Video, Quotes: Tom Crean reacts to loss to Northwestern

  • 01/18/2014 5:56 pm in

Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 54-47 loss to Northwestern on Saturday afternoon at Assembly Hall.

Watch his postgame comments in the media player below:

A transcript is available after the jump.

Opening Statement

Last week after the Michigan State game, we met a long time as coaches late that night after I went to watch my son play, and made some adjustments, talked about a lot of different things, and moved a couple people around, but we just kept saying that we’ve got to get this team to have a real confidence in how good they can be, and we circled the wagons on it and they did a great job from circling the wagons. I think that’s why we got the Penn State win; I think it’s why we got the Wisconsin win.

We have a long way to go on having what real confidence really means, and instead of circling the wagons the last couple days, I think we started to see ourselves as the face of the wagon individually, and it’s exactly what I told the team, exactly what I told the team.

They earned it. There’s no question Northwestern earned it, but the complacency that we played with today and the sense of settling on offense and not we knew there were going to be multiple defensive changes that could come today, whether it be zone, whether it be saggy man. That’s not the first time Alex Olah has sat in the paint, and give them credit; they did a fantastic job, but we participated in it. We participated in it by settling, by not reversing the ball enough, by you can’t where we have so far so go is you can’t be driven by your offense in the sense of if your offense is not there, it affects every other part of your game, and that happened too much, and it happened with our oldest guys. It happened with I’m not going to use the term leader, because I don’t think we appeared like there was a leader today. But with guys that get the bulk of the attention, the shots and things like that. We were ineffective on the defensive end.

We have a long way to go, and I can’t just put it on youth because obviously some of the younger guys didn’t play up to their capabilities, and we saw that coming. I saw that coming. I saw it yesterday.
We didn’t have some of the older guys playing as well. As a team we did not have the hunger that you need to play with on a daily basis be where it needed to be. Northwestern did. We knew they were close, and I don’t think it was a matter of overlooking Northwestern at all. I don’t think that. Please, you can write it, but I don’t see that at all. I don’t think it would have mattered who we played coming off the win the other day. We weren’t mature enough to handle a great win and come in here and play the way that we needed to play, and it started yesterday.

I’m disappointed in that. And if it was legal to practice at midnight, we would. It’s not, so we’ll start when it’s legal, tomorrow morning. But we’re not going to sit back and look at any part of this as being acceptable and the way that we played. I’m not trying to take any credit away from Northwestern because they earned it and Drew Crawford found his match up and he absolutely popped us. We knew they were well coached. We knew they had an outstanding team, and all of a sudden we started thinking instead of having that hungry circle the wagons spirit, we got away from that a little bit.

What did you see yesterday that sort of bothered you?

Lack of focus. Inconsistencies. Just it’s part of it. It’s not the first time, it won’t be the last time, but it was there, and it was addressed, and it was addressed frequently, and it was addressed last night. We tried to shake it out of it this morning, and it just didn’t fall that way. It didn’t fall that way.

You know, that’s why you get a chance to change lineups. That’s why you get a chance to change who plays where. You know, times like this, I’m glad I did play so many guys in the preseason because at least it’s not the first time that they get in there. But the guys that are in the games are the guys that are earning it in practice, and unfortunately we don’t have an abundance of earning it throughout the game once we’re in the game. We did a few days ago, and I don’t want to get away from that at all; I’m just being as completely forthright and honest with you as possible. We didn’t mentally prepare the way we needed to prepare. The distractions of winning a big game caught us.

How upset are you that they just don’t seem to be getting it?

Well, I do think perspective would say there’s a lot of people that have never been in this situation before. Remember, guys we’re asked to lead the team, they didn’t have to do that. Victor Oladipo did that, Jordan Hulls did that, Christian Watford did that, Cody Zeller did that. They didn’t have to do that. They were there, okay.

So really I don’t get frustrated. I really don’t. And I try to understand more than ever that you coach potential during practice, you coach performance during the game, and you try to give your team every possible chance to win, whether people understand it or not. You’re trying to get your team and I’m with this team every day so I have an idea what it looks like. And frustration, no; upset, banging my head against the wall, no; getting ready to go fight again and do it again, yes. That’s the only way that it can be.

You were down four with 30 seconds left and took that 3-pointer. What happened there?

Terrible shot. There’s no question about it. You can’t take a jump shot there, and that’s that did not make sense. Our whole thing was to attack the rim. Our whole thing was not to take a step back three in that situation with anybody, and we practiced this numerous times. In fact, we covered it again in film study yesterday and today. We had a power spread call on, get a screen in the middle of the floor, let’s get it reversed and move and let’s play and get it swung, and get the ball, attack, and if we had a wide open shot that ends up being a three, great. But the whole thing is about getting the court spread with a screen in the middle and four perimeter players, and you don’t take a step back three there. That might have caused a little frustration, but you’ve never been in those situations, either now, but there’s no excuse for that.

Tied at 40-40 and Demps scored seven straight points; what happened?

What happened at that point is when guys aren’t making shots offensively it affects the defense, and it was not a good enough screen for us to be getting hung on that pick. We called a time out to switch and we still got scored on.

That’s where chest in front, stay in front of your man. If you trap you’re in rotation in that situation. We had the right defenders in it as far as going into the game. Probably didn’t have the right defenders on the way the game was being played out, but it’s hard to take Yogi and Will out of those situations.

We didn’t keep our chest in front on it, and we’re going to have to continue to look and make adjustments. Again, that’s a situation where Noah is in the game at the end of the game. I’d like to be able to switch that. Took him out the other night, we gave up a three point play.
We’re a work in progress on how we finish those things off. Again, they had too many shooters on the court to say, okay, let’s zone that and give them that opportunity. There’s no excuse for not keeping the dribble in front of us there.

And one of those shots was a really tough shot. But the other ones were more straight line. When you’re getting beat on a straight line, that’s the defense more than the offense.

How can you kind of accelerate the understanding of the players?

I don’t know. If I had that answer we’d have won the game. We’ve just got to get back to work at it. That’s not a cliché, that’s the truth. Believe me, we tried to do a lot of different things to win the game. You were there. It just didn’t- we had (inaudible) run time, so you know what, we’ll do it again. We’ll do it again. There’s a way to win, there’s a way to lose. Today we showed how to lose. The other night we showed how to win.

It sounds a little more simple than it is, but you’ve got to have we’ve got to have much better play out of our players on both ends of the court, much better.

We’ll work to get it, and I’m confident we will, because we’ve had it.

What could you have done when they were clogging the paint? What makes them so good at it and where would you like to see your guys adjust?

Oh, get it reversed two times more instead of trying to come down the middle. I mean, we had-we didn’t use the corners, okay, and every time out it was running sets and four weave dive and all these different things they were trying to do to keep the ball in movement. You’ve just got to get it moved. They’re clogging the lane; well, that’s where your back cuts come in. You’ve got to make them move.
We settled too much, and they took advantage early of Noah being in that trail spot and being (inaudible) but then Noah wasn’t rebounding, and Noah has got to rebound the ball.

Our rebounding was-it’s easy to look at the way we lost this game on offense. We didn’t shoot well, we took too many quick shots. They were only shooting 27 percent in the first half. It was not a great offensive display from either team in the first half. We didn’t rebound it well enough. Think about the rebounds that stood out: Austin Etherington’s off the foul line, things like that. We didn’t rebound the ball well enough. We were working on block outs this morning. I never work on that on game day. Today we did because I saw it as a problem, but it didn’t carry over.

How is Noah developing?

I think he’s getting better. I think you see it in the fact that shooting the ball, he’s playing in a lot of crucial situations. He’s very good around the bucket. I think he’s developing just fine. I think he’s developing in a lot of ways. Some days we have to remember that he’s a young 18 year old, and other days we look at him like he’s been around for 17, 18 games in college. But the bottom line is he’s in his first year. He’s got a lot to learn. The good news is he wants to learn.

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