BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana associate head men's basketball coach Steve McClain, along with sophomore Cody Zeller and senior Jordan Hulls preview the Hoosiers' game vs. Butler in Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, Dec. 15, in the Close the Gap Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.
Steve McClain, Associate Head Coach On what kind of problems Butler presents:
"I think there is no question the addition of (Rotnei) Clark and (Kellen) Dunham makes you look at them as a team that has two great perimeter players. What we have spent a lot of time on the last couple days is figuring out how to get through their set - the good ones and the moving ones - and how to navigate all those different angles that they come from with the screens they set.
"You look at their record and they are off to a great start. The two losses they have were tough games and they have some big wins along the way like the North Carolina game in Maui.
"The team he has this year reminds me of the teams he had three or four years ago."
On how to integrate Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin into the game:
"I think it will be a `game feel'. I think coach has that in his mind of how they can be used. A lot of guys get to have their first game be against Coppin State, not Butler. It will be a `game feel' to give you the best answer I can."
On whether the game will have a "Big Ten" feel to it with the physical play:
"There is no question they are a physical team. They use their hands and they use their legs in the post. It will have a Big Ten feel to it."
On the challenges of playing the first game after exam week:
"I don't think this game you feel it as much as maybe the next three. Tomorrow most of the guys get done so it is like a normal week when we play on Saturday. I think that really comes into play the next three where they come back to campus and everyone else has gone home for Christmas but they are still here.
"But as hard as our guys work in the classroom, and Marni can attest to this, and study hall at night and the demands that go with that, it is a good feeling. They will have accomplished what they wanted to accomplish what they wanted to academically and now the just get to focus on basketball for a little while."
On whether it helps that both Indiana and Butler have played a common opponent (North Carolina):
"I wouldn't say that I looked at that game any more than I looked at any other game they have played. They have a good basketball team and that's what you see when you watch on tape. (Khyle) Marshall has just been a monster for them lately. (Andrew) Smith is coming off tying his career high at Northwestern and he had eight offensive rebounds. I think they are a team that is getting a good feel for themselves right now."
On the different dynamic that Perea and Jurkin bring to the team:
"Peter and Hanner are two different guys. Peter brings length and shot blocking while Hanner is a shot blocker that can also step out on the perimeter and guard a perimeter player with his length. They are both kids that can rebound at a high level on both ends of the court, and yet are both very skilled. They bring a lot, but now it just comes back to how much can they play in that game."
Jordan Hulls On the opportunity to have four state schools competing in one tournament:
"It's a pretty cool experience to have other teams from Indiana and go in and play an event like that. We've got a lot of good basketball teams in the state so to be able to play against good competition and represent the state of Indiana is pretty special."
On approaching this next set of games with classes not in session:
"I think it gives us a chance to focus more on basketball. Without school it is going to be a little bit easier to do so. We can go to the gym, go home, sleep, get your food and then get back at it the next day. I've just got to help the younger guys understand that. Although it is break we still need to be on top of our diets and all that stuff."
On coming off games with long layoffs in between:
"It helps us out a lot, working on different things that we saw in film that needed work. It gives us a longer period to do so, and to prepare for our next opponent it gives us a longer period to do that, that is good as well. We just have to take advantage of it and coach is doing a good job of preparing us."
Cody Zeller On being from Indiana and playing in this showcase of Indiana teams:
"It is pretty neat just because the best teams in Indiana will be playing there. The fans will get to see Indiana kids on all four teams. I think it is special for the players, as well as the fans."
On playing the next set of games while on a break from school:
"It is a little bit different just because we won't have our regular routine with classes. We are still going to be focused the same and they will probably keep the practice schedule the same. We try to keep things as normal as possible but we are going to come out and play every game like we have been and see if we can get more wins."
On more time in between games over the last couple of weeks:
"It helps a lot because we can work on our own stuff. We can get back to some of the basics that we might have gotten away from playing so many games. I think all of us are more fresh than if we had to play games every two or three days. I think it helps in a lot of different aspects."