Notes and quotes from Crean on Big Ten teleconference

  • 01/20/2014 10:41 am in

The Big Ten held its weekly coaches teleconference on Monday morning to review the third week of conference play. Here are some notes and quotes from Tom Crean’s appearance:

· Opening statement: “We’re just getting ready right now for Michigan State, who is playing extremely well and really playing well on both sides of the ball, both ends and with very good consistency considering they’ve played without one of the better players in the country the last couple of games in Adreian Payne. We’re trying to continue to get better here at what we’ve got to improve upon and get ourselves prepared in a hurry to get up to Michigan State.”

· Crean was asked about how his team responded to the Northwestern loss and whether they practiced on Sunday as he mentioned they would in the postgame press conference: “No, I actually changed it up. We didn’t have a full practice. We’ll do that here in a little bit, today.”

· Crean was asked about what he’ll look for in that practice: “I’m just looking for us to improve. I don’t think it’s anything different. I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to change. I think you just keep getting better. You’re pacing your team constantly and you have to make sure, with the long season, and it really is, that you continue to adjust that pace. But really, it doesn’t change much in the sense of what you’re trying to get done fundamentally. It’s not like anything is going to miraculously change, nor does it need to. We just need to continue to improve and understand how we play best and what brings the best out of our team and what hurts our team. Film can show that sometimes, but also just continuing to absorb the fundamentals and having that understanding.

“Most of the mistakes we made the other day were self inflicted. Mistakes in going under screens, mistakes in shots, not reversing the ball maybe one more time. The big one was not taking one more dribble at the basket and letting the contact influence the play rather than taking one more dribble and getting it all the way to the basket and then putting a little more pressure on the rim so to speak and not just the defense where that one more dribble a lot of times creates one more angle. So those are fundamental things that can be fixed and adjusted and we’ll just continue to work on it.”

· Crean said that Michigan State has been able to continue its high level of play in the absence of Payne for several reasons, including Gary Harris, Denzel Valentine, Keith Appling and Kenny Kaminski.

“They’re showing the product of the fact that they’ve got a pretty good understanding of how they play. The new guys that come in, much like some of the other better teams in this league, they’re adjusting to the veterans and the veterans kind of help them along rather than the other way around.”

· Crean was asked about teaching a young team coming off a week where it did a lot of good things against Wisconsin and then let the game get away from them against Northwestern.

“You can make comparisons and parallel, but there were still times in the Wisconsin game where we didn’t defend the proper way. And it was a different game in the sense of how the lane opened up. The lane was going to open up (against Northwestern) for us if we would have attacked a little more out of the corners, which would have created more opportunities to pull people out of the lane and get that next drive.”

· Crean pointed out that his team made 14 layups in the first half of the Wisconsin game and missed about that many in the Northwestern game.

“Some of that was we made it harder on ourselves by not going up through the contact, not taking one more dribble. A lot of it is fundamental. A lot of it is playing through contact and not necessarily waiting for the whistle to blow or hoping you’re going to get a call or trying to manufacture a shot, which is something we tried to do too much the other day. We tried to manufacture plays rather than let them happen.”

· Crean said that once things weren’t as easy against Northwestern, Indiana started to settle. “That’s a sign of a team that is not at a mature place yet in understanding what it takes to win and that every night is different.”

· Crean was asked about the recent playing time of Devin Davis and whether it’s a health issue. “I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s a matter of creating enough opportunities in practice that will put him in over someone else.” Crean specifically mentioned the recent play of Jeff Howard and Austin Etherington as two guys have been doing a good job recently.

· Crean was asked about what his team can learn from the first game against Michigan State. He said his team didn’t follow the game plan, wasn’t strong enough with the ball and allowed 13 points off of live ball turnovers. He also mentioned letting Harris get “far too comfortable and loose in the game” in the first meeting.

“There’s no question we could have played a lot better, and we didn’t, so hopefully we’ll learn from some of that right now.”

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  • And_One

    Anyone know if Payne will play Tuesday?

  • William Hagenmaier

    wow thats a lot of excuses

  • JJ

    “Crean said that once things weren’t as easy against Northwestern, Indiana started to settle.”

    Isn’t that on the coach? That should have been fixed halfway through the first half and at the latest, halftime…

  • Ole Man

    Asked what he would look for in practice, Crean said, “I’m just looking for us to improve.”

    How about looking to adjust the offense to the players IU has?

  • MillaRed

    I’m not always going to agree with Coach. Definitely from different molds when it comes to hoops. But we are a competitive team. If you think about it, we take down Wisconsin because Yogi stepped up in the end with an incredible individual performance. Without it we do not win.

    Was Demps any different in the NW game? The fade away with Will in his face? Will the kid ever hit that shot again? (Flippin lucky as H by the way) Without Demps NW does not win that game.

    It’s the beauty of basketball. No two endings are the same. If they were, we wouldn’t have much to talk about in here.

    Let’s compete vs MSU and see if we can’t ride this roller coaster another week!

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    I’m not saying we played well Saturday because we clearly didn’t, but I do have to agree with Coach on at least one thing – the fact that we made 14 layups in the first half against Wisconsin and missed about that many against Northwestern.

    As bad as we looked at times, it seemed like there were a BUNCH of bunnies near the rim that just wouldn’t go down. Granted, NW played very good defense and the shots were contested, but more often than not, more of those looks go down.

    You couple those missed points with the fact it seemed every loose ball/long rebound was taking a NW bounce and what you get is a mark in the L column.

    Again, I’m not saying we played well, but it wasn’t quite as horrid as some folks are making it out to be. Just seemed like one of those days where nothing went right. Never got into any sort of rhythm. And with a younger team, that snowball just rolls on down the hill….

    We all knew going into this season that there were going to be plenty of both ups and downs and this was obviously one of the latter.

    Doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel on these guys yet…..

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    It’s another incredible BIG 10 season; IU can beat any team in the league if we play well and lose to every team in the league if we play badly. We need to learn this year, battle like heck and hopefully get to 500 and then go and play well in the Big 10 tournament. IU has the kind of team that could win the Big 10 tournament if they keep developing that consistency that experience brings. CTC is our coach and will be for the remainder of the year and hopefully long after. I hope the team continues the course he has laid down and we can make a run in the second half of the Big 10 season.
    The most underrated player we had last season was Hulls, no one really appreciated all the little things he could do aside from hitting the 3 pointer. There is something about being a coach’s kid, extremely high basketball IQ that has the ability to make everyone around him a better basketball player, both physically and most importantly mentally. Will is trying to do that, to a degree but definitely not at same level as Hulls. Also, how many of you would like to have Elston on this year’s team? With all of his injuries, if he would have had one more year this year (and stayed healthy, big if), he could have been a stud, both outside and inside and the perfect complement to Noah. He is apparently doing extremely well playing professionally overseas, albeit in the minor leagues.

  • Benhyoung14

    Make no mistake his seat isn’t even luke warm. The team csn be good, but IU will need help to win the B1G tourney.

  • Scooter

    I like DD but his defense is very poor. He gets caught on screens and switches late. His helpside is slow as well.

  • Every time someone has asked him about that, his response has been, “He will play as soon as I put him in”…. or something to that effect. He is not ready to commit on how Jeremy is doing, or when he will return to action.
    Probably no point in even asking right now.
    Wouldn’t it be so great, if Jeremy finally gets on against MSU and tears them up for a big win? Wow, I guess that’s probably just a dream, but that would be so nice.

  • Lobills

    Year 6 and people are still trotting out this “but consider the situation TC inherited” defense? That was all well and good the first 3 years or so.

    Can we please get beyond this as a fan base? It doesn’t take two Olympic cycles for a program to consistently reach its full potential.

  • Ole Man

    Agree with your second paragraph.
    First paragraph; not at all.

  • yimyames

    IU Should have never been in that position Saturday. That’s the only difference I see between Yogi and Demp’s performances.

  • Kelin Blab

    I don’t think that is on the coach at all…..come game time, a coach can only do so much, but this was more of a comment dealing with the teams mental toughness and playing through difficulty. During a game you can’t teach mental toughness……ALL on the players.

  • dssnyder1

    The first 3 years are gone, you are correct. so last year, IU wins the B1G, wins at UM, OSU and MSU then goes to sweet 16. in the last 15 years, what other coach at IU has come even close to this success. seems to me crean is doing alright with good recruits coming

  • HoosierPat

    His defense is 10x better than Williams. Davis gets in there and battles and IU needs a guy like that on the court.

  • dssnyder1

    unrelated to this post but interesting – the great thad matta and his overrated buckeyes just lost to Nebraska. Thats 4 in a row in conference play

  • hoosiersph2014

    He’s got to be on the hot seat now, right? lol

  • MillaRed

    Out two more weeks

  • jasonwehlage

    Yep, he has only established a SOUND system, producing year after year results, recruiting class after recruiting class, leading them to 2 final 4s and 5 B1G championships and NIT champs the lone time they missed the tourney in 9 seasons…and they won’t miss this season either…oh, and he inherited a program on probation as well…the similarities are mind blowing

  • InTheMtns

    Indiana has never played well in the B1G tourney in the past but that doesn’t preclude playing well this year. This team will become better as the season progresses and might turn out to be a very good tourney team. I plan to stay tuned to see.

  • iuoiu

    I’ve been thinking about JH and his current situation and he’s actually in a position to be a great story for this team. That is if he does what is needed to get back into games and then deliver. Everyone loves a comeback story. Hopefully somebody has told him that the crime is not in falling down, but in failing to get back up.

  • dssnyder1

    you are correct about mattas success. Crean and the Hoosiers would be fortunate to mirror what he’s doing at OSU. My point was more about coaches like Matta and Williams at UNC this year have struggled also.
    It happens to ALL programs!

  • CreanFaithful

    I agree, we don’t need to discuss what he inherited in year one. But, let’s consider what he inherited in year 6. He lost 7 players from last year, 4 of which were starters and 3 more that contributed solid minutes. 2 sophomores (Hanner and Jurkin) missed out on significant development time in their freshman year. Austin Etherington, one of our “upperclassmen” has played a combined 267 minutes through 2.5 seasons (not even 7 full games worth of experience). While we certainly have some athletically gifted freshmen on the roster this year, they are very fundamentally raw and are poor shooters (with the exception of Vonleh). I like our upside, but those are some difficult circumstances for competing in the B1G.

  • CreanFaithful

    Remember when Johnny Marlin, Evan Gordon, Troy Williams, Austin Ethington and Jeff Howard were on the court together? He did bench them for not following the game plan…

  • CreanFaithful

    What do you think he is talking about with the “extra ball reversal,” “taking one more dribble at the rim to create angles” and “attacking out of the corners, to pull people out of the lane and get that next drive???”

  • CreanFaithful

    There were plenty of adjustments that were mentioned in the article and you chose to isolate one line out of context… Execution is the issue. What sort of adjustments in the offense are needed in your opinion to fit the “players IU has?”

  • CreanFaithful

    They are never marking the same kind of players, so it’s a tough comparison. Williams usually marks the 2/3 and Davis marks the 4 (other than switch offs).

  • Ole Man

    You’re being quite disingenuous with your first comment. Almost true, but not really.

    I stated quite clearly and succinctly what should be done with the offense with my last line.
    However, since you asked, I’d take the dribble(drivel)/drive offense and blow it up before I’d ever use it again.

    As to “my starting lineup”, I’d have Noah, Howard, Will, Yogi, and Stan. I’d be “pushing but not rushing” up the floor. I’d have high ball screens with rotation to the baseline, then out, then back to the elbow. I’d make sure of two or three screens on every possession before a shot. I’d be pressing every chance I got on defense. Does that sound like anything we’re doing now?
    Heck, I haven’t played or coached in 40 years, and I came up with that while writing this reply. Doesn’t mean I’m a coaching saviant by any means. Just basic bball principles. Tear the ideas apart, everyone 🙂

  • Ole Man

    You’re “almost right” with this one, Kel. “Come game time…”
    Problem is, it’s hard to discern sometimes the adjustments CTC makes during the game; and there are always a few to be made.

  • Lobills

    Who is responsible for how the roster was constructed this year? He obviously knew all the Sr’s were gone and before even recruiting Cody he knew or should have known he was a 1 or 2 yr. player tops. I’ll give him a total pass for Victor. Nobody could have reasonably foreseen his rise.

    Roster construction is completely on the coaching staff. Players transfer all the time at other schools as well. So, while the Fischer transfer is devastating for the coming years TC should have contingencies in place to plan for such things. And with Vonleh almost assuredly going pro we don’t have a single viable big on the offensive end for next year. That is just inexcusable.

    As far as the “fundamentally raw and athletically gifted” freshmen we have….who decided to recruit those players? He could have decided to recruit kids that were less athletic, but more polished as basketball players. TC didn’t, so I’m not going to give him a pass for something I consider to be strategically ill-conceived.

    TC is great at all things marketing related when it comes to IU. He also has done a fantastic job as it relates to getting our academic house in order. As far as basketball related areas are concerned (and in relation to other top tier basketball schools) Tom Crean IMO is all too often playing checkers when the competition is playing chess.

  • CreanFaithful

    I like your starting lineup. I disagree that the dribble drive offense should be discarded and obviously that will never happen, so it’s pretty silly to even debate. As for my first comment, I need only copy one paragraph that makes it true:

    “Mistakes in going under screens, mistakes in shots, not reversing the ball maybe one more time. The big one was not taking one more dribble at the basket and letting the contact influence the play rather than taking one more dribble and getting it all the way to the basket and then putting a little more pressure on the rim so to speak and not just the defense where that one more dribble a lot of times creates one more angle. So those are fundamental things that can be fixed and adjusted and we’ll just continue to work on it.”

  • Lobills

    Phenomenal that we won the B1G outright. I was at the clincher in Crisler. Loved every minute of that. Loved hanging in Ann Arbor for drinks for 3 hours after the game. But, that team was capable of so much more. The postseason (both B1G tourney and NCAA) was woeful. That team could have and should have done much better.

    How do you think next year’s team is going to look w/out a single viable front court player right now? I’ll be shocked if Vonleh comes back and w/out Fisher and nobody signed we’ll have nothing up front.

  • Lobills

    It’s going to be difficult to drive to the rim when teams are going to either zone us or sag off considerably in man. One of the great things about the B1G is the degree of scouting that goes on during conference play.

    If coaches in this league aren’t stubborn and adjust their defensive approach to us we are going to struggle. There is virtually zero reason for teams to close out hard on us or extend their defense out past the 3pt. line.

    We’ll see if the coaches adopt Northwestern’s game plan going forward. I tend to think most will try this approach and I also think it will be quite effective.

  • CreanFaithful

    Recruiting was solidified before Victor, Creek, Fischer and Abel left the squad. It was also solidified before we won the B1G and made another Sweet 16. Our ability to recruit athletes with more refined basketball skills will improve with time, but we certainly weren’t the destination spot for the nation’s top recruits (nor are we still). I’m happy with the guys we got, but also understanding of the product we currently have on the court.

  • CreanFaithful

    I agree that teams will defend us as you say. However, what offensive style are you imagining that will eliminate our deficiency in shooting? We must drive, we must draw fouls and we must rebound… CTC’s system isn’t going anywhere and this wouldn’t be the time to give up on it to begin with. As coach said, we have to learn from our mistakes and continue to improve on execution. It can be done.

  • Ole Man

    Yes; he’s been saying the same things over and over in a multitude of ways. I simply thought his first comment said enough. That’s why I said I thought it “disingenuous”.

  • Lobills

    That’s fair. I guess we just disagree. I’m not that impressed with what we’ve got nor the product they have been producing on the court.

  • Lobills

    I agree that his offense is going nowhere. I only hope that TC adjusts the offense to the personnel he has. It’s difficult to drive the lane when we don’t have shooters to spread the floor. It’s even more problematic when we kick it out to guys who can’t shoot the times we are able to drive the lane. I’m not a fan of his half court offense. I never have been. There’s too little movement and screening away from the ball. But, that’s just my personal taste.

    What I’m more concerned with is TC…like many other coaches…is much to philosophically rigid and won’t tweak and tailor things to his talent. He’s asking players to do things they aren’t adept at doing vs. high level competition. It’s a recipe for failure IMO. And no amount of refined execution is going to change that.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    that’s a great point, they missed a ton of lay-ups and open looks. the play-by-play guys kept touting NW’s defense, which annoyed me to no end. that just wasn’t what caused them to shoot so terribly.

    i think tonight we’ll see the team that beat wiscy. hope so, at least.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    Now, when they played Wiscy, they had that eye of the tiger, man; the edge! And now they gotta get it back, and the way to get it back is to go back to the beginning. You know what I mean?

  • CreanFaithful

    I’m not sure how to answer that. They ALL involve creating shots/opportunities for others… Ball reversal HAS NOTHING to do with dribbling and everything to do with passing. “Attacking the corners” to, wait for it, open up lanes out top for teammates… “Creating angles by taking an extra dribble.” What angles do you think he is referring to? It’s not different angles to shoot off the backboard. It’s passing angles.

    As for screening, we certainly set a bunch of ball screens, but to say we don’t set any screens away from the ball is completely false. Sorry you don’t like our offensive scheme, but it isn’t going anywhere.