Feb. 22, 2011
Press Conference Video | Podcast
Indiana head coach Tom Crean met with members of the media to discuss Wednesday night's game in Assembly Hall against Purdue.
Here's some of what he had to say:
"I think we're really excited to play. I don't have any doubt about that. I think our fans are. I think we already have people (camping outside the entrance), right? That's what I heard so I think that's fantastic. That's great for Indiana because we want to get that to be where it's like that a lot as times goes. But I think everybody understands that we're not only playing an in-state school, we're not only playing a program that has a great rivalry with Indiana, but we're also playing one of the best teams in the country. I don't think there is any doubt.
"There's probably not a hotter team based on last week, but at the same time it's that way for a reason because they are outstanding on the defensive end. They make everything very hard to come by. They play great pressure defense. They can clean up things in the middle certainly if anyone gets beat because of the shot blocking ability of JaJuan Johnson. On the offensive end, they know who is supposed to shoot and when and they do an excellent job of utilizing their strengths and they put their guys in a position to succeed. They play a great inside-out game and everybody outside of JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore and even Lewis Jackson because he has certainly emerged as that mainstay. He's playing the pickup role very well. They complement each other very well so there's no question they have an outstanding team and one that is one of the best in the country. And we know that we are going to have to play at a very high level at both ends of the court and I think our guys are excited to do that."
On the early practice the day after Saturday's game against Northwestern:
"Again, I think it's how you utilize it and it was a matter of coming in here and really making sure that we understand what we have to get better at and how it's measured daily in the sense of you have to practice, but the intangibles are the biggest difference. It's the emotion you play with. It's the ability to play through mistakes. It's the ability to help each other through a mistake. It's the ability to understand time and score and possession-by-possession and we just need to get that. It could happen again tomorrow. You just never know. You have to get it reconfigured every once in a while.
"I think they responded very well and I think they're prepared. I think they're working on that preparation and they continue to work on it and I hope that they all understand that this is a tremendous opportunity for them. The challenge speaks for itself but the opportunity is what they're going to create or not create and that's what I'm looking forward to seeing."
On how to correct the things that need to be corrected on the court:
"You can go back to the game the other day and we were our own worst enemy at times. We missed some shots and we missed some foul shots. And when we were getting momentum, a mistake is made and they hit a big shot. (Northwestern) has great players. They don't put a guy on the court that can't make a shot, but that makes it that much harder. You can't have slippage when you are playing against guys that can make a play at any given point in time. We never did a good enough job the other day of keeping momentum. Six different times during the game we three stops in a row and you usually don't lose a game when you have that happen. We haven't lost a lot of games when we have had that so it's a pretty good measuring stick for us. That and the deflections. There are a lot of things to correct, but when you have a lot of emotion, and I don't mean "emotional", I mean when you have a lot of emotion and when you have that spirit of toughness and grinding things out it can make up for a lot of things.
"Let's face it, we are going to have to make some shots (against Purdue). We are going against one of the best defensive teams in the country. We have to make shots and they don't make it easy to get those."
On having Christian this game against Purdue after not having him in the first meeting:
"I think it could change it in a big way because its another guy they have to put some attention on. They have to put the attention on him on the perimeter and in the post. I think it helps with our athleticism and it helps us around the bucket. He has to rebound the ball, and certainly that has not been anything that he has done yet coming back from that injury but it's time tomorrow night to really establish that and get rebounds. And he needs to guard better but I have confidence in his defense. He will have some tough matchups tomorrow night but we have to be in a situation where we utilize him and I think he's ready for that."
On guarding JaJuan Johnson:
"I think you are constantly going to have different players guarding their best players because you can't just guard them one-on-one, especially in the post. So you are going to have different rotations and inside of that, people are going to get matched up with different people. But this is not a team, nor is anyone for us, where you can just think we are going to play one way (defensively). We have to be able mix it up and our guys have to be alert enough to do that. I am sure that at some point in time Christian will be matched up against Johnson."
On the importance of the Indiana-Purdue rivalry and his view of it from a distance while at Marquette:
"I think you have to go through it and I think I will understand it more when we are back and forth a little bit more. That day is coming and hopefully it will be tomorrow night but we haven't had that yet. We have had some good games. We were right there last year but a couple of defensive mistakes hurt us late in that game and they made us pay for our mistakes. That's what good teams do. I know it is a huge game, rivalry-wise, but I am so locked in to what they do and how they play and what we have to do to take some of that away more than anything else."