Previewing No. 1/1 Indiana at No. 4/5 Michigan State Head coach Tom Crean, along with Jordan Hulls and Cody Zeller preview the Hoosiers' game at Michigan State.
Feb. 18, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head men's basketball coach Tom Crean, along with senior Jordan Hulls and sophomore Cody Zeller, preview the Hoosiers' game at No. 4/5 Michigan State on Tuesday, Feb. 19 in East Lansing.
Head Coach Tom Crean On how they have improved since the last meeting:
"Well I think they're playing with tremendous confidence, they had balance when they played against us, inside outside. I think they just keep getting better, the young guys are better. They are a lot like our team that they don't look like new freshmen, they're playing with a lot of confidence. I think (Denzel) Valentine's opportunities with (Travis) Trice being out have really helped their team. They have Trice who's a proven player, and that makes them that much better. I thought they were really good when we played them and I think they're really good now. There's no question that they're one of the best teams in the country because they have so much. They're very good in everything, there's nothing you can really look at them with and say we can play off this and we cannot worry about that. There's no place to catch a breath with them."
On how much Adreian Payne has grown this year:
"I think he's really grown a lot in his career there, certainly this year. You can tell he's a hard worker, you can tell he's in the gym with the ways he's added the 3-point shot. He's got a patience to his game it doesn't seem like he rushes. Tremendous anticipation of rebounding and blocking shots. There's no question you have to guard him 22, 23 feet off the rim. When you have a player like that with the decision making that he makes, it makes it that much more dangerous. No question he is an extremely improved player. I said as much to him after the game knowing a guy like that in that program, he's going to keep getting better."
On Gary Harris' improvement:
"He's shooting unbelievable from 3, there's no question about that. He is an energizer for them with his 3-point shooting. I think in the last five games he's in the mid 50's and that's impressive. He's shooting tremendous from the foul line. He doesn't try to do what he doesn't do, he's very efficient, very solid, uses his athleticism the right way his strength. His shooting is tremendous; it's a huge factor for them and a challenge for us."
On the challenges of facing Keith Appling:
"You have to; we've been beaten by him before. He can do that, he's an elite guard. He can get in the lane, he can make 3's, and he's tremendous in the pick-and-roll. You give him an opportunity to split the pick-and-roll that what he wants. He's one of the better open floor players. He's got to earn his points; he's hit the ground a lot right now on his jump shots. To me we have to make sure that he earns those, that he earns those free throws. We're trying to play really solid defense and in a sense of we don't need any silly fouls on him because he is going to the ground so much when he shoots a jumper. So I think that's going to be key, that we have a great contain mentality on him without just a get all into him mentality. We want him to earn his points and we want to be able to do a great job on him without fouling but he does a lot of things for them, he's excellent."
On the Bresiln Center being the next hardest place to play other than Assembly:
"I wouldn't rank that, it's certainly one of them but there's a lot of great venues in this league and I would never single one out like that. I'll leave that to the players and other people but there's no question it's not only one of the best in the league, but also the country. They've got a great fan base, they've got great students, and the energy in the building, the music; just the pageantry of it is tremendous. We've got a lot of great buildings in this league that the fans are really passionate in."
On what he learned about defending them from the first game:
"There are a lot of things. There's nowhere you go into that game and say, they can't make baskets. We've got to be able to adjust inside of the game like we did here. We've got feel great about our plan but at the same time we've got to have a plan B and C. That's what we do because they are really good. I think the bottom line is that we can't be surprised with Payne is standing out at the 3-point line and had a legitimate shot to make it. Gary Harris shot the ball really well; he's been shooting the ball well against everybody all year but really since that game. I just think they're maturing, (Alex) Gauna has played some really good minutes, Matt Costello has been playing more. They're deeper; those are things where we'll have a better awareness of some of those guys inside. The biggest thing we've got to have to put a blanket phrase on it is awareness. They got some lobs against us. We got caught unaware at times, playing the ball too long. They take advantage of you, they're one of the best lob throwing teams in the country."
Jordan Hulls On how Michigan State has improved since the last meeting:
"Obviously, both teams are a lot better since the last time we met. They're shooting the ball really well right now; Harris is shooting the ball really well from the 3-point line. We just have to get back into transition and find the shooters and at the half court be able to execute our defensive game plan."
On what they have learned from the first game:
"Obviously we don't want the post guys to get deep post catches and we don't want Harris and their other shooters to get wide open looks, that's where they hurt us the most. We just have to do a good job of getting out front and staying attached."
On the key on stopping them from going on runs at home:
"It's tough to play anywhere in the Big Ten and obviously getting some experience and getting some wins on the road is going to help, but it's a great team and it's going to be a great matchup and we're excited to play in it. We can learn from those experiences."
On what it makes it tough to play there:
"It's loud and we've played in loud arenas before, but all the students are surrounding you on the court and it's a pretty cool atmosphere to play in."
Cody Zeller On defending the post for this game:
"Yes, (Derrick) Nix and Payne are both very talented and they're going to score at a pretty high percentage if you let them get the ball easily. You just have to fight to keep the ball out of their hands and do your work early."
On how different his experience will be from last:
"I'm sure it will be louder, I've seen plenty of good student sections. It should be fun, a fun environment to play in. We're always excited to play in big loud environments where they're cheering for us or against us."
On how much he's learned from last years' experience, and if he's watched tape:
"I watched it last year quite a bit, just because there are so many things that I can improve on but this year it's more recent games and
not going back to last year."
On what this game means as far as the rest of the year is concerned:
"It is a big game just because both of us are on top of the Big Ten. Every game is a big game in this league. There's hardly any room for error."