Crean: “I’m the first one that’s getting too far ahead”

  • 11/30/2013 11:32 am in

Indiana coach Tom Crean saw his team’s potential in perhaps its worst half of the season.

On Friday, Nov. 22, in the 2K Sports Classic final against then-No. 18 Connecticut, his Hoosiers went 9-for-24 from the field, had 12 turnovers and somehow only trailed, 30-24. Though Indiana would subsequently lose the game, 59-58, Crean was convinced.

“You’ve got limited time and you’re trying to not wear them down and they are young guys, and you’ve got a million things you’re thinking about,” he said on Nov. 26, following Indiana’s 77-46 win against Evansville. “But the bottom line is we just have to get better at certain things every day and not get ahead of ourselves. We never get ahead of ourselves game wise, but we are asking them to learn a lot.”

Seven games into the season, Crean has a lot to be optimistic about.

As of Saturday morning, Indiana (6-1) was the No. 4 offensive rebounding team (45.6 offensive rebounding percentage) in the nation and was No. 11 in getting to the foul line with a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 60.6 percent. His team is playing to the pace he wants with an adjusted tempo of 74.3 possessions per game, which ranks 20th nationally.

Indiana is also averaging 86.4 points per game — No. 24 in the country — and is limiting opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 39.5, which is fifth nationally.

But his team is still one of the youngest in the country, one that has six freshmen and five sophomores on scholarship. According to, the Hoosiers rank 325th in the country in terms of experience.

“I’m the first one that’s getting too far ahead, and I realized that today,” Crean said after the Evansville win.

“I think the hard thing for me, I see how good they can be. I see their talent level. I’ve known them for so long through the recruiting process and things like that. I want greatness for them.”

His only returning starter from last season, sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell, is scoring a team-high 18.1 points and dishing out 3.9 assists per game. Freshman forward Noah Vonleh has started five of his seven games of his college career with a double double and is averaging 12.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg, though. Ten players are playing more than seven minute per game, ranging from five of Indiana’s six freshmen (excluding Collin Hartman) to both its seniors, Will Sheehey and Evan Gordon.

Indiana’s depth, perhaps, is its best in recent memory.

“We’ve got a deep team,” sophomore Jeremy Hollowell said. “A lot of different guys come in and play different positions. I mean, it really doesn’t matter to focus on (starters) if you think about it.”

Still, Crean knows there is a lot more to improve on.

Through seven games, Indiana’s 3-point shooting, which last season was at 40.3 percent, is down to 28 percent, and Ferrell (17) has made more than half of the team’s 30 makes.

Indiana also turns the ball over on 20.8 percent of its possessions — No. 280 of 351 teams in the NCAA. Its fast break game is nowhere near Crean wants it to be.

But he sees the potential in his team. It’s hard not to, he says. But instead of focusing on the big picture, Crean will continue to focus on the next task at hand: this time stopping the No. 8 team in the country on Tuesday, No. 8 Syracuse (7-0).

“I’m saying as a coach, don’t get ahead of myself and that we absolutely take each day for what it is,” he said. “Improve what we’ve got to improve upon, emphasize what needs to be emphasized upon, adjust what needs to be adjusted and just keep making sure that every day we walk out of here, they got better fundamentally.

“And then I think the future takes care of itself so to speak. But we’ve got a lot of talent, there’s no doubt about that. We have got a lot of willing guys but we have got a lot of things to learn and I’ve got to keep remembering that as a coach.”

All tempo-free stats via

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  • Steve Fischer

    Mr. Crean you’re great coach but give us fans some credit… each and everyone of us sees this team’s potential. You can settle this issue about being too far ahead on Tuesday because if we beat #8 Syracuse – the future is now!

  • Hoosier_DC

    Speaking of the future. If Noah V. has a couple more games like the UConn game we may be able to enjoy his services next year as well. If he continues to avg a double double the NBA will come knocking hard.

  • notfargj

    thanks for the post, jordan!

  • wesmont

    Just great to see a coach accept the fact that he ,like his team,also makes mistakes.A breath of fresh air after decades of listening to you know who NEVER admit a mistake.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    These are great numbers for such a young team, still early because many teams are still playing cupcakes. I wonder how they stack up against last year’s team at this stage?
    I know our assist ratio is down but that is to be expected when you run our style of play and Yogi, chucking 3’s.
    I think our 3 pt shot selection is not well planned, mainly because we play such a fast break game and if the lane or post is open then go for the high percentage shot. But once we back it back out then we need to look for our big’s, then wings or d drive.
    We are exploiting the new rules just fine but we need to be closer to 80% at the FT line…good thing our number are going up which is coming thru practice.
    I’m still not happy with the quick 3, we are better at the fast break basket and then or D turning into offense for the quick basket. This is CTC style we are going to have to get used to. So be patience on Yogi, JH, etc shooting the quick 3.
    What I don’t understand is that AE and Hartman were supposed to be pure shooters? They either don’t have the green light or not looking for the shot?
    Please explain?
    I do believe we will give the Cuse a run for their money because of our depth and length but they have the same, so we do have a match up problem. If we can open the lanes, not rely on the 3 and own the boards and put backs, we’ll be right there. But the two things that will affect the game is how the Zebra’s will call the game (i.e. NV foul trouble, etc) and home court advantage.
    If we can control the speed and fast breaks and keep the FT’s close we’ll have a close game….but one thing that no one is talking about is REVENGE, but we don’t have enough players to appreciate the fact.

  • Dflahardy

    Devin Davis as a senior, I wanna see that,,

  • Dflahardy

    I’m gonna lead pipe lock this in, the cuse game will be close and we will win it,, gotta contain fair,,

  • SCHoosier

    If TC really IS “looking ahead too much”..I think the “Cuse will probably cure that…unfortunately. IU has a shot but must play its best and really defend..creating scores after TO’s before that zone eats them up.

  • MillaRed

    That 3 point shot sure comes up and there are differing opinions. But there are so many reasons to make better decisions.

    – we don’t shoot them well
    – at times we are forcing the three when not open
    – we get to the free throw line when we run our offense
    – we are a deep team that needs to make them play defense, wear em out

    Such an easy fix and I think it could make a difference in close games..

    Thank God Michael Carter Williams is gone.

  • Ole Man

    I didn’t get your take on that. What mistake did he admit?
    Also, you’re weren’t paying attention because there were many times when BK shouldered the blame for a loss.

  • Bruce Clark

    I don’t read it as TC looking ahead opponent wise, but rather he is excited about the potential of the team. Williams should be a superstar – but in his 2nd year. Fischer should round out into a top-notch center, HP will be an excellent 4 year player – and NV is looking like a potential NBA lottery pick.

    I really like our depth, but we need to keep in mind the youth of the team.

    As an aside, I really like our chances against anyone this year. We are much deeper than most teams.

  • Kyl470

    I think their is very little chance IU beats Syracuse, but like Crean I do think the future is bright for this group. I think they can be a top 4 team in the Big Ten and next year really be a force.

  • b_side

    If Noah V has a couple more games like UConn, we won’t be terribly successful either. I’d much rather have us winning games and him dominating vs. the team falling in the tank. It’s in our, and his, best interests to continue winning and averaging a double double. The more bigs Crean develops and sends to the lottery, the better we can recruit more bigs on a national level. Besides, no guarantee he leaves just because he’s a projected lottery pick – ask Cody and Marcus Smart.

  • b_side

    After seeing this team nearly knock off UConn without much contribution from Vonleh and TW, I’m more confident about our chances vs. ‘Cuse than I was two weeks ago.

  • wesmont

    BK never admitted blame for a loss or boorish behavior of any kind EVER.Here CTC admits he’s expecting them to be good fast,and just perhaps,he admits ,he’s expects alot before they can learn it.

  • IUED

    We might beat Cuse if Crean looks at 1987 tape of NCAA Final. THAT IS HOW YOU BEAT THE ZONE.

  • doodle777

    These stats are absolutely useless, When you beat Ivy Tech, Saint Mary of the woods and Rose Hulman you can’t honestly look at your stats. I hope I am wrong but Yogi’s team is going to get a rude awakening starting against SU and on into Big ten season. I would love to have a dollar for every time Yogi dribbles this season around in circles. Didn’t Kentucky win it all with Freshman???? I hate Kentucky too but folks I am sorry these kids live with a ball in their hand, two years from now Perea still won’t catch the ball, 2 years from now Yogi will still be 5’9 and still won’t get a shot off in the big ten, two years from now Hollowell will still dribble ball out of bounds (hopefully on another team)

  • Deserthoosier

    I don’t believe Cuse played solely zone in 87 as they do now.

  • ScoopGeoff

    So who plays the role of Steve Alford?

    And the only way to beat it is with a a jump shot in the final seconds?

  • Ole Man

    That’s not admitting a mistake. And you’re still wrong about Knight.

  • Calvin Murphy

    False. Knight accepted blame many times. Geez. This is not a fact that is in dispute or a secret.

  • Calvin Murphy

    We’re not close to having a team yet that can win in a place like the Carrier Dome against a top team. If we’re lucky, this promising bunch may be able to snag a road game vs. a top Big Ten team, but we are very much not there yet. And we didn’t switch coaches either, from the guy who could not solve a zone defense with some of the top, experienced, upperclassmen talent in the country. One step at a time…and this is a step too far at this stage.

  • marcusgresham

    Shades of Draymon Green? A bit smaller, but better ballhandler by the time it’s all said and done.

  • Oldguyy

    Wow…another genius who believes Syracuse’s zone caused IU to miss free throws and wide-open jumpers, and the referees to call the game the way they did. Better go back to analyzing your navel, Cal.

  • ForeverIU

    Some thoughts about the Syracuse game:

    1) Crean is a facilitator, not a puppeteer.

    2) Last year we lost more games at home than on the road.

    3) As many have pointed out, it is time we shake off the zone obsession and just play basketball. (we didn’t lose because of the zone last year).

    4) We have everything to gain and nothing to lose from the Syracuse game. I know our kids will fight it out to the end, win or lose.

    5) Revenge and payback is nonsense. Here is what Billy Donovan had to say last year before his second game with Arkansas (after UArk beat them the first meeting):

    “I have never been a big believer in payback,” Donovan said. “I don?t
    know what that means. What do you get back? This is the next game that
    is in front of us. Maybe if they said ‘Listen if you win the game
    they’?re going to give you the (previous) game’, maybe we’?ll have
    payback. I don?t see the point of payback.”

  • SCHoosier

    Huuuuummmm..Green had a great jumper mid-range and 3 pt..don’t think DD even thinks about it?

  • SCHoosier

    IU didn’t lose last year because of the zone???..let;s see..Hoosiers couldn’t shoot against it (rushed long shots)..couldn’t pass against it (TO’s) or penetrate it with the dribble (more TO’s)_. Hoosiers had no chance to use their athletic ability in the game cause Orange never played guess you are right..the zone didn’t beat IU last year???Come on.

  • ForeverIU

    I didn’t say the zone did not contribute to our loss last year. I said we didn’t lose BECAUSE of it. It would have kept it a close game, yes. But what did the zone have to do with our poor free throw shooting (about 62%, well below our average that year). I’m not blaming the loss on any single player, but Hulls went 0/6 from three; the zone doesn’t fully account for this. We would have stayed in the game if it weren’t for these two factors alone (if we’d made even 5 more points on free throws and one three from Hulls). Plus what people have said about poor officiating and injuries on our team (although I can’t attest to this myself). I think it would be a mistake to overplay the importance of the zone, as important as it is.

  • marcusgresham

    Hulls WAS one of those injuries. Oh, wait, no he wasn’t–he couldn’t have been injured because he wasn’t fouled.

  • ForeverIU

    Yes, during the Temple game, he took a pretty hard hit on the shoulder. That had to affect his shot.

  • MillaRed

    What genius at the NCAA scheduled this game? “Hey guys, where can we all but guarantee a loss for The Hoosiers?” Idiots.

  • MillaRed

    Safer to say the Syracuse zone was the major factor. Jordy was getting 3’s swatted. An average team wouldn’t dare zone that team. But the length of The Orange was everything in that game. Just ugly.

  • Dflahardy

    Anyone that says the can’t stand bob knight, you are no hoosiers fan, no hoosiers fan at all,,

  • CreanFaithful

    Green only attempted 1 three point shot as a freshmen. He was 2/16 as a sophomore (12.5%). Give DD some time… He’s been putting in some good work in the paint so far!

  • HoosierPat

    We can’t beat them by shooting jump shots. That team could because of Steve Alford. That’s not a strength we have. We do, however, have the athleticism to go toe to toe with Syracuse.

  • MillaRed

    Oladipo wasn’t lighting it up from 3 until he was a junior.

  • Fulton

    We will have him next year… He’s great, but the draft is loaded this year and I truly think he will see his stock sky rocket in next years draft given the time to polish his current skill set and gain some needed ones for the nba

  • Alford Bailey

    Yea, another made for tv game. Kinda like IU just “happened” to be in UK bracket two years ago in the tourney.

  • Alford Bailey

    I will agree with you on the zone obsession thing. The zone didnt beat IU last year. IU beat IU. Last years team playing on all cylinders could beat anybody. Problem with that team was they didnt play that way often enough and were trending down at the end of last year. Anyone with half a brain could see after the Temple game that team was not a legitimate #1 at that point in the season and would stuggle against a trending up Syracuse. That said you dont just have to just shoot the three to beat that zone and I actually like our athletes against theirs. I think IU makes it a good game . This group is a bunch of fighters. Got one word for the cuse game, LOB!

  • Alford Bailey

    Quick question. If IU and Syracuse would have played in Dec. last year would the outcome have been different? I think so. I think that game was more about a team that had peaked earlier in the season playing a team that was peaking at the end of the year. I have seen Syracuse play that “zone” and look terrible at it many times. I just think it was bad timing for the Hoosiers.

  • hoosier1158

    Too bad this game isn’t in Bloomington. IU is much more athletic than last year and I think they would win in Bloomington. They do need a couple of players like AE and Stan to start hitting consistently from outside. If IU gets a couple of players hitting from outside, watch out B1G.

  • The_Bob_Michaels

    And he was also in a slump before the injury.

  • hoosierpapa

    I believe I remember him trying to give his pay for a whole year back because he didn’t feel he had earned it I think he finally donated most of it to charity

  • SCHoosier

    When’s the last time the NCAA didn’t give IU the short end of the stick if it could? In the past these games looked like they were scheduled by estimated quality of team..not this year. But ya know,..,I’m glad we’ve got’em. Good for the RPI and good for a young team to experience a top rated team and their place. Nobody’s expecting IU to win 30 games this year..but to get to 20-23..we need to improve off this coming game.

  • SCHoosier

    Love the kid..if he’s working on it..let’s see it. Sometimes I wonder if kids are afraid to shoot the mid-range shot for fear of getting benched if they miss. I’m all for hitting the hole and taking the foul..but b-ball is so much more than that and these kids are studs.

  • Alford Bailey

    I see DD becoming a great 4 yr player for the Hoosiers similar to Draymond Green also. Devin, Stan and Luke will have a steadying influence on the program as guys come and move on to the NBA in the next two to three years.

  • MillaRed

    If we lose by 1 to UCONN and cuse on the road and are unranked I’m kicking balls.

  • MillaRed

    I also believe we were tired and the lack of depth was part of that. But Jordy was what he was. We got no transition 3s. They would rather get back in that zone than crash the o-glass. They ate him up on D.

    More than anything Yogi was terrible. Could we beat them? Yes. But I’m thinking they beat us 7 out of 10 times . Really bad matchup for that team. Just my opinion.

  • Ok. I was going to ‘down vote’ this OBLY because, I DO NOT AGREE, there is very little chance that we will beat ‘cuse. I think we have a definite possibility bordering on probability… Don’t know why you want to be Mr. Negative on the team. We can do it…

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Those same non-Bobby supporters like to remind everyone about our 5 banners More importantly don’t take credit for our 5 banners…just 2. I do believe RMK put up 3.