News and notes from Tom Crean’s radio show

  • 03/02/2015 8:38 pm in

On Monday evening, Indiana coach Tom Crean spoke at his weekly radio show hosted by Don Fischer and recapped the Northwestern loss, the five-day break in action while also looking ahead to the Iowa and Michigan State games this week.

Below are news and notes from what the Hoosiers’ coach had to say:

— Crean said the break in action since last Wednesday’s loss at Northwestern “has been good for us, good for us to work.” In that time, the Hoosiers have been able to recuperate and regain their spirits, energy and attitudes ahead of their two games this upcoming week, Crean said. He said there has been a lot of scrimmaging, energetic practices and situational work in that span, and that the Hoosiers are “excited to play” on Tuesday.

— Looking back at last Wednesday’s loss in Evanston, Crean agreed with Fischer’s statement that players perhaps are struggling with concept that they can still win when they’re not shooting well. Crean said the Hoosiers will sometimes have to win on defense when shots are not falling — and that it will define them moving forward. He said his players have to keep understanding that they need to drive the ball, that instead of shooting when they’re rushed by a defender they can shot fake and drive. He said the Hoosiers had many opportunities to beat the Wildcats zone on Wednesday, and that they have to find cutters and continue to do a better job of that.

— One of the first callers asked Crean how often the Hoosiers practice free throw shooting and the keys to beating Iowa and Michigan State this week. Crean responded that they practice free throws every day — and that the Hoosiers have spent even more time on it during this break. He said usually has his players shoot free throws under fatigue during practice, and that he also has his players watch game tape of their free throws — what they are doing both right and wrong. As far as the keys to beating the Hawkeyes and Spartans are concerned, Crean said the common theme in those games will be defensive transition — including rebounding and simply taking care of the ball.

— Another caller asked Crean why the Hoosiers haven’t been pressing more — something they did well late in the Northwestern game. The biggest factor in Indiana not doing it much this season, Crean said, is that it does not want to be giving up easy baskets on the back line and that instead the Hoosiers want to make sure opponents shoot the ball over them and make it as tough as possible for their opponents to score. He said the Hoosiers spend time on presses during practices, but they also don’t want to give up many layups and dunks. And since the Hoosiers do not have an intimidating shot blocker that they can use at the backend of the press, someone that can alter shots both inside and outside, Crean said a press is not necessarily most suitable for the Hoosiers.

— Crean was asked by a caller what the greatest surprise to him as been this season. His response: “There has not been anybody that hasn’t improved at a high level.” He mentioned Nick Zeisloft’s 3-point shooting consistency. Collin Hartman’s improvement in 3-point shooting. Yogi Ferrell’s improved variety in his game. James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson living up to expectations. He also credited Max Hoetzel for stepping up after Devin Davis’s injury — and added that if Davis was healthy the Hoosiers might actually have used a redshirt on Hoetzel.

— Finally, Indiana will honor the 1974-1975 team during Saturday’s Michigan State game. That team 40 seasons ago went 31-1, finishing the regular season undefeated before losing to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament by two points — with Scott May playing with a broken arm. Crean said the Hoosiers also will honor two of their senior managers, so there will be senior day festivities (to an extent) despite there not being a senior on the active roster.

Filed to:

  • KmanCRK

    Has anybody improved at a high level on Defense as the year has progressed?

  • Dunbar

    It’s Scott May, Jordan, not mays.

  • Michael

    Did oladipo turn into a great offensive player in one year?

    I remember praying he never take a 3 especially that first year but even the second was scary.

    How many times did he lose control driving or get his pocket picked?

    Good things take time.

  • myrddin

    We should all be able to reasonably agree that over some span in the last 12 months HMP has improved on Defense. He’s still not consistent, but he’s definitely better.

  • beer30

    Do you have to have an intimidating shot blocker in order to press? VCU doesn’t ever have one. Do they?

  • TomJameson

    Kman, we all know that the defense is bad, and some games that’s putting it mildly, and we’re all pretty upset over it. But there have been a few games as the season has progressed where the defense has been decent, mostly because of the intensity of the players, not because they are elite defenders. All that is to say that I’m pretty sure this team will make it a priority for the rest of this year to play defense with more intensity, and a priority to work on their defensive play in the offseason. (I hope, I hope, I hope… ).

    You’re almost wasting your breath stating the obvious. Please don’t take it the wrong way because I like your posts, just seems like beating a dead horse.

  • TomJameson

    I see the logic to what CTC said. If/when the ball gets past the first press, it’s pretty much a layup. One “intimidating shot blocker” can help fix that. Of course, I thought Hanner could be that guy … maybe next year.

  • pcantidote

    So we don’t press because we don’t want to give up easy baskets on the back end. Does he even watch the games? We ALREADY give up tons of easy baskets on the back end. In fact, we are ranked in the 300s in terms of percentage of opposing shots taken at the rim. Have been for 5 years. That would be a LOL funny response to that callers question if it wasn’t so frustrating.

  • eville87

    To all the excuse makers and supporters. Lose this one and all hell is going to break loose. We’re so happy being a 10 seed and making the tournament. Another presser by the sales man. The defense is horrible you can’t argue that. We live and die by the 3. Or a Williams baseline dump off. Other than that and an alley oop. What do you have? The weave of death? Lots of talent for guards and forwards…. Ryan Burton tries hard. Not 1 post player ready to play in our conference consistently. Has anyone noticed every other team has one? I’m waiting for the replies.

  • eville87

    At least Victor played defense as a freshman.

  • Michael

    I guess that balanced out the turnovers? You tell me…

  • clincher12

    I agree that all hell will break loose if we lose this game. I REALLY hope I am wrong but given the trends, I feel like we are on the verge of a late season collapse. Iowa has the size to create the same mismatch that we have had no answer for all year. I think this game is going to be very close.

  • John

    Interesting that he says they will have to win on defense when the shots aren’t falling. How many times this year has IU won on defense? The defense is IU’s biggest liability.
    Also he mentions making the other team shoot over the top. The loss to PU comes to mind. Their big men just shot over the top.

  • Ms hoosier

    I hope we don’t have a collapse. I’m not satisfied with just making the tourney, but I do want to make it. Anything can happen in the tourney. LETS WIN THESE LAST 2!!

  • Hoosier Hall

    I completely disagree with his statement about not pressing because we don’t want to give up layups and dunks. We’re giving up that stuff in our half court defense now. Why not create some turnovers and speed the game up to our pace? Each turnover we create is a missed opportunity for them to score on us. And let me tell ya, it sure seems like almost every team can score on us during every possession. We just trade punches with teams and hope they have an off shooting night but what happens is they string together some stops and keep hitting (NW game) and we just fall apart.

  • Hoosier Hall

    We are giving up layups now… The trade off for some turnovers would be worth it I think. If we force 15 turnovers, that’s 15 less chances they have to score and usually we get an easy bucket off the steal/deflection.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I can’t really say I’ve seen them play great defense in any one game this season. They played good solid defense in a few key games (Butler, Ohio St. @ home, maybe SMU…) but their defense has lost them numerous games (Eastern Washington, Georgetown, @ Ohio St, NW, etc…)

  • KmanCRK

    sorry Tom, I think this team has made me bipolar and I haven’t been taking my medicine lately.

    Crean’s answer to the question about what has surprised him the most really set me off. I know I shouldn’t be shocked by this based on his typical answers. I’d prefer he answer questions like Belichick (no answer) rather than giving ridiculous answers like these.

  • KmanCRK

    I would agree compared to a year ago, yes. But from Nov/Dec to now, I can’t say I’ve seen much improvement. Maybe chalk it up to injuries with him though.

  • KmanCRK

    Just lashing out at the ridiculous answer that what has surprised Crean the most is the high level of improvement every single player has made. Sorry, but this is a garbage answer. Or maybe I’ve been watching a different team. I believe if every player was making tremendous improvements we’d be trending up right now. Or I guess we could assume the other teams players are just improving more.

  • SCHoosier

    The Hoosiers struggle with defense period. . What makes everyone think they could effectively press? TC talks about pressuring the ball on the perimeter to prevent easy passes into the paint. OSU did that against PU in the second half Sat in spades. Boilers couldn’t find an open three or an easy pass into the post. As hard as it is for IU to guard drivers right now..if IU defends in full open court using a press..the coaches obviously fear even easier buckets for the opponent..I do empathize with frustrated fans who know IU has to do SOMETHING to improve its defense. Fundamentals would be a good start.

  • KmanCRK

    Please don’t construe my comments as believing every player should be 100% better since November or anything like that. I’m a realist and understand these things take time. VO’s offense was definitely a work in progress, although he was tenacious on D from day one. I’ve always believed Defense is more mindset than skill.

    Just boiled over on Crean’s comments of every kid improving drastically during the year. Such a jelly filled answer.

  • KmanCRK

    yeah I thought the same thing. Every team seems to have their best offensive performance of the year against us.

  • TomJameson

    I’d like to see a pressing defense as well, but don’t think I’ve ever seen 15 turnovers (from the press alone), except maybe Rick Patinos UK teams. But you still have a valid point. I’d like to see a “soft” press that can slow the attack down and allow less time for their offense to attack. Out of that soft press a hard press can develop as kind of a surprise attack. You know, mix it up.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    you’re absolutely right, and there’s no excuse for iu to have the worst frontcourt in the b1g. people talk about NV and LF all the time, but what about the numerous recruits he whiffed on? what about the ones he landed? HMP, JA,TP,PJ: to say they haven’t contributed is an understatement. like i said a few days ago, it’s becoming very clear that the CZNV caliber recruits are the exception and not the rule. but hey, if he somehow manages to land bryant, i’ll be more than glad to admit i’m wrong.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I just feel like we have some good pieces for a pressing defense. I know we don’t have the size but guys like Troy, Stan, Rob and Yogi are quick and athletic enough to cause and collect some errant passes. We’ve seen it in small doses and I would just like to see it used more. I’m not proposing anything like what VCU does for the entire game but be able to turn it on and off to build a lead or stop some momentum.

  • TomJameson

    You know we’re saying the same thing, just from a different angle. LOL One thing you didn’t mention that we had, was the depth to make it work (even out the fouling). Because you know IU wouldn’t get the “respect” from the zebras like other pressing teams. We’d get a thousand fouls called on us … okay maybe that’s an exaggeration.

  • Aaron Williams

    Mo Alie-Cox and Justin Tillman both have block percentages greater than 9%.

  • Not to beat a dead horse, but why wouldn’t Hanner be that guy. I just wonder if that is an excuse on Crean’s part.. If they’re spending time on it in practice he must think it has some merit. Otherwise why waste time on it.. if you’re not going to use it?

  • Actually I don’t think we’ve ever had more than 900 fouls called on us.. have we? That was an exaggeration.

  • Not really.. Shooting over the top would mean shooting from outside I believe, i.e., shooting over the top of the zone.. Not individually shooting over the top of a player. Did PU’s big’s kill us with the three? I don’t think has hit any 3s.. did Hammons?

  • Well not to pick apart your argument, because we really do not typically play much defense. But didn’t it produce some results in the NW game. However it was apparently too little, too late..

  • Ole Man

    Also, aren’t we giving up easy layups anyhow?

  • Ole Man

    Sorry, but that excuse as to why we don’t press more is just lame.
    IU is giving up easy layups as it is.
    And if your guards are effective, a lot of those passes don’t get to the last line, i.e. the opponents big men.
    Plus, I thought the athleticism of our wings and guards was one of our strengths. I don’t see many Big Ten guards or wings who get by us if we press.

  • MillaRed

    If you watch Hanner go for a block it just isn’t a thing of beauty. He wants to jump out of the gym every time and it takes a second for him to get going. He just isn’t light on his feet. Can’t get up and down quickly. The kid just isn’t a good shot blocker.

    Emmitt is indeed light on his feet and puts himself in a great position to challenge shots. But we would rather have Stan guard centers because Emmitt’s minutes are limited and only Jesus understands why.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Exactly, why go for these 4 guard lineups if you are not playing to their strengths . . . might as well play 2 bigs and run a normal halfcourt offense.. I vote Stan for the Sherpa Award, always climbing a mountain to defend the opponents 5! Lol

  • KmanCRK

    especially against teams without great ball handlers.

  • Hoosier Hall


  • Hoosier Hall

    Well, we aren’t just on the same page Ole Man, we are in the same sentence! I thought that was a pretty lame statement too.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Like….. Purdue? Seriously though, I think that could have made a difference in games against the boilerstinkers and Northwestern but you wouldn’t want to press a team like Ohio State or Michigan State because they have great ball handlers and passers.

  • TomJameson

    I think Hanner has made strides from last year, but he just isn’t quite there. To be fair I think he can be a great shot blocker if he just kept his feet on the ground on the shot fakes. His timing is sometimes off is all. Plus if he goes for the block he’s leaving the rim unprotected because our weak-side defense is gone. Lot of factors, but I do think he gets up and down the floor quickly. I think Hanner will be much improved next year.

    I think Emmitt is touted by some because they hate Hanner so much. Emmitt is good, but not that good. I think he has a better BB IQ than HMP, but he still needs to get better. His game, like most, depends on who we’re playing. I think his consistency will be there next year and he will become a force to be reckoned with.

  • Michael

    So just out of curiousity, did you believe they had a real chance to beat Maryland (away), purdue (at home), and nw (away)?

    It terms of the score, yes they did without a doubt (imo). So if you are in agreement with that, are 3 really good opportunities for a victory not an improvement over being mentally/physically broken at MSU/PSU/Wis? If they win one of those it changes the outlook quite a bit, but two of those games were extremely win-able.

    NW slipped away, but I’d love to actually hear when the last time this team hadnt scored for a 10min period. Is that not an anomaly? People bash him for not takin a TO, but isn’t that pretty much like taking a TO to tell Marshawn lynch he’s going to get the ball and to run really hard?

    What about guys just not making plays in that 10 minutes? Do they not deserve any criticism? They are the ones learning how to compete and have good offense even when they aren’t wide open. It doesn’t mean they haven’t gotten better. Like I said, Id like to see the where the last time this team didn’t score for 10 min

  • Not to disagree with you but I don’t think a scoreless 10 minute timeframe can be called an anomaly when the shot selection was quick, selfish, desparate 9at times) with little ball movement. That is why a coach should call a timeout; to settle things down, re-organize team, and get them moving the ball. None of these things were done by CTC.

  • Exactly. I agree with you. I think I made that point on one of the forum threads, with respect to playing man-to-man. What is the difference? We are giing up one heck of a lot of layups, mostly uncontested.. So what’s the difference. At least with the press, you’ve got a better chance at maybe getting them flustered and getting the steal, something which we almost never do now.


    Love the fact that you are as passionate about IU bball as you are and that you support our head coach as much as you do. I for the most part am still a supporter of him myself, not as much as I was at one point, but none the less still a supporter. The scenario, a team goes for over 10 minutes without scoring, the coach has time outs at his disposal and he doesn’t call at least one to try and change things a up a little or to even just talk to them and try and reinforce some things. While I wasn’t a high level coach by any means when I was doing it I have to believe that, by far and away, the vast majority of coaches out there, at whatever level, would look back on that and feel like it was a major mistake not to have taken at least one or two during that much of a scoring drought. We don’t know if he feels like, that once he thought back over the situation, he feels like he made a big mistake by not calling one since he has not made any comments in that regard. This is where I have started to have some, let’s just call it discontent with some of his methods. He should be able to publicly take the blame for not doing some things like that and it is a rare thing for him to own the blame completely for just about anything, plus I feel like making around 3 million a year puts him in the category of, ” should be able to know to do that without having to second guess himself after the fact, plus he has a staff that he has said is second to none to remind him should he happen to not think of it. Now, which is it, did he not think to do it, did he just not feel like it would have helped if he did, did he disregard his staff’s suggestion of using one, did his staff not think to suggest that he use one, I don’t know which it was, but the bottom line is that he didn’t use a single one and that is simply not acceptable out of someone making as much money as he does and / or coaching at the level that he is coaching at. Here’s to hoping that we put these last two in the win column, notch at least one or two in the B1G tourney and make some noise in the Dance.


    Don’t really buy into Crean’s rationale for not pressing more and for the reasons that others have given, we have the depth, layups and dunks are already being scored on us at an alarming rate, you can’t get really good at something that you don’t practice it enough AND use in a game fairly often, if you only do something when you just absolutely have to you’re probably not going to be good enough at it for it to accomplish what you need to do anyway, etc, etc. We had a rim protector when CZ was here and all the other needed ingredients, but didn’t do it on any kind of regular basis then either for some reason, so yea I don’t buy into his reasoning. You know that I’m still on the supporter side of the issue, but Crean has not shown me that he can teach / get a team to play good consistent D since he has been here.

  • MillaRed

    Emmitt needs a year in the gym. If you look at his shot blocks it’s great timing and discipline. I’m not sure anyone hates Hanner. He just isn’t the answer in the paint.

    Watch him tonight Tom and you will see what I mean. He is very methodical when he goes for a block.