Coach Crean Discusses Saturday's Game Against Kentucky
Dec. 11, 2009
Indiana head coach Tom Crean met with the media on Friday to talk about the Hoosiers' game on Saturday against No. 4 Kentucky.
Head Coach Tom Crean
"And that's what we have to continue to do, we have to continue to improve as we go on and continue to learn all the facets of winning. And again, when you're trying to learn the facets of winning, you have to learn what causes you to lose. So obviously, the other night it was great to get a win like that inside of that great arena and against an excellent basketball team, excellent program and we want to continue to build on that.
"And playing Kentucky, not only is it a rivalry game, not only is it an excellent basketball program, but they do a lot of things very, very well. Our margin for error is very small tomorrow, and we have to continue to understand that. Our improvement is part of understanding that right now. You're never going to play a perfect game, you're never going to play mistake free, that's obvious, but you've got to cut down on the unforced errors, you've got to cut down on the mistakes that you make, you've got to continue to understand game plans, continue to understand the strengths of that team, and their strengths are plenty.
"So we've got to do an excellent job of locking in to their team, especially when it comes to transition defense. They have an outside-inside game, they obviously have a guy in John Wall that can dominate a game from both ends of the floor with his quickness and ability to make decisions and get in the lane and make shots.
"They do a lot of good things, John [Calipari]'s team last year at Memphis was the number one field goal percentage defense team in the country, and they are well on their way to becoming that way at Kentucky. We've just got to do an excellent job of understanding what we're trying to do, and at the end of the day play really hard with a lot of passion and a lot of energy."
On how to combat Kentucky's offense:
On how the Pitt win has changed practice:
On how the players have handled the success:
"We just so happen to be playing against one of the best teams in the country. There's not a lot of time to focus on individual aspects of our team right now, it's more how do we get ready for this game. Tomorrow's game is not the measuring stick of our season, it's the next step of the season. The season has got so much that goes into it.
"But I'm anxious to see how we respond and how we play in front of this crowd, it will be a big deal for us too. It's not just their first road game, but these kids' first CBS game like this and it'll be a great environment on a Saturday afternoon, it's a big rivalry game. But we're far more focused on what their strengths are and what we want to try to do to negate some of those."
On how hard it is to get a young team to ignore the hype of Kentucky:
"I want them to be confident, but if we're not prepared mentally and physically, we could get embarrassed in a hurry. They're really, really good, really talented. And we have to understand that. We have to be really solid. We have to learn over a period of time - it started with Maryland - when you're playing against really good players that have a lot of things that they do, they have to understand we're not just here to take away one or two or three things. If we're going to be good, we're going to grow the foundation of the program, we've got to really understand it. So when you're young, we throw a lot of things at them, but that's the way that it is."
On what makes John Wall special:
On keeping the IU-Kentucky games at campus sites instead of neutral sites:
On how to handle Patrick Patterson:
On whether the players who played UK last year have talked to the freshmen about this year's game:
On his friendship with Coach Calipari:
"I learned a lot especially when we competed against him early on in Conference USA. But he's never gotten the credit he deserves for how great a coach he is. Say what you want, but the man can absolutely coach basketball and make players better. He's got great charisma. I met him maybe when I was at Western Kentucky or Michigan State.
"I always respected how hard his teams played at UMass. John's one of those guys who is always good to young coaches because he was one once. I don't want it to sound like he's ancient and I'm a kid. But he was really, really good. I've helped him get to know certain people in other sports, and he's helped me get to know guys like Larry Brown and Mike Woodson and Isiah [Thomas] even before I was the coach here. John really helps coaches and our friendship is one that I really value. But even if we didn't have it, there's a lot to learn from him."
On whether the player-led aspect of the team has carried over from Tuesday:
"This program was built on preparation. When you start thinking about basketball preparation, you're probably going to put Bob Knight at the head of it, not to take anything away from anybody else. That's part of the staple of this program.
"We're trying to do the same thing. They have a lot to learn. We're throwing a lot at them. Anybody thinks that we can have a couple things we do on offense and one we do on defense, we can't do that. We're not built like that, we're too young, we're not good enough to do that. We've just got to continue to learn what it takes."
On the challenges that John Wall presents for a defense:
On whether he is hoping for an "assist" from the crowd:
On the win against Pitt on Tuesday:
On talking to the guys about last year's game in Lexington
On practice this week after the win on Tuesday:
"Coach brought us back down to earth pretty quick after the win. He came in the next day and it's almost like we haven't done anything. We got after it hard again."
On that win giving the team a new sense of confidence:
On playing against Eric Bledsoe and Demarcus Cousins prior to college:
On Kentucky as a team:
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