Dec. 21, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head Coach Tom Crean met with the media on Monday to discuss the Hoosiers' meeting with Loyola Maryland at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
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Below is a full transcrip:
Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean
"I think one thing that we've tried to impress upon our team for tomorrow night's game with Loyola is that this will be one of the hardest playing teams that they will play at any point, there's no question about it. They're a team that's very well coached with Jim Patsos. He's tough, he's intense and he's a winner, having won a national championship at Maryland.
"It's very much a preparation like the Maryland game was for us. It's a team he's developed over a period of time. He's got some good Big East and ACC transfers that have come in and become a big part of his program, and he's recruited well. It's a team that will do what it takes to win. They're a team last year that put in a triangle-and-two on Stephen Curry, and the two guys were on Stephen. He's going to do what it takes to win. We're fully prepared with the way we've practiced and getting ready for a myriad of changing defenses, be it a box-and-one, the two-three zone, the three-two drop zone, the full court pressure, the tough, hardnosed man-to-man defense. They're a team that will get out and run as well. They play very fast, so it should be an exciting game. We've got to make sure that we're playing as hard as Loyola and we're executing and playing smart."
On the improved assist to turnover ratio in recent games:
On preparing young players for a variety of defenses:
"I think it's maturity and it's growth. As soon as you say that, you're going to have a bad night with the ball. We are still very young, but we're doing a better job of trying to make the next pass. We're not trying to throw the ball to places where we're not open. I think it'll get challenged tomorrow night because I'd be shocked if we didn't see the different defenses and trying to keep us off balance. So we've got to be able to attack and make simple plays. When you're making simple plays, when you're throwing the ball ahead on the break, when you're making the next pass, those things are really strong. And I'd like to see us create more turnovers. I think we've got to get better there, and that's something that we're certainly going to be trying to improve upon when we get back from Christmas."
"You can't give them too much. We've just got to have a couple of things that are automatics. We want them to play. Against Maryland, we did not get the ball in the middle of the lane good enough. That's been the one game all year. Even against Kentucky we got the ball in the paint really whenever we wanted to, whether it was by dribble or by pass. We did not do that as well against Maryland because we just didn't attack it. We've made a couple of adjustments since then. We have to be prepared, and we have in the past, for somebody to try to put a box-and-one on Maurice (Creek) or a triangle-and-two on a couple of guys and we just have to be prepared that way now."
On Loyola's win against Howard:
"They beat Howard going away and they looked really good in that game. When you've got a guy that comes off the bench that gets 28 points, in (Jamal) Barney, they're good. Their record (5-5) to me means very little when you see that kind of talent and athleticism on the floor. That's just not coach talk for `hey we've got to get ready to play a big game.' They are talented. I said it the other day because we had a chance to watch film, when we don't come out with the right mindset we'll be in trouble. This is one of the games that we've got to match how hard they play because they do."
On the effect coming off of final exam week:
"With the youth of this team you're not totally sure how they're going to react. We're still in a process right now going from one schedule to another. Their body's change and their body clocks change. They go from being in a situation where they're up for early morning individuals or they're in early morning classes and now it's not that way. I'm not a big believer in making them get up early in the morning this time of year unless they have to.
"Now we'll get up in the morning and do our walkthrough because obviously the ladies have a game at noon and I want to make sure that we get on this floor. It's really just a matter of them understanding how hard they have to play. There are a lot of individual challenges that we're throwing out there to guys where they can improve and at the same time, let them know they are improving. That's what you want to do. The best thing that can happen is when you're winning and you improve. We haven't had a lot of it in that order yet in our time here. Certainly the best teams I've been a part of, that's what happens, you win and you improve. You've got to improve sometimes before you win and we know that. Right now we'd like to keep it moving forward as we get ready for taking a little break here during Christmas."
On the quick turnaround between games:
"Saturday-Tuesdays are always hard because you still have to have that preparation. It's a matter of how long do we go this day versus the next day. So right now it's a matter of keeping our edge, continuing to build our conditioning, which we are. Knowing that we need to continue to build it for now, but also because we're going to be away for a couple of days. Most importantly, keep them focused on the task at hand and that's exactly what we're trying to do. There's not a lot of talk about anything other than what we need to do to be better after Saturday night and how we're going to defend Loyola."
On avoiding a letdown similar to the Lipscomb game last season:
"I don't know, if there's a magic answer I'll be willing to buy it from you. I don't think any coach can answer that. You hope you see letdowns coming. We lost to Lipscomb last year because they were a better team than us and they played better that day. I don't know if it was mental, as much as they played better, but that was a year ago. Other than making references to what happens when you don't go as hard as you need to in every game, it'd be kind of silly for me to bring up a lot of Lipscomb when six guys would really have no idea what I'm talking about."
On Jamal Barney:
"He can score, just a multi-dimensional scorer. He can shoot threes. They're really good when you look at the fact that three guys are getting 37 of their 65 points and made 36 of their 50 threes, in (Brett) Harvey, Barney, and (Shane) Walker. That's pretty impressive stuff. They can score, and he can really get his own shot. They know exactly what they want to do. They run the flex offense extremely well. They run their high ball screens extremely well. They get spaced. They're a good team, they really are. He might be their leading scorer, but they're far from a one or two man unit."
On Jordan Hulls leading the team in the plus/minus statistic over the last three games:
"I look at that more from game to game because the games are so different. I don't look at it over the overall, but that doesn't surprise me that he is. He impacts our team on both ends of the floor. He really holds his own defensively. He's fearless and I think you see that by the way that he rebounds. The ball moves in a great way when he's on the court. As I said to the team today, you don't win when you just have five starters. Five people have to start the game, but you win when you've got people that you can look at as starter material and I would say he'd be one of those guys."
On Tom Pritchard coming off the bench:
"Everybody can get better. The way our team is right now, it is not like we can look at Tom and say, `We've got to get this, this and this from Tom, and then Maurice (Creek) has got to do this, this and that.' You've really got to stay focused on each individual guy.
"Last night we kept a group of guys that aren't getting very many minutes and we were out here another hour, hour and 15 minutes, just working on their games in a four-on-four setting. That is really important. We take everybody's game very seriously because I think it doesn't matter if you play a lot or if you hardly play at all, everybody has a part in winning. It might be in practice. It might be in the way that they come off the bench. It might be in the way they start.
"Everybody can improve, and Tom is no different. So, we continue to focus on the things that he needs to get better at individually, but most importantly how it affects our team. There is no question that when he is playing the way he did late in the first half and then the second half on Saturday it makes us a lot better."
On Bawa Muniru's progression:
"He is competitive up front. He just needs the retention of habits right now. I'd love to get him the game experience, because training is one thing, practice competition is another, but game experience is a whole different thing. We're just not prepared yet to do that. He is working harder and is definitely making progress, but there is so much that he had to learn and has to learn coming in. The most important thing for him right now is to not over-think about this, that and the other thing on the offensive end, but to really apply himself on the defensive end with moving his feet, defending the post, defending ball-screens and then going for rebounds."
On Big Ten expansion:
"I really don't have a comment on it. That is for the league to decide, and I'm sure they'll do a great job with that. It worked out the last time when they brought Penn State in. There are a lot of powers that be there that will know what they are doing, so for me, it is irrelevant. I don't spend any amount of time thinking about it. I'm not opposed to it, but I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it. I'm sure they'll make a good decision if they decide to do that."