Comments from head coach Tom Crean following IU’s 71-54 win over Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall. The comments are from Crean’s postgame radio interview with Don Fischer:
On the win:
“It was really was (a good win), especially on the defensive end. They got off to a good start and our guys just held in there. And that’s one of those games that a year ago, we could have been down 10 or 12 at halftime, the way we were missing shots. But we just kept guarding and when you look at the last 45 seconds of the first half to the 10:15 mark of the second half, we were on a 27-3 run. And that’s really, really, really good defense. We had 44 deflections on the night. We won the field goal percentage defense battle, we won the rebounding battle, we won the points off of turnovers battle and that’s the kind of stuff we have to do to be successful.”
On being able to hold Mississippi Valley State scoreless for such a long stretch:
“That says a lot about our team because we have a ways to go on the offensive end as far as the synergy of playing together and working things out. And they were a good team, I don’t think we were wrong on that at all. But the bottom line was the guys really, really followed the scouting report and they knew it began and ended with defense and rebounding. And those are the things that are really big for us. I think something I’ve never seen, Victor Oladipo was plus 30 on the plus-minus tonight and only played 15 minutes. That says a lot. We had a lot of guys that were real high. Jeremiah Rivers, again, at plus 11. Bobby Capobianco and Christian plus 14, Jordan Hulls plus 11, Verdell plus 10. But for Victor to be plus 30, my goodness, that’s excellent.”
On the three things the team can control each night:
“The thing that was said in the pregame. No matter how we play or no matter what the style of play is that we’re facing, three things we have to control every night. Number one, we have to control our attitude. We have to control our mindset. And we have to control our unselfishness. And I thought we did a pretty good job in all three of those areas.”
BLOOMINGTON — Some of the old weaknesses remain. Surely, you remember them: the endless string of frustrations, the turnovers and sloppy offensive sets and lack of low-post production.
It helped that no one seemed interested in defending Verdell Jones within five feet of the basket, from his first point to his 27th. And it helped that Christian Watford got more assertive offensively in the second half, taking over during a particularly offense-deprived stretch when IU sorely needed some points.
But what does it say about this team that the fouls (24) can pile up, turnovers can still drag opponents back into games and Indiana is still capable of long scoring droughts (6:53 in the middle of the second half) and yet is still capable of winning by 23 points when the pre-game line hovered around 5.5?
“It just gives us an identity. We’re a defensive team,” Watford said afterward. “We understand that, and we’re willing to work at that.”
Identity … at Indiana … imagine that. Defensive identity to boot. This from the Indiana team that actually gave up as many points last year to Bo Ryan’s perfect-for-the-Big Ten offense in Madison as its football brethren did on Saturday. (A cheap shot, but an illustrative one.)
Indiana closed down Wright State. Outside of a brief bout of offensive success to start the game, the Raiders were smothered. At the first TV timeout, Wright State led 7-4, with a 3-of-5 shooting line. It scored 37 points, and shot a miserable 12-of-41 over the game’s remaining 35:51. The 19 points Wright State scored in the first half marked the lowest number for any opponent in the Crean era.
Not bad, eh?
“We’ve just got to cut down on our turnovers and stuff like that,” Watford added to the end of the aforementioned comment. “We’ll be OK.”
So it’s not all sunshine and light. And I acknowledge that Wright State doesn’t present the challenge of Kentucky, or of Boston College, or even of Penn State. (Maybe of Iowa. Rough night for the Hawkeyes.)
Indiana head coach Tom Crean, Verdell Jones and Victor Oladipo met with the media following the Hoosiers’ 67-44 win over Wright State on Sunday night at Assembly Hall. Watch Crean, Jones and Oladipo address the media in the embedded media players below:
Indiana head coach Tom Crean and sophomore forward Christian Watford, who scored a career-high 24 points, met with the media following the Hoosiers’ 88-60 season-opening win over Florida Gulf Coast. Watch Watford’s comments as well as Crean’s complete press conference in the embedded media players below:
Per a release from IU Media Relations, here’s Tom Crean’s comments this early evening about his latest recruit, Cody Zeller:
“When I look at Cody Zeller, I see a great teammate. I see a young man that has mental toughness that is not normal. I see a young man that has endurance and a will about him that is going to pay dividends at Indiana and for many years after that. Obviously he is a year-round winner from the programs that he is in. He plays for one of the finest coaches in all of high school basketball in Gene Miiller and the proof is there in his record.
“But getting to know Cody and getting to know his family, much like Austin’s, it would have been an absolute shame to not be surrounded by those guys and what they mean as people. The basketball is going to be without question, there is no doubt about that. Cody will continue to improve and the rate of improvement that he has been in over the last year and then watching where he was at over the summer to where he is at now…when you use the phrase “the sky is the limit,” you can put Cody Zeller’s name next to it. I see no ceiling right now for that young man.
“Athletically, ability-wise, stature…but when you look at the entire package and what he has as a human being that is what makes him stand out for us. He is as good of a defensive rebounder as I have ever recruited, not just because of his size but because of his tenaciousness. He has improved his range, he has improved his skill set. He is outstanding at the elbow area and is very good around the post. But what he is getting now more than ever is the ability to shoot the ball from range.”
Oh, and Austin Etherington, too:
“I remember the first time I saw him play in an open gym workout, he had been injured his sophomore year, but there was no doubt that we saw enough inside that first workout to go back the next week. From that, we got hooked on this young man’s athletic ability, on his ability to shoot the ball, on his ability to built a physical nature, even though he was not that physical-type of kid.
“But the thing I love is that he loves basketball. He has a high-level of athletic upside and this summer is when he really started to take shape. One thing that is big in our recruiting is that we want to recruit year-round winners and certainly Austin is that way. Whether it is the winter time or the summertime, he is a year-round winner.”