Northern Iowa postgame comments: Tom Crean

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 11: Tom Crean the Head Coach of the Indiana Hoosiers gives instructions to his team during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats on December 11, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)Here’s a transcript of Tom Crean’s postgame comments to Don Fischer following the Hoosiers’ 67-61 loss to Northern Iowa in the IBN Sports Las Vegas Classic:

Don Fischer: Coach Crean, I know that’s a pretty disappointed locker room right now.

Tom Crean: Absolutely, it should be. We just didn’t play well enough in the first half. We got away from our mindset. We got away from what works for us, which is having a defensive disposition all the way across the court when it comes to pressuring shots, when it comes to pressuring the ball. We knew their stuff inside-out, we knew it cold, we prepared well, but then you just gotta turn around and go. And then we started thinking we were going to get it back with offense and it just doesn’t work that way.

Fischer: Coach, the 3-point shooting in the first half really cooled down for them in the second half. Was that a product of what you were doing defensively?

Crean: No, we were just better. We were better in the second half. We were more aggressive. We were more alert and aware. We put defense first. This team cannot play, I don’t many championship level type teams that can, but I know this team and we’re not championship level certainly, but we can’t even begin to be anything other than a very good defensive team and a pressure team that doesn’t allow people to run their stuff or doesn’t allow them to get open looks the way they got them. We didn’t make them earn baskets. There’s a couple of categories that we’re really, really into: defensive rebounding, defensive field goal percentage, defensive 3-point percentage and points off turnovers. And we lost all four of those battles. And when you lose all four of those battles, you’re not going to win the game.

Fischer: Coach, a couple of performances tonight. Derek Elston gave you a great start offensively in this ballgame. Christian Watford was tremendous throughout the contest from an offensive standpoint and rebounding.

Crean: Yeah. They were good. There’s no doubt about that. But we just didn’t sustain it on the defensive end so I have a hard time looking at the offensive part of it right now. We got the shots we wanted, we got the looks that we wanted and at one point, I said, ‘we’ve got to get the game called the same way on both ends’. And the referee says, ‘you’ve just been to the foul line the last two times, what are you complaining about?’ Those are the kind of things you really don’t want to hear because our whole game, we were 13-of-15 in the first half of scoring baskets when we got the ball into the paint. And that’s what we want to continue to be able to do. And that’s what the game called for. And so we got it in the lane and we didn’t always finish. Again, this game came down to our defensive mindset at the beginning of the game and it wasn’t good enough.

  • MillaRed

    I will give this a shot. Not a happy MillaRed tonight.

    + Not impressed with the coaching. Not the game plan, not the adjustments, and not some of the in-game situations, substitutions.

    + Verdell is what he is. Moving into the mid-junior year with 2 1/2 years of PT. Fact is, he has the ability to win and unfortunately lose a game with his decision making. Verdell cost us big time tonight.

    + Hulls is what he is. In this particular game, and others like it moving forward, he is undersized defensively and cannot create an open shot for himself.

    + I wanted to say this after the first game of the season. I think starting Mo this year really set us up for disaster. Pulling him off the bench now would affect him mentally. But the fact is if Mo is not knocking down 3’s he is a total liability due to this recovery. It’s a sad fact but a fact indeed. At this point I think you give JR or VO his spot and maybe for the rest of the season.

    + The reality is UNI hit some ridiculous 3’s. I’m talking 3’s they won’t hit again this season. Without them we tough out a win. But we are better than UNI. And with a better game plan I think it’s a W.

    + Report cards:

    Announcers D- Are you kidding me? Did the color guy graduate from UNI or something?
    Officials C- They were pretty bad. Many phantom calls out there.
    Elston A –
    Watford A –

    Rest of team gets a D

  • Anonymous

    The announcers were a new level of awful. I wasn’t aware that you could mispronounce “Oladipo” that many different ways.

    Not an impressive outing from the team either. I didn’t feel like we played as a team on either end of the court. Let’s hope for a better outing tomorrow. We really need to win 1 of 2 in Vegas!

  • Brian Evans

    why does crean have to mask his supposed expertise in basketball with buzzwords. we lost our “defensive disposition,” just lost “our mindset,” thought we would get it back through offense but “it just doesn’t work that way”?!?!?!? what the heck does this mean!!!!!!!!!!

    why cant crean just say, my offense doesn’t create good shots, or our team is disciplined enough to defend backdoor cuts, etc. when i see basic basketball breakdowns and hear a coach spewing buzz words it scares me. because buzz words don’t win basketball games, fundamentals do. and fundamentals are still a problem with this program after 2+ years of CTC.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t get to watch the game, don’t have CBS College Sports. Instead, I listened to the legendary Don Fisher.

    I am really starting to wonder when (and if) this current group of players is going to breakthrough and “learn how to win”. They simply haven’t found what it takes to win a close game. They can’t make those few key plays in every close game that swings it in their favor. Who is going to step up and take over when they need it? I thought it might be Watford tonight but it didn’t happen. Some notes from the box score and my listening.
    – Watford has become a rock for this team. He is going to average 15+ for the Big Ten season. Just a lot of different ways to score.
    – Jones had an awful game and I wish there was a better option to turn to when he was struggling mightily. He certainly has his ups but tonight was a definite down.
    – Creek is turning into a liability in most cases. He can’t stay with his man and his offensive game lacks explosiveness. It’s going to take until next season for us to see the real Mo Creek.
    – I was incredibly disappointed in the guard play tonight. If we get that kind of effort from Elston and Watford, there is no way we should go down to a Missouri Valley squad.

    All that being said, we still have a chance to turn Vegas into a positive. Win tomorrow night to gain a split, pick up your first win away from Assembly Hall and get some momentum before opening Big Ten play on the 27th. I feel like we say this a lot but, tomorrow night is a very big game for this team’s psyche. I hope they can find a way to start beating decent opponents, we don’t have any more SIUE’s on the schedule.

  • MillaRed

    Coaches have good and bad days too and I think this was a bad one. But I’m not ready to go with the “2+ years” attack just yet.

    We do…..not….have…..a true point guard! Not one that can run a team at a high level against experienced opponents. I do not fault CTC for this. The lack of a great PG is still a result of the crap he was left with.

    If we are having this conversation in 2013. I’m with you buddy. But there is a reason why these top 50 recruits are something to be excited about. Not only are they talented, but the better players “get it.” They are more hungry, mentally tougher. Call it what you will, “It” is just there. Aside from Watford and a healthy Mo Creek, we just don’t have “It” yet.

  • kentuckyhoosier

    I TOTALLY AGREE WITH EVANS AND MILLA , IM SO TIRED OF SEEING THE SAME BASIC MISTAKES AND CREAN CODDELING THESE GUYS , ITS YEAR NUMBER THREE , START COACHING …..IT TAKES MORE THAN RECRUITING …. TONIGHT WAS DISGUSTING ! IOWA MANHANDLED THIS TEAM . CREAN AWAY FROM THE HALL 3 – 30

  • Kelin Sheeharris

    We do not have a true point guard….mmmm milla….anyone out there want to keep waiting on Yogi or Gary Harris…who is not a scoring guard either…or how about let Michael Chandler or Mitch McGary run point guard? This isn’t directed at you but my point is….Crean MUST get a guard in here next year…MUST.

  • HoosierFromCT

    Or when he said, “Matt Moore has just checked in..”

  • Btpinkst

    Agreed about what you say about CTC! He needs to quit saying what we need to do and just get it done. The fact of the matter is se are more talented than UNI and shouldn’t have lost this game

  • MillaRed

    I know you are peed off Kelin I had a hard time watching it too. But where is this 2011 guard coming from? Verdell is a SG and a TO machine. Hulls is not quick enough. He cannot get into the lane.

    Does watching this make the Amayo kid look more attractive? Uhhh, yes. But until further notice, the PG we seem to covet is a high school junior. And I think he might start as a FR. Sorry Jordy.

  • Anonymous

    Point of the matter is Indiana has a better team than UNI and shouldn’t have lost this game. It came down to coaching a CTC was outcoached. We have a good recruiter where is our coach?

  • Anonymous

    Apparently we also have AUSTIN Rivers on our team- which might have helped our guard play tonight.

    Also noticed they kept leaving the “s” off Hulls and calling him Jordan Hull. It was driving me crazy especially since the team was playing so poorly- probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much if we were winning!

  • Anonymous

    I’m having a hard time finding any kind of chemistry on this team – seems like a different five throughout the whole game. I wish we could find a certain group that plays better together and stick with them for the majority of the game. Maybe that five is hard to find, but gotta do something and quick. I would like to see an A squad and B squad interchange seamlessly throughout the game. It just doesn’t seem that there is a cohesiveness out there.

  • Anonymous

    At the risk of sounding like I’m making excuses for Crean and it also sounding like I don’t appreciate the guys that we do have the fact remains that, the vast majority of the minutes are being spread around to one high caliber player, another high caliber player that is not even close to being completely back from a very bad injury, two promising true freshman, and the rest of the minutes are going to players that would have been recruited to IU to be role players and some would not have been recruited at all.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, like it or not we are still in rebuilding mode and not in a small way. To a lesser degree than 2 years ago or even last year but it is still rebuilding mode. Stop and think about it, how many of our current players would have come in and got the minutes that they have even this year as sophomores and juniors if when they got to Btown we had the likes of CZ, Yogi, HP, Patterson, Jurkin etc , etc. The smell of what Denim shirt left us may not smell as bad as it has in the past but what created that foul smell is still being cleaned up. Only higher level recruits like what we have coming is going to change things for the most part and even then most of them will need some time when they do finally get here for us to see the full impact that they will have.

    Now having said all that do I feel like they should have won this game, yea, I do. We finally get more offense from our 5 than we have had in two years and then our perimeter play falls off of the face of the earth. Some of the excuse that were legit last year and even more so the year before are not legitimate excuses this year and some are still legit but only to a lesser degree and some of those still slightly legit ones will no longer be acceptable by the middle of the B10 season.

    No one wants to get back to where we are winning like we should be more than me but I for one am not ready to take the, ” he’s a bad in game coach ” or ” he can’t get it done ” angle or any of the many others that I’m sure that will start to surface now and on through to the end of the season. Am I willing to give Crean a free pass all season, not a chance, cause as much as I like Crean he still has got to prove ” he can get it done ” and when it’s all said and done the responsibility to have made significant improvement over last year rests completely with him.

  • Anonymous

    He might be able to get it done…but he had a lesser opponent tonight and to “rebuild” these are games we need to get and he’s not. So I would like him to find a group of guys he can go to and if someones playing bad sit them on the bench AKA VJ3

  • Anonymous

    Agree and kinda on that same note if someone is getting it done then don’t take them out for no reason and when they do come out for a breather get them back in before they cool off. Seems like he finally done that with Elston tonight unlike the last game when he was on fire and seemed to come out for no real reason.

    VJ3 was one of those foremost on my mind when I said what I did above about being a role player under normal circumstances. If I’m remembering correctly he was voted most overrated by the players on the other B10 teams and as bad as I hate to say it I pretty much understood their voting. OUCH

    Hopefully free throw shooting practice is going on as we speak !!

  • MillaRed

    I mentioned the same weeks ago. The recruiting success may have given the casual Hoosier fan a greater expectation of this squad by the sheer nature of the beast.

    Because we are where we are, we see the following due to a number of deficiencies:

    We have a SG playing PG (because Hulls cannot penetrate)
    We have a PG playing SG (because Hulls is one of our best shooters)
    We have a PF playing SF (lets face it, on THIS team CWat needs to be a 4 due to options)
    We have a PF playing C (Elston will look a lot better next to Cody)
    Throw in an injured Mo and it’s just a mess.

    As far as Coach goes, hey, he had a bad game. It happens. Every game is unique and he whiffed on this one on a few levels.

    We have one consistent player, Christian Watford. The rest of the team is unpredictable on any given night. This was one of those nights, and we’re not experienced enough to steal a W when we are playing pretty bad.

  • LDIU

    I certainly agree with your summation. No doubt, CTC got out coached in this one. Failed to make any kind of adjustments to what NI did.

    Our guard play was so bad. Creek, Hulls, and Jones were 2-18!! Jones had 5 turnovers with 2 charging fouls and a dropped ball out of bounds with nobody around him?

    The problem is that our guards are our guards and we cannot do anything about it this year.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have CBS College Sports either, so it was an earfest for me too. One thing that sticks out to me though was Fish’s comment about they were playing in an ice rink with a basketball court placed on top (on top of the ice? or the concrete?) and how the floor was wet in spots from “condensation” where he was sitting. He also mentioned it was a chilly arena. I wonder how all that affected our play. There were a couple times when the refs paused play to take care of moisture on the floor. Maybe our team shoulda practiced outdoors last month to prepare for this.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Sean, he was BAD last night man.

    1) It took 33 minutes to recognize that Mo Creek couldn’t guard Hellugba (I think I’ve spelled that three different ways now.
    2) It took him a half to recognize we were leaving shooters wide open.
    3) There’s no reason for Will to play 5 minutes and Roth to play 4 when we were playing so poorly.
    4) There’s no reason not to try some different defensive schemes.

    He just wasn’t good tonight man. I still love him as our coach but he needs to recognize and adjust quicker!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I’m starting to like Kelvin Amayo better after last night.

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