Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 72-49 win over Penn State on Wednesday at Assembly Hall.
Watch and listen to his postgame comments in the embedded media player below:
Quotes after the jump.
“The thing that I look at with our team is that they are really trying to put themselves in a place where they can hang their hat on the defensive end, and we’re getting there. The other day, we told them that there are two teams in the country in the top 10 in field goal percentage defense and field goal percentage offense, and we’re one of them. We want to stay in that position. Right now, the biggest thing we can work on is making sure that we are getting better as individual defenders, collective defenders, that our rebounding continues to improve, and that we keep turning defense into offense. Sometimes you can do that in this league, and sometimes you can’t. But the bottom line is that you’ve got to be able to defend. I think that tonight with 64 deflections, holding them to 13 percent from the three, 33 percent from the field. We had three guys with double figure deflections with Cody, Victor, and Jordan, and Will had nine. Those are good things. Those are really good things for us. We’re trying to integrate a lot of different guys into the lineup at different times. It’s easier said than done. That’s why I know that we are going to keep getting better, because eventually some of those things are going to click. Right now, we don’t have tremendous synergy when we go to the bench. But I think over the long hall, we will get it. And that’s what we’re trying to build towards now. (Penn State) is a hard team to play against. They play tough, competitive, control basketball. In the sense that they are playing at their pace. I think (Pat Chambers) is doing an excellent job as a coach. I don’t think there is any doubt about it. I think they are going to have a very good team moving forward. I thought our guys again tonight were really locked in with what we had to do defensively, and what we had to do to win the game. And they did.”
Is that defensive mindset coming from the coaches or players?
“(The coaches) are not guarding anybody. I don’t think I can keep anybody in front of me or keep them off the boards. That’s them. They want to be really good. I think they really understood that was something throughout the off season and early season that they had to get a lot better at and they are. They’re doing an excellent job of continuing to improve. It’s a hard league. You don’t have the best league in the country on one end of the floor. You’ve got to not only be able to score but to guard people in this league. Our guys are doing a much better job of that game to game.”
Can you talk about the three stops in a row at the start of the second half?
“The three stops in a row is a big, big deal to us. The deflections are a big deal to us. The field goal percentages, three-point wise and overall are big deals to us. The defensive rebounds are a big deal to us. Those are things that are really easy to look at and say well they score a lot of points. Sometimes in this league, 72 is a really good night, and it’s way under where we would be. But that’s a pretty good night in the Big Ten. A game last night was in the forties. We’re not trying to play that way, but sometimes you’ve got to deal with what the game brings. I think that these guys are really understanding that they’ll go as far as their defense takes them.”
Talk about the evolution of Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell and Victor Oladipo as shooters?
“Hard work. They spent a lot of time at it. Yogi did an excellent job tonight shooting the ball. You could see it yesterday. We walked through on Monday, and we probably had the shortest practice of the year yesterday. Outside of weightlifting, we were probably on the court for about an hour and five minutes. So we lost a lot of our rhythm. It got us a little tonight. We have a hard stretch coming up. Next week is three games. Its Sunday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Every game is going to be an absolute battle. I knew we might be giving up a little bit in execution to make sure that we had really good energy and build it over the long hall. But at the same time, those guys spent a lot of extra time shooting the ball. I thought Will shot the ball extremely well. We made 11 threes. I think that’s really positive.”