Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 88-81 win over Minnesota on Saturday afternoon at Assembly Hall.
Watch and listen to his postgame comments in the embedded media players below:
Quotes after the jump.
“Well the game went two ways, but both teams played extremely hard for 40 minutes. That never went away. We knew they weren’t going to go away in the second half. We continued to play extremely hard in the second half after getting off to a great lead. We didn’t always play as efficient as we needed to. We weren’t always on the attack like we needed to be. But when you outrebound a team like Minnesota and the way that they’re rebounding, you continue to go hard, and you continue to answer when they have an answer for what you’re doing. It’s a big win. The difference now is a year ago, we would have been ecstatic with that victory. I want them to enjoy it, but we have different expectation levels now. It’s not the outside expectations. It’s the expectation level inside of where we need to be. I think we have a lot of room for improvement. It sounds like to most corny, cliché word you can have when you start talking about process but that’s what it is. That’s why people use it in business, in school, in coaching. It’s a process, and we have to continue to learn from that. When it takes that next step is when the players understand that they can play better. I think they do. I think they know that they can be more efficient. But the one thing that we are doing is that we are playing extremely hard and competitive. Another game in the mid 50’s in deflections, and battling on the glass. We can get a lot better, and I know Minnesota will because they are obviously every bit as good as we thought they were, as the nation thought they were, and as their other opponents thought they were. It was a very good victory. One that we appreciate and earned. But at the same time, there is no question that with the long season that it is, we have got to get a lot better.”
Can you talk about Yogi’s development from the time he stepped onto campus?
“We knew he was extremely well-coached. There was obviously no doubt about that. Just a huge winner. I think the biggest thing is his defense. He played so much zone in high school and they were very good at it. That’s why you rarely have to remind him of anything when we play zone. His on ball defense, his ability to attack those things have really transferred to the collegiate level. The speed of the game has never been an issue for him. Now he is getting more and more confidence inside the speed of the game and it makes him that much better. I think he is going to get nothing but better. His jumper is going to get more consistent. He has a great vision. But his biggest steps are like any young player. There has got to be more vocal leadership. He leads, he leads by example and he leads with his defense and he is a great teammate but he has got to get more verbal. That’s the next step for him.”
Talk about struggles against the press in the second half:
“We didn’t attack it correctly. We got caught up a little bit in getting it down the court rather than how we were going to get it down the court. They were aggressive. We knew that. We practiced for that. I just think that we didn’t do a great job with our spacing. We didn’t do a great job with the inbounds. I’ll blame myself for not having enough screening, because they were very physical. A couple times it was hard to get open. We may need to put a few more screening options in our zone like we did later in the game.”
Talk about ball movement today and the greater sense of trust within the team now:
“I think there is balance for a reason. Our guys aren’t dominating the Big Ten Player of the Week, Big Ten Freshman of the Week mantels because it’s rare that it’s going to be one guy with major points. We have got a lot of balance scoring. Today was another day like that. I think they are really understanding two things. Everybody is going to score the more points we score. But it doesn’t happen if we don’t defend and score off our defense and it doesn’t happen if we don’t rebound. When you’re working as hard as you are on defense, you’re rarely going to come down and take a bad shot or force something when you’ve got other teammates working that hard with you defensively. I think we’re a good example of that now. Yogi has got a lot to do with how the ball moves. Jordan does. There might be somebody as good as passing the ball from the forward position, but I’ve never seen anybody pass it better than Cody. He is tremendous at that. A key for us is our reversals. Those guys are buying into the percentages of what happens when we reverse it twice or three times. Those numbers don’t lie.”