BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head men's basketball coach Tom Crean and freshman Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell preview the Hoosiers' game on Sunday, Feb. 10 at No. 10/10 Ohio State.
Tom Crean, Indiana Head Coach On Ohio State:
"They are physically as tough as any team that we would have faced at this point, especially at home and they are a spurt team, they are a big run team. They start fast at home a lot of times and you've got to weather those storms. The crowd is fantastic, they are right there on top of you. It'll be an unbelievable atmosphere and we've just got to stay truly committed to what's important. You can't get caught up in the surroundings as much as you stay true to the game plan inside of it. They are excellent on the defensive end. They can score a lot of different ways. If I had to pin one thing, it's how well they rebound, especially offensively outside of just their overall team on the defensive end."
On Deshaun Thomas:
"He's a scorer. He's got a scorer's mentality. He's big. He gets it off extremely quick. He can play at the post. He's extremely dangerous at the mid-post area, in the pick-and-pop, the 3-point shooting game - he's just an all-around scorer. There's not a way around that, so you've got to guard him individually, but at same time, you've got to have your whole team locked into him. Last year, we came off of Lenzelle Smith to double Jared Sullinger and it cost us. But you couldn't guard Sullinger with just one person. It's the same thing - you've got to have great schemes. We can't come off anybody, but we've got to be really locked in to how hard we're working on Thomas and how aggressive we are in making it tough for him."
On film of the last few minutes of Illinois that can be applied moving forward:
"I think it's what they absorb. I think they saw it quickly, that we got out to what had been working. The key is that, and Tim Buckley said it best, you play at Indiana, you get a ton of offensive freedom. But at the same time, when it's time to win the game, winning the game and time and score situation override any of that. We didn't always do that. It wasn't like they were bad shots, but we didn't play time and score the way that we needed to. And my first reaction was as much time as we spend on that, there's no excuse for it. But then you realize when you get back home and you realize - you know what that's where we're at and we've got to fix it. It's so much of what the games are about. We went through it on film. We reiterated it numerous times through some of our work and it's just getting these guys to be more and more comfortable in those situations and you've got to be able to change speeds with the ball - that's part of being a good ball-handler. And you've got to be able to change speeds in the game. Well, you've got to be able to change speeds mentality-wise and sometimes when you're going really fast and you're playing fast, you've got to really understand the time and score element of it and we didn't do a great job of that."
On Aaron Craft:
"He gets into your body. He's got quick feet, quick hands. He's very physical. He's extremely physical on the ball. He gets up in to you. He uses his hands very well. His athleticism is very unique with the foot speed and his hand speed."
On getting back at it after a close loss:
"We went a little more physical a day after a game in a two-day situation than we usually do, but it was good that we did that. We had a good long meeting and it was from a spirit of let's get better. Like I tell them, we're going to be good, it's not about bouncing back - it's about making sure that you're getting better. If you spend a lot of time bouncing back and worrying about your mentality, then all of a sudden that cuts into your preparation. That cuts into what you need to do to win the game. We've been really good with it. They were really down the other night and we knew that we had some squandered opportunities. We also said that there's a lot of different things you can look at - but nobody cares. We don't get to take our excuse book with us. It's part of being with young men. Some of these guys are younger than others, obviously in their experience in they are all 18-22 year olds and things go on. So you have to be able to deal with that accordingly when you get into the game. That's where the togetherness really comes in. The other night, the togetherness and execution - when it was really good, it was really good. And we did some really good things, but when it wasn't, it cost us. At the end, it didn't trump the pressure of the game and we've got to be better at that."
Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell On what the team learned from Thursday's game:
"Stick to our game plan, especially on defense. I know I messed up a couple times, coming out of the corners when (D.J.) Richardson hit the two big 3's, so it's the defense really. Offensively, we should have reversed the ball more. I feel like I could have helped in getting the ball inside to Cody (Zeller) and Christian (Watford). Every time we get fouled, we go to the line. Cody and Christian shoot great from the line, probably the best two in the country."
On getting better after Thursday's game:
"Just learning really. Watching film and coming together, we just have to learn how to close games out. We've known that because we've been in tough games. I feel like now we have a good feel of what we need to do offensively and defensively to win games."
On balancing the flow of the offense when making a point to get the ball to the post:
"We just have to look inside. I feel like when Cody gets the ball and they come double, there's always going to be someone else open so he can just pass the ball out. But when no one does come double, he can score. I think that's the simplest solution."