Morehead State to bring plenty of challenges

  • 12/04/2015 9:36 pm in

After getting blown out Wednesday at Duke, things don’t necessarily get much easier for IU when Morehead State comes to town Saturday.

The Eagles have just one loss – by one to a tough Illinois State team on the road – and are on a four-game win streak.

Tom Crean described them as a team that wouldn’t shock anyone if they won their conference.

“They’re playing extremely well right now,” Crean said on Friday. “They bring relentless pressure defensively. They can switch all five positions, they can shoot, they run the dribble drive offense and they run it really, really well. It’s like the dribble drive on steroids.”

Morehead State does two things well that IU struggles with. The Eagles rank 16th in the country in turnovers forced (17.7), and 17th in the nation in offensive rebounding (15.7).  They also have the best scoring defense in the country, allowing just 54.5 points per game.

“They’re all over the glass,” Crean said. “It’s going to be a challenge.”

IU will have its hands full on defense, as it will with most opponents this year. After playing a mix of zone and man-to-man defense against Duke, Crean says he isn’t going to simplify the defense. He noted an example of nobody being in the corner and bumping out to nobody Wednesday.

“That’s an awareness issue, that’s a communication issue,” Crean said. “Those things can’t happen whether you’re in man or zone. I don’t know if it’s a matter of simplifying it’s a matter of being better at what we’re doing.”

He also said the Hoosiers didn’t play the ball hard enough, and says it’s easier said than done to keep opponents in front of the ball. Duke wanted to get to the free throw line, he added, and that trying to stop the dribble penetration often caused open shooters on the perimeter.

“We probably were a little too worried about the dribble instead of just attacking it,” Crean said. “We were conscious about the drive.”

He said IU must be more aggressive early on. With freshman Thomas Bryant manning the post, Crean said it will be a while before the rim protection is where he wants it to be.

While Morehead State doesn’t have the height to stay matched up with IU, Bryant and others will have to pay attention to DeJuan Marrero, a forward, who leads the Eagles in rebounds per game at 6.7.

After being asked a question about his best scorers being weaker defenders and how it differs from teams in the past, Crean gave a very basic answer that he would later repeat several times.

“I think we just have to work to get better and work to improve in every area of what we’re doing,” he said. “It starts in practice and we need to carry it over.”

Filed to:

  • absolutely.

  • rich

    I’m really starting to question this great recruiter thing. There is no doubt that he has brought in some tremendous talent, even took

  • Maybe CTC is too intent on innovation, wants to be the new ‘Chip Kelly’ of basketball and can’t quite get it done?

  • And actually any average college coach, including IU’s!

  • Semantics aside, I agree.

  • straight no chaser

    Who is going to decide on “a really good coach”? Can you trust the same people who are empowering Crean?

  • Ole Man

    I’m not sure he intends it as flattery towards me! LOL.

  • SilentBob

    Personally I just don’t think he is a quitter which is a quality I admire. But I don’t see how he can continue to put his family through this. But at the same time the man needs to take care of his future too. If he doesn’t give up the buyout he can use that as leverage for Glass to help him find a job elsewhere.

  • ToothGuy

    Noted and certainly not taken personally. Let me rebut the two issues you raised…

    Money – I’ll concede that money is of some importance in every decision, but it is a fairly minor factor in the current context of IU basketball. My humble guess is that adequate money would “show up” if it were directed toward the betterment of the program…and even more so if tied to a beloved, successful alum/legend. Regardless, if money was a deciding factor then the search for this role could be narrowed to those willing to take it on as an “honorary” position and not receive University compensation.

    Confusing Responsibility – I didn’t explain the role in detail in an effort to be succinct. The AD calls the shots and the coach runs the program…as is customary. The GM/mentor is an adjunct to the program who provides insight on a team-level and on an individual-level when asked. This role is active during the offseason and then fades into a “just for prestige” role during the season. They don’t call plays or undermine anyone’s authority. They do, however, give formal NBA-level feedback to recruits and current players. They speak at fundraisers and camps. They bolster in-state ties. They create a conduit for one last chance to bring RMK back into the fold…even if its just his blessing for a statue (but preferably a court naming or HoF induction). Obviously, it would have to be someone suited well for the role. The fact remains, it would provide an NBA voice and respect without bringing in an NBA or D-League coach (I firmly believe college basketball is a more strategic level and requires a better Xs and Os coach).

    You likely still don’t agree, but that may clear up my proposal.

  • SilentBob

    Patience? That’s all I got lol. But still, I’m thankful that he was willing to come in at a rough time when others wouldn’t. He had a good thing going at Marquette. I don’t know him so I’m just going to go off of what his former players have said and assume he is a good guy. I think he should leave, but I don’t want to tar and feather the man.

  • Arch Puddington

    Three. We hard after Zimmerman, Okonoboh, and Dwayne Morgan.

  • phaluska

    Great comment. AJ had more heart than most of these guys will know. That block on Boozer is a top 10 IU play for me. Was that the last time we beat Duke?

  • straight no chaser

    Then he doesn’t know anything about poetry!

  • straight no chaser

    Exactly, I think he is overzealous about leaving his mark. Innovators usually master the “traditional” fundamentals first before they begin experimenting. But CTC is too stubborn in his delusions.

  • BL

    Bingo!

    You don’t win championships without truly great players. Knight could attest to that; three championships in 29 years. Unlike many, I don’t believe our current roster is championship run caliber. As mentioned above, biggest glaring weakness is lack of front line size and depth. That said, we could be much more competitive if our defensive scheme as you suggest, leveraged our players. Knight’s defensive approach (intelligent individual positioning with good weak-side awareness and help) was effective no matter the talent level. That’s why his down years were much more acceptable than Crean’s.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    I wish that everything is great and was with IU basketball but it isn’t. CTC is the coach and he will be for the entire season. Everyone on this board has a strong opinion and rightfully so. I hope that everything works well for the program and I wish that everyone would stop attacking CTC as a human being. He wants to win as everyone else wants and his family’s income is dependent on that. He is being paid greatly and I am lost with words on the frustration of what is going on. Peace to everyone and I/team would get ripped in sports articles when we didn’t win football games in the 80’s even though we won the Holiday Bowl. Being ripped apart is a terrible aspect for anyone to handle. I hope for the best for Tom Cream and the program.

  • His brother-in-laws’s accomplishment may have possibly motivated him toward an over-reaching goal. I agree CTC does seem to be sttubborn and maybe a little arrogant?

  • I was watching the Duke vs Buffalo game.. It’s almost the half and Buffalo is playing them a lot tougher than IU did At least so far they’re styin’ in this game.. down by a few, but they’re competing.

  • Outoftheloop

    The GM can do nothing except advise the Coach and/or AD even given your clarified explanation. Why pay for NBA input by one person when you receive it now from 20 plus NBA executives for free?

  • Outoftheloop

    Define what you mean by the term “empowering”: 1) not breaking a valid contract; 2) hiring Crean- Glass was not at IU then; 3) extending Crean’s contract after a great 5 year rebuilding program including a B1G Title and 2 straight Sweet Sixteens! You just have your own limited opinion. Most people believed that 1) not breaking a valid contract is good; 2) Crean was a good to very good choice at the time of his hiring; 3) the extension was deserved at the time. The AD picks the Coach. If he picks wrong, then the AD gets fired.

  • straight no chaser

    I’m listening to Tom Crean pregame with Fisher while driving. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a guy speak so confidently while making no sense and with his seat on fire.

  • Do you live in Portland, Oregon?

  • BL

    Belly laughing. Also, put down your phone; dangerous while driving.

  • eville87

    Not at all. I wasn’t speaking as a coach but in the community.

  • Ole Man

    He doesn’t. He’s just diggin’ at me.
    I consider the source and ignore it.