Indiana talks Northwestern before Sunday’s game in Evanston

(Editor’s Note: Audio and video of Tom Crean meeting with the media today is available after the jump. Audio of Jordan Hulls, Jeremiah Rivers and Will Sheehey is also available.)

BLOOMINGTON — After 11 years under Bill Carmody, the Northwestern Wildcats are considered some of the foremost practitioners of the Princeton offense in the country. That offense is renown for its disciplined use of back-door cutting and off-ball movement trying to take advantage of slow-reacting defenders.

On the other, Northwestern has attempted fewer 3-pointers only than Wisconsin and Michigan among Big Ten schools, boasts several talented shooters and in its last game against Illinois attempted thirty-eight 3-point field goals.

So as they chase a program-first NCAA Tournament bid, the Wildcats are certainly going to present problems for Indiana, as both teams look for their first Big Ten win of the young conference.

“I don’t know if you can ever just guard those guys one way, because no matter what you think you know, they know it so much more,” IU coach Tom Crean said Saturday, referring to Northwestern’s offensive approach. “They’ve got an answer for everything, and it’s not only the system, it’s the personnel that’s inside of the system. So we’ve got to be really, really locked in to what their strengths are.”

A few thoughts on Northwestern:

+ One of the obvious talking points with Crean and the three players (Jeremiah Rivers, Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey) was the discipline required to defend the Princeton offense. Rivers’ thoughts were particularly insightful, given that he played in a similar offense at Georgetown. Some pulled quotes:

On the similarity to what he ran at Georgetown: “It’s the same thing. I mean, the play calls are almost the same thing. It’s kind of funny, just eerily similar, principles. Northwestern might have a little more flexibility.”

On his role in helping prepare to defend the Princeton offense: “I’ve been teaching guys tricks of the trade of this thing, kind of what they’re going to do offensively against us. They’re gonna, especially, the first five, 10 minutes of the game, it’s going to be easy to defend the backdoor cuts, because we’re gonna know. But the last five minutes of the first half, you know, beginning of the second half, are we going to be alert and aware to where we can still be able to guard that? That’s what I’m trying to teach them is like, it’s easy to guard in the first five minutes when you’ve got energy, but when we’re tired, when we’ve got our hands on our knees, when we’re standing up, that’s when they’re gonna try to take advantage of us.”

Rivers also had one other comment worth repeating, at least in part. He was referring to Northwestern’s three-game losing streak, and the presumption that Northwestern might be favored: “I know they’ve lost a few in a row, and Indiana is supposed to be their one on Sunday. And it’s good for them to think that, but it’s obviously not anywhere remotely where we’re going to go in there and lay down and be like, ‘Go ahead.’ We’re definitely going in to get this. We’re ready. We’re definitely ready.”

+ The aforementioned 3-point shooting was also discussed prominently. Northwestern likes threes, it shoots them, and in the hands of the right players, they make them at an impressive clip. Of particular note are starters Michael Thompson (39.5 percent) and John Shurna (56.3 percent). Shurna averages better than 20 points per game.

“Yes and he’s not alone,” Crean said when asked about Shurna. “You’ve got a freshman in (JerShon) Cobb that took 19 shots (against Illinois). You’ve got Drew Crawford who leads them in shot attempts. You’ve got Michael Thompson who’s one of the better guards not only in the league, but in the country for doing exactly what needs to be done. He is playing at a high level and making shots.”

+ But while Northwestern possesses an impressive and rather diverse offense, the Wildcats’ defense does leave something to be desired. Carmody’s squad is 10th in the league in scoring defense and last in field goal percentage defense. They are also the only team in the Big Ten with a negative rebound margin (they average less rebounds per game than they allow).

In their last game against Illinois, the Wildcats gave up 88 points, and the Illini shot 70.5 percent from the field. That said, Crean didn’t put much stock in that game.

“Illinois played outstanding. Didn’t miss shots,” he said. “Northwestern missed shots they usually make. We’re not gonna spend a lot of time on that game. We know we’re going to get a great game from them. They’re going to be hungry at home and they’re going to want to come out and redeem themselves, as do we. I think that’s what’s most important.”

+ One last thought from Tom Crean regarding on-court communication and adjustment: “You’ve got to make adjustments on the fly and it can’t just be when the coach calls time-out and it can’t just be from a coach, it’s got to be from the players inside of the game. That’s why having conversations, those hundreds of conversations that you need to have in the course of a game, that’s what communication is. It’s not just watch the pick or ball-screen left, it’s the conversations you need to have and we need to do a better job of that.”

Crean Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Hulls Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Rivers Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Sheehey Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Crean Video:

  • Marsh21

    If Coach plays a zone tomorrow we will get killed. This will be a true outside defensive test.

  • cooper

    For a team that struggles communicating and making adjustments on D this could be a nightmare.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    This will be the first game in a long while that I can’t watch live so I’ll have to record it and watch it when I get home late at night!

    1) Gonna have to do as good a job on the NW shooters as we did on Hoffarber Tuesday.
    2) This might be a great game to see a lot of VO, Sheehey, and Rivers together – maybe we can out athleticize them and neutralize their shooting. I don’t think they are big enough to really hurt us with that lineup because they have a little height but it isn’t athletic height.
    3) Watford better get off the shnide or we’re in for a long game.
    4) Can’t turn the ball over against NW or they’ll make you pay by hitting those extra shots.
    5) I think we can put enough athleticism on the floor to cover their back cuts.
    6) This would be a lovely game for TP to capitalize on the slight momentum from the Minn game and have his best game of the year.
    7) I can’t stand that little terd Michael Thompson so could be please, PLEASE stop him just one game. It seems like he always kills IU!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    This will be the first game in a long while that I can’t watch live so I’ll have to record it and watch it when I get home late at night!

    1) Gonna have to do as good a job on the NW shooters as we did on Hoffarber Tuesday.
    2) This might be a great game to see a lot of VO, Sheehey, and Rivers together – maybe we can out athleticize them and neutralize their shooting. I don’t think they are big enough to really hurt us with that lineup because they have a little height but it isn’t athletic height.
    3) Watford better get off the shnide or we’re in for a long game.
    4) Can’t turn the ball over against NW or they’ll make you pay by hitting those extra shots.
    5) I think we can put enough athleticism on the floor to cover their back cuts.
    6) This would be a lovely game for TP to capitalize on the slight momentum from the Minn game and have his best game of the year.
    7) I can’t stand that little terd Michael Thompson so could be please, PLEASE stop him just one game. It seems like he always kills IU!

  • defendtherock

    Ladies and gentlemen, we may be frustrated with our hoosiers sometimes, but at least Jim (Conservative) Caldwell is not the coach. He is by far the worst coach in the state. Stupid challenge, a freaking stupid timeout when he already got burned on it in jacksonville earlier this year. Remember when the colts used to try to score at the end of the half? yep, that was before conservative clyde and caldwell got in charge. The end of half plays are the only ones that peyton doesnt check out of.
    As far as our hoosiers, we really need this one tomorrow. we can get back on track with this win. Our loss to colorado and penn state are still disappointing, but dont look so bad now. We need to get this win!

  • Anonymous

    Look, I have long enough seasons ahead with the pacers and the hoosiers. I think I speak for all the colts fans that come on this site when I say we don’t need any rehashing of what happened tonight on these comments. I hope IU rolls NW tomorrow.

  • Luke72

    I like that this team is keeping their mental attitude up! This will be their biggest defensive test! Hope
    that their ouside shooting is on today!

  • hoosierinDaVille

    this could be scary , considering that our guys havent been coached defense and have totaly lost , especially gaurding the three

Powered by WordPress. Designed and developed by Ryan. Read our Privacy Policy. // Back to Top