Coach Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 75-56 win over North Carolina Central at Assembly Hall. Watch the press conference in high-definition quality video in the embedded media player below:
Quotes after the jump.
“First thing we said to the guys after the game is what the coaches were doing in 1989-1990. Everyone was able to age themselves a little as this is the first season since 1989-1990 there has been an Indiana team undefeated in non-conference play. That is a big deal and is something the players can carry with them. We wanted to have great preparation tonight for what we might see down the road. This time of year you are always going to play tough games with teams who have a potential pro or multiple pro players. You will play against teams who have a specialty and who play with a variety of styles. I thought our guys did a nice job inside the game tonight not letting the slow pace they dealt with on defense affect them too much. At the same time, we needed to get better inside of the game and we did that in the second half. I thought we were much better in the second half in terms of activity and communication. That is how we have to be as the harder the games, the tougher we have to be. We have to be that much more hard-nosed and hard-lined. That is what our team is learning. We have not been a situation like we are in this season. There are a lot of lessons to be learned as we go through the rest of this season.
“I thought we had a lot of players who impacted the game in a variety of ways. Christian impacted the game in the second half with the way he defended. You can look at the scoring, but when one aspect of your game is not working, you have to work on other parts. I thought Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey played like they were the best athletes on the floor. They both had double figure deflections and guarded at a high level. They also had a very good stat line. We challenged Cody and Victor to rebound even more than they have been to pick up the slack from others. They did that tonight. Cody played a very good game tonight and had a big impact on the game. Will Sheehey had a great game and gave us a big lift in the second half. The wins are not always pretty and they rarely are, but you have to find ways to take what the game is giving you on the offensive game along with staying locked in and focused on the defensive end. That is what I thought our team did tonight.
“We are excited about the win and are excited to have had some great visitors in the locker room tonight. The only thing Jim Harbaugh was missing was his black 49ers cap as he looked like he does on the sidelines of 49ers games. We had the NFL head coach of the year and executive of the year talking to our team before and after the game. We had some very honored guests. Tonight was a great night for us and we are looking forward to jumping right back into conference play.”
On the rebounding effort tonight:
“I thought we were very active tonight. I thought our block-outs were much better. We slipped up a bit against Iowa in blocking out when we previously had been solid. Dominic Sutton for North Carolina Central is one of the best athletes to play in Assembly Hall this year and we had guys that battled with him tonight. He is a very good player and he is a double figure rebounder. If you are not locked in to rebounding like we were tonight, a young man like Sutton can take over the glass. We have to rebound the ball as a whole better, but we have several guys who have to get into the mix and come up with the boards.”
On players like Oladipo, Sheehey, and Zeller playing efficient offensive games:
“I think it is good. When you are coaching the game, you are not really thinking about that. That is for the film and looking at the numbers. We game planned tonight like we do for every other game. There were no pre-conceived notions with a player saying he wanted to get these numbers or those numbers. I am coaching to win the game. You are doing your program a disservice if you are not winning in the best way possible. It is about performance and getting better. You have to bring some substantial qualities to the game to be successful with where we are heading. I am more interested in overall performance than offensive efficiency per say.”
On working with a player going through a scoring slump:
“I think you saw what we did with Christian tonight. We continued to play him. When he made the pass to Derek Elston for the dunk that was the highlight of the night for me. Every player wants to score points and play freely with the run of play, but that is not always the case. We would not have been in the situation we are in this season with 21 wins without the play of Christian Watford. The bottom line is Christian bringing things to the table that make us better in the game. There are very few players who would want to have to go up against Christian when he is guarding them. I think it is important we keep remembering and most importantly, that I keep reminding Christian that he has improved so much. He will make shots as he shot well in practice the last couple of days. I spend more time on players passing up open shots and taking bad shots than players going through scoring slumps. As long as we are taking good shots, being active, and not forcing things, we will be successful. To me, it is about getting a win. We have great facilities in Cook Hall and Assembly Hall and there is no time our players cannot go in there to get better. Many of players use those resources. We need our players to go in there and make themselves better so it is difficult me not to play them.”