Men's Basketball

    Talking About the Crossroads Classic Against Notre Dame

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!

    Dec. 13, 2013

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head coach Tom Crean met with the media on Friday to talk about Saturday's game against Notre Dame at BankersLife Fieldhouse in Indianapolis as part of the Crossroads Classic. The game will tipoff at 3:15 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN.

    Here is a brief transcript of what Coach Crean had to say:

    On Notre Dame:
    "They are a preseason Top 25 team for one thing. I think they are 11th in the country in free throw percentage; they are a great 3-point shooting team; they put mid-80s on the board - although I know they didn't have great scoring the other night - but they are fully capable. They are always one of the better shooting teams in the country and I don't think this team is any different. What has happened now is, not only do you have the perimeter scoring but they have the post scoring with Garrick Sherman.

    "The thing about Notre Dame is that they are always an experienced, veteran group. They can put a freshman in like Demetrius Jackson or young players but they always have veterans that know how to play.

    "A lot of these guys we played against a couple years ago. Now, the guys on our roster now didn't play against them, but the Indiana program did. We only have a couple guys on the team that were a part of that game. But these guys that are at Notre Dame have been in big games like ours and so many other big games.

    "There is no doubt that we are going to get their best. I don't think there is any question about that. We will get their best effort, their best performance. We will get the most energy from them...the whole deal. We are going to have to be rock solid on both ends of the court to compete with this team."

    On the challenges that Notre Dame's four-guard lineup presents:
    "It's a great challenge because Pat Connaughton is one of the more dangerous players in the country, no matter what position he is playing. He can shoot the three at a high rate. In neutral site games over the past year, he shot 55 percent, so being away from home at a neutral site doesn't phase him.



    "But you have (Jerian) Grant and (Eric) Atkins and Demetrius Jackson now playing with a lot of confidence. Jackson is shooting 50 percent from 3-point range. When you have a bunch of shooters on the court, similar to what we did last year, you are going to get some open shots. Our job is to not allow those open shots and to make any shot they take a challenge and a struggle for them. But this is what we have a versatile lineup for and a guy like Jeremy (Hollowell) that can play multiple positions and guard multiple people. That's really going to get tested tomorrow."

    On what might be causing Notre Dame's struggles on the offensive end:
    "Well I can't speak for them. The other night, they just went against a great low post player that was fantastic. Grant isn't going to shoot like he did that night; he still got to the foul line a bunch. He is shooting 6.5 free throws per game. They got 21 attempts and they made 16 of them, so anytime you are getting to the foul line and you are Notre Dame, it's a pretty good bet they are going to make them, just like we are.

    "But I don't know if I can pinpoint some things that might be getting away from them. It's just like he said earlier this week, they are going to try to play like they did against Iowa - that was a pretty high-powered team that played against Iowa and it was a very fast game. Now, will they? That remains to be seen. The thing about Mike (Brey) and his teams is that he can play a lot of different ways. He can play multiple defenses or he can slow it down and go into his `burn offense' or he can play really fast. They have excellent transition. I think the other night they just didn't make shots, which to me, you can overanalyze it instead of seeing it for what it really is - they didn't make shots and they are fully capable of making those shots. We expect them to come out with great confidence tomorrow."

    On what is most important for Indiana against a guard-heavy team like Notre Dame:
    "Challenge shots. And we have to keep them off the foul line, there is no question about that. You really have to guard your man and keep your chest in front. We have to know what we are switching (on defense) and we have to know what we are not switching.

    "This is one of those times for a team away from home - a team that hasn't really been away from home much - that they can't get caught up or distracted by anything on the outside. They have to stay totally locked in to the communication that they have on the court and what the gameplan is.

    "But there is no question that Notre Dame has the comfortable feeling of knowing how to play away from home and really spacing the court. We can't relax. We can't be in a situation where we are giving them any confidence early by making shots. And at the same time, we have to come back at them and make them guard us."

    On Notre Dame using fewer guards when they play zone:
    "They can play zone when Connaughton is at the `4' as well. They can mix it up. They aren't playing a lot of guys. He played a lot of guys at Iowa, so maybe he will here. That remains to be seen but it's not going to change what we do. I think the best thing for us is, no matter what we are seeing - sometimes with a younger team, the more they are not thinking the better in the sense of just moving the ball. We have to move the ball, move bodies and get the ball reversed. Fly up the court and don't get caught up in `is it a 2-guard front?' or `is it a 1-guard front?' or `are they trapping?'...don't worry about that and just play. And then if we can figure something out to steal a bucket here or there, great. The biggest thing for us is we have to move the ball and keep the game moving and be able to get some runs to the glass. That way we have a chance to get some putback and maybe get to the foul line.

    "The bottom line is we haven't faced a team with this many good `range' offensive players. We have faced good teams like Syracuse and Connecticut, and Washington had scorers. But (Notre Dame) has perimeter scoring; they can get to the rim and at the same time, they have a forward that has been player of the week a couple times in their league and had multiple 20-point games."

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