. They play well together and we know it's going to a very competitive environment."
On playing physical:
"Well we've proven that we can do it so we can obviously go back to that and point to those things. Secondly I would say that it's a mindset. You've got to feel like you have to be aggressive, intense, but you have to be under control. You can't overreact to situations physically. Lastly, the way we've practiced the last couple of days, we've really tried to prepare for that. We know it's coming. We obviously have veteran guys who've played there before so they understand what that'll be like."
On Purdue's smaller lineup:
"They're able to stretch the defense a little bit more because that puts their center in position to shoot threes, which Hummel has been very good at over his career. D.J. Byrd's another perimeter guy, even though he can defend bigger players and he's another guy that he's shooting 45 percent from three so I would say it stretches your defense a little bit, which allows them to shoot the three, but it also allows them to get in the paint with penetration."
Freshman Cody Zeller
On having veterans to lean on for guidance:
"We don't worry too much about what year we are. It is nice on having veterans on the team that have played at Mackey and road games in the Big Ten. It will be a fun experience for me."
On playing against guys on other teams that he's played with in the past:
"I know a lot of people in the Big Ten, just from watching them on TV and playing against them. The same is with Purdue. A lot of things have changed since the last time I played them. It's been a year or more and they've all improved and changed their games a little bit. We just follow the scouting report that the coaches give us and go from there."
Junior Jordan Hulls
On how Purdue pressures the ball:
"We just have to take of the ball. There's nothing else to it and don't let them speed you up, just try to play your game, your speed and take care of the ball."
On getting a win at Purdue:
"It's definitely a big game, but every game in the Big Ten is huge for us. Any road win that we can get would be really good for us. It's just something that we have to try and get done. We've been working on it at practice. We just treat every game the same way and once it's in Big Ten, every game is basically a rivalry game."
On giving advice to the freshmen on playing late in the season:
"Just don't lose that edge that you started with at the beginning of the season. I know the season is a lot longer than high school, but you've just to keep fighting through it. I think all of our freshmen have dealt with it pretty well."
Junior Derek Elston
On facing a smaller line-up:
"We did address that in practice, but no matter what line-up they put in there, we've got pretty skilled, big men with pretty big wingspans, so we know if we have our hands up and stay active - (Purdue) spreading us out is going to feel like the zone is still packed in just because we're so long, so we're going to use that to our advantage."
On the start of the Michigan game:
"I feel like we just rushed in the beginning and a lot of guys just weren't playing their game. We let the defense kind of dictate what was going on and after a timeout, Coach just kept saying that we've got to keep playing our game no matter what and don't let them speed us up and keep playing IU basketball. It got to a point where we kept climbing back in and I think in the beginning we were just trying to make that homerun play when we just needed a single."