News and notes from Tom Crean’s radio show

  • 03/17/2015 8:04 am in

On Monday evening, Indiana coach Tom Crean spoke at his final weekly radio show of the season hosted by Don Fischer and looked ahead to the Hoosiers’ NCAA tournament opener against Wichita State on Friday, among several other topics.

Below are news and notes from what the Hoosiers’ coach had to say:

On Indiana women’s basketball coach Teri Moren

At the start of the show, Crean glanced at a TV, which was showing NCAA women’s basketball tournament selection show. It sparked the seventh-year Hoosiers coach to open with a vote of confidence for Indiana women’s coach Teri Moren.

The women’s team finished the season 15-16 after Moren took over the squad on August 9, less than three months before the start of the season following Curt Miller’s resignation.

“It’s just a matter of time before she and her staff get this program exactly where it should be,” Crean said. “They walked into a tough, tough situation. And those girls lost a coach obviously that they cared a lot about. And those are hard deals.

“But I see her work. I see her staff. I see the time they put in. I see the way that culture has grown over there. And everybody just needs to absolutely stay behind her in a supportive way. It energizes you when you hear about what kind of coach and what kind of person she is — and we’ve only known her a short time. But when you get around other people and you hear about what she’s capable of and you hear about her toughness and you hear about her perseverance and style of play, she has been a great teammate in the short time she has been there. And it’s just an absolute matter of time.”

On bubble talk and the difference between “opinion” and “insight”

In the lead-up to the announcement of the NCAA tournament field, the Hoosiers faced plenty of outside noise regarding whether or not they would be among the 68 teams chosen. But Crean made a point of telling his players long before Selection Sunday that there are two things out there — opinion and insight — and that there is a huge difference between the two. Opinion, Crean said, comes from a lot of people from the outside. They get paid, which is great because they can make a living, he said, and they get exposure. But at the end of the day, insight is what matters, Crean said. Because insight ultimately comes from the selection committee, the ones who are actually deciding the field.

“The people in the room are going based on what people have earned,” Crean said. “And it’s certainly not a popularity contest.”

And that’s why it doesn’t do any good to speculate about whether they are in the field or not, Crean said. He said he especially is proud of his players — that they are “mature beyond their years” for not letting those outside opinions get to them.

On defensive performance against Northwestern

Looking back at Thursday’s win over Northwestern, Crean commended his players for their defensive performance against the Wildcats — that they applied what they needed to do and stayed aggressive, which in turn led to better offense. He said the Hoosiers’ priorities were to pressure the ball more and take away the Wildcats’ scoring — especially their leading scorer, Tre Demps, who hurt the Hoosiers in the two teams’ first matchup in Evanston (23 points).

The Hoosiers were effective in shutting down Demps on Thursday (four points), but Crean said on Monday that he voted the Wildcats guard as first team all-Big Ten and added that he respected how Demps carried the Wildcats this season.

On James Blackmon Jr.’s shooting struggles

Crean was asked about James Blackmon Jr.’s inconsistencies on the court — as epitomized by his 25 points against Northwestern on Thursday and six against Maryland on Friday. Crean made the point of noting that Blackmon is on the front page of scouting reports and therefore is not getting a lot of free looks. And that also comes down to the fact that since the Hoosiers don’t have much of a frontcourt presence, teams can key in on certain players and scoring threats like Blackmon.

“If there was double-team in that post, could you imagine the open looks those guys would be getting?” Crean said. “It’s not there.”

That said, Crean noted Blackmon is constantly getting better in understanding when to shoot or shot-fake and that ultimately he is a freshman that has played a lot of minutes — and he needs to be applauded for that.

On Wichita State and how they remind him of several other teams

At several points in the show, Crean talked about how difficult of a matchup Wichita State will be on Friday — from their physicality to their experience to their backcourt talent. But Crean said the Shockers are unique. He said they are almost a mix of several opponents the Hoosiers have already faced this season.

“They have a composure and a confidence of Wisconsin, a toughness on the glass of Michigan State, physicality of Purdue,” he said.

He said he knows just how good the Shockers have been over the past two seasons — since the start of the 2013-2014 season they have a 63-5 record. “You can tell they have been together for a while,” Crean said — but when it coms down to Friday’s game, all bets are off.

“We just want to make sure on Friday they are 0-1,” he said.

On his family dealing with the stress of basketball

One member of the show’s audience thanked Crean for turning his wife into a basketball fan. That fan went on to say he is sure Crean’s wife is a fan of basketball, too — only for Crean to counter that statement just seconds after.

“I’m not sure my wife enjoys basketball,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything enjoyable about her going to see one of her son’s games or going to see her husband’s games. I think there’s a lot of anguish there.”

On whether Crean sees Emmitt Holt as a future Indiana starter

After freshman Emmitt Holt’s performance in the Big Ten tournament, Crean did not rule out starting the 6-foot-7 New York native on Friday against Wichita State.

“He’s definitely a player that is capable of being a starting player,” Crean said. “And he is doing an outstanding job.”

Crean reminded fans that as of August, Holt was planning on attending prep school this year instead of college. But while he has had freshman moments this season, Crean said Holt has had “tremendous ones, too.” He commended Holt for his work ethic in and out of practice and that he sees Holt as being “hungry.” More than anything, though, Crean said he is fortunate to have Holt as a part of the program.

“Could he be a starter in this program?” Crean said. “There is no question about that.”

On IU fans support and working alongside Fischer

Finally, in the closing part of the show, Crean took time to acknowledge the fans in attendance for their support over the past season.

“The support all of you have shown over the years and especially the last week — I can’t tell you what that meant to me to walk in here and see so many people being that way,” Crean said. “That gave me a huge jolt for the rest of the week. And again, it’s little things like that that make you really appreciate what people are all about. And the way this place was and the way you have been all year long and the support that you show — it’s beautiful outside today but we’ve also come in here when it was zero degrees out. And the loyalty that all of you have to Indiana basketball and what you’ve shown to the Creans and what you’ve shown to us, that never ever goes unappreciated. I promise you.”

Crean also thanked Fischer for the past seven years the Hoosiers coach has been at Indiana, reflecting on what an honor it has been, he said, to work alongside the broadcasting legend.

“There is a lot of great honors you can get in any walk of life, especially in coaching basketball, but being able to partner up with you (Don Fischer) for the last seven years and being able to be in here with you this year and being here at this podium with you, I’ll put that right at the top, and I’m dead serious,” Crean said. “So thank you, for everything.”

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  • TomJameson

    Oh Snookafly, they would have to be a better team. Ranked #1, probably not, but better yes!

    Adding a big and 2 other big wings – bigness being our glaring need right now I can’t see how that automatically makes us better.

    With an assumption of all the core players returning, they will have improved during the off season in strength and skill sets. Another assumption in their work ethics.

    Yeah, a MUCH improved team!

  • TomJameson

    I hate the idea, but I love the humor.
    Thanks! LOL

  • ForeverIU

    Yep, married and seasoned in the art of compromise!

  • ForeverIU

    Lol, I was being conservative in my assessment.

  • Snookafly

    Oh, I don’t doubt they will be a much improved team next year– the comment from Loop was that they will be better than the ’12-’13 squad with Zeller and Oladipo and I don’t see that happening.

  • hoosier93

    Now the rumor is that Crean, Yogi and Williams are going to Alabama lol. It’s believable when it just includes Crean. But when you throw in a Jr star PG and a So. SF that is becoming a star then well…. it all just falls apart and becomes a good joke.

  • enickman

    I think I just threw up in my mouth!

  • INUnivHoosier

    Team vacation, maybe.

  • KmanCRK

    Forgive me if I don’t factor in how a team did in previous years when looking at this year. Even their coach acknowledges that this isn’t the same team.

    I’m not saying they are terrible or a pushover.

    I’m assuming your deep dive into research already saw this, but let’s take a look at who they’ve beat (that is in the tourney – THIS YEAR), which was/is my point:

    TWO wins against tourney teams. N. Iowa (home) and a New Mexico St. team (home) that has a RPI > 100 and only made the tourney by winning their conf tournament.

    They lost to N. Iowa (road), and Utah (road).

    That my friend, is their resume. In my opinion, this helps skew their Kenpom #’s by playing a bunch of garbage teams. They are 1-2 against legit tournament teams.

    Are you really going to play the, “everyone in America is afraid to play them” card? Please.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    This has grown tiresome. KenPom is adjusted for stregth of schedule.

    Yes, people are afraid to play Witchita State. Is that hard to grasp? At the risk of losing to a team from the MVC that Big conference luddites like yourself view as inferior? Wjhy would Bill Self (or Tom Crean) want to do that?

    I’m done with this. Keep that head in the sand.

  • IU diehard from CT

    Good for you

  • DRT

    Agreed with you on UCLA.

    But Murray state is out because they have 0 top 50 wins and only 2 top 100 wins, a 242 SOS and a 59 RPI. They also have a sub 200 RPI loss.

  • enickman

    Thank you! I couldn’t have done it without your Crean is the next Coach K love fest!

  • IU diehard from CT

    Really man? Get serious

  • enickman

    OK

  • enickman

    You know I’m not a Crean fan but it is totally wrong for pejoratives to be thrown at him and his family in a way that causes such issues for the family. Not good! Go Hoosiers!

  • Snookafly

    This is nothing compared to how bad it was for Davis.

  • KmanCRK

    Ah man, I was really hoping to hear your take on who’ve they beat.

  • calbert40

    I sure don’t remember it that way.

  • calbert40

    Completely agree, Tom. Well put.

  • Snookafly

    I’ve never seen another coach call in sick to a game because the fans were more supportive of his opponent’s coach (Alford and the Iowa game). You think saying “Crean sucks” next to his wife is bad? People must have forgotten all the loud comments on “coaching and race” –to put it politely– that were going on in the Hall. It was shameful. Can you imagine how high school kids felt hearing that? What Crean has to endure today is not much more than most coaches nearing their way out.

  • cooper

    I wasn’t calling you personally a sheep. Saying in general. I don’t understand the logic of the argument because, in your opinion, he overachieved in the first three years, he is allowed to underschieve going forward? At what point is the past no longer an excuse?

    Again it depends what you think IU should and could be. Everyone hates Calipari but he and some other top coaches would have IU much farther along. Hell Tony Bennett is farther along at UVA playing horrible style with a team that’s been an ACC doormat

    If you think IU can be and is a top 10 program 7 years is unacceptable. If you think we are just a middle of the road team well I guess this what we can expect

  • NorthernHoosier

    Sorry I should have been more specific. Contend in the Big Ten. I will give a pass on the tourney as long as we are contenders in the big ten.

  • VanPastorMan

    I like your point about the high school team chanting against Crean’s son. It’s probably not a hatred against Coach Crean,but just trying to get under his son’s skin. Is that what you meant?

  • VanPastorMan

    My Dad would have a problem with you. Even though he was raised in Washington,IN he is a huge Boston Red Sox fan. He did like Jeter a lot though.

  • VanPastorMan

    Tom, I think the internet lets people let out the real them. It would be a good exercise for all of us to monitor how we respond to attacks and whether we are attacking others ourselves simply because we can. People call each other idiots,morons etc and in the real world it would lead to a punch in the nose. So they hide behind their computer screens and spew all kinds of filth and nonsense.

  • calbert40

    It is a very small distinction in my mind, but that’s fine if you find my views sheep-like. (Actually, my views are in the minority, so I don’t think that’s accurate). Then you suggest my points are illogical. That’s fine if you feel that way, honestly, but I’d like to clarify my points, because you have me pegged incorrectly.

    1) I don’t think we overachieved those first three years. If anything the hole we climbed out of was deeper than any of us imagined 7 years ago. I believe we climbed out of that deep hole quicker than anticipated. I give Crean a lot of credit for that feat.

    2) I would like for you to show me where I have given the first three years of Crean’s tenure as an excuse for this team’s play. I can save you some time, if you’d like, though. I haven’t, and I won’t.

    3) I have high expectations for the program also, but I believe it is only fair to consider this Year 4 of the Crean era. I have posted this in various spots, but many coaches whom are considered elite have struggled during four year stretches. Specifically, I have highlighted Thad Matta on this thread. OSU has been rewarded for their patience. All I am suggesting is that IU exercise the same level of patience with Crean. He has done a much better job than most people give him credit. Most people are only able to see his record over the past four years through their passion as opposed to their reason.

    4)The UVA / Bennett comparison actually is a good one for me. First, UVA wasn’t quite the ACC doormat you suggest. They would have been the equivalent of Minnesota or Iowa (occasionally make the tourney, typically around the middle of the pack in the conference). So, it would be like Pitino winning the B1G at Minny two years in a row. A solid job, but not quite the turnaround that IU went through. Bennett didn’t have two returning scholarship players when he took over. Also, he didn’t have the same expectations.

    Secondly, Bennett didn’t turn the program around overnight.

    Year 1: 15-16, 5-11 – no postseason
    Year 2: 16-15, 7-9 – no postseason
    Year 3: 22-10, 9-7 – lost in 2nd round
    Year 4: 23-12, 11-7 – NIT
    Year 5: 30-7, 16-2 – Sweet 16
    Year 6: 29-3, 16-2 – (I predict MSU beats them in 2nd rd)

    So, the guy that is everyone’s coaching darling doesn’t have as good of a track record as Crean does, and he didn’t have the same level of rebuild either.

    I guess my point is two-fold. We should expect more out of the program than what we got this season. We also need to be realistic about where we are as a program. Even if we lose tomorrow night, we will have had a four year stretch very similar to what UVa is having, and that is after a total system reboot.

    Going forward, we need more than what we got the last two seasons. But we need not to hold that against this roster and Crean THIS season. This year has actually been better or right at what most of us expected back in October. I don’t think Crean is a Top 10 coach in America, but I certainly disagree with those who believe he is amongst the worst. He wouldn’t have ascended to this position if he didn’t know what he was doing.

  • IUBizmark

    Yes, that’s what I meant.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    I know one more team they’ve beat, jabroni.

  • KmanCRK

    Our recipe for success didn’t work. We didn’t outscore them. Dammit.

    Wich St. got themselves another sub-50 RPI win.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Oops. They beat Kansas too. You’re even more wrong now!

    Or is Kansas terrible too?