Defense to be tested as Hoosiers host Creighton

  • 11/19/2015 7:13 am in

The inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Games includes Indiana this season, as the Hoosiers host the Creighton Bluejays tonight at Assembly Hall.

It’s the first meeting between the two schools since 1974.

“There is no doubt that we are playing an extremely fast, very energetic, very tough opponent,” Tom Crean said on Wednesday. “It is going to take all of us going all out to have a shot to squeak out a win. They move with or without the ball, they play with tremendous purpose, and their spacing is as good as I have seen.”

Creighton, members of the Big East conference, has beaten Texas Southern and the University of Texas at San Antonio in their first two games this season.

The Blue Jays have scored over 196 points over their first two games.

“They do a lot offensively with the three,” Crean said. “They shoot almost 50 percent of their shots from the three. Right now they are shooting at a pretty good rate. But it is the speed, quickness, penetration, the veteran play, and the addition of their transfers, who are a little bit older now and know their system, that make the difference.”

Guard Isiah Zierden leads Creighton in scoring through two games, averaging 19.5 points per game. He is expected to be joined in the starting lineup by guards Khyri Thomas and Maurice Watson Jr., Cole Huff at forward and 7-foot big man Geoffrey Groselle, who averages 6.5 rebounds per game.

“They are physical and they have great presence inside at the rim,” Crean said. “They play very well together. Greg McDermott is an outstanding coach. They get a lot of attention for their offense, just like us, but they also play outstanding defense.”

Crean called Creighton one of the best passing teams he has seen, and said its spacing allows them to do a lot on offense including setting good screens.

“Frankly, they are better at what we really want to be good at than we are right now,” Crean said. “We have got to be better at it tomorrow night, and eventually be better at it consistently. But, tomorrow night, our transition defense will be extremely valuable, our ability to rebound and defend the corners, get the ball stopped, make the next pass with accuracy, all of the things that we are going to need down the road are going to be extremely important and that starts tomorrow.”

He also put an emphasis on rebounding, saying there’s a long ways to go before reaching midseason form and that the Hoosiers aren’t even in early season form yet.

He stressed that the team’s guards need to be more active in getting to the boards. IU currently ranks fourth nationally with an offensive rebounding percentage of 49.1.

“We have got to be absolutely committed to getting to the glass,” Crean said. “The guys that are at the basket need to create some rim protection, some rim presence, when the shot goes up, and it is more about the perimeter rebounding.”

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  • marcusgresham

    I know the competition hasn’t been great to this point, but even still, for IU to be 4th in the country in offensive rebounding is kind of impressive when you consider the fact that there were barely any missed shots to rebound for much of the Austin Peay game.

  • Tdavis

    IU out-rebounded E. Illinois like 50-10. Even Peay missed a bunch of shots looking through the box score. I look for Creighton to be a stern test. But it is in B-town. I worry about next week in Maui, although maybe a great learning experience in the long haul.

  • Hoosier Hall

    “Squeak out a win”?? Jeez I hope it’s not that close. Granted they are much better than who we’ve played so far but I don’t consider them in our class. Having said that, we can’t allow them to chuck uncontested 3’s all game or it will definitely come down to the wire.

  • VAHoosier

    I think they are 4th in OR %, not in total rebounds. So the amount of rebounding opportunities is not a factor.

    Still, rebounding is a strength of this team. I hope we can keep it up as the competition gets bigger and better.

  • straight no chaser

    I see your humor. LOL!

  • SCHoosier

    I just hope tonight the Hoosiers will be worrying about guarding their man..and not getting a tan. Defending the three has been a weakness the past couple of years. Better not be tonight if we want the “W”!.GooIU!

  • RDD#76

    Too funny I will take 15 makes in a row again and no offensive boards every game

  • PBzeer

    The Eastern Illinois game will prove to be an anomaly for rebounding, and that’s what has our OR% up so high.

  • TomJameson

    This is the best team they’ve played so far, but not all their other games have been exactly cupcakes either. Personally, I think the 2 exhibition games were much better teams that Eastern Illinois, and Austin Peay isn’t a great team, but they had a great game because a couple of players just couldn’t miss.

    What worries me is the experience that Creighton got because of their early 3-game series … in Spain maybe?

  • TomJameson

    Defend the 3, stay with their man, and don’t jump on the ball fakes. If they feed the post maybe TB can get their 7-footer in foul trouble.

  • KmanCRK

    I have sometimes wondered if Crean is too positive on our upcoming opponents.

    If as Knight said, the game is 90% mental (or whatever), then I wonder if Crean would be better off taking the school of thought like his brother-in-law Jim H. and/or Buddy Ryan types and make our guys believe they are the better team and go out there with so much confidence and fire that they destroy the other team with effort knowing they are a much better team. Rather than hearing, “they are better at what we really want to be good at than we are right now”

  • Miamihoosier

    What he tells the media isnt necessarily what he’s telling his team

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    The Blue Jays take half of their shots from 3 so this will be a good test of our perimiter D. ill be watching to see how many are contested and wide open. should be a good game tonight. GO HOOSIERS!1

  • Steve Shoda

    Reverse Psychology. Crean is trying to make Creighton overconfident. Then he might tell the team tonight that there is no way Creighton comes close tonight.

  • Ole Man

    Is that what it is?????
    I don’t care as long as we win.

  • Ole Man

    AP had a great game because IU couldn’t guard a decent middle school team that night! LOL!

  • Ms hoosier

    Would like to see IU hold them under 70 points. I think that would be a huge success!! If IU holds teams under 70 all year they will win a lot of games

  • JetpackJunky

    I was a big Harbaugh fan at the Niners. I have a lot of trouble believing he is (or was) always telling his team they’re better when they face stronger competition. What good is a coach who is a cheerleader? The ability to recognize when an opponent does something well (and especially when they do it better than you do) is an asset for a coach. You can’t figure out how to defend against the best parts of their team if you can’t admit what the best parts of their team are.

    I doubt Crean is just telling his team “Well, they’re better than you, so try your best”.

  • TomJameson

    I just don’t agree with that. I was there at the game, and now I’ve watched it 3 times via DVR. I’m not saying that the IU defense was stellar, because it wasn’t even close, but a lot of APs shots were well defended and still went in. IUs defense is better than last year, and getting better all the time.

    The 3 wasn’t guarded well enough all the time, there was too much “over help”, players left their feet too much, too many back-cuts were allowed. Yes, I saw the bad stuff, I’m just saying I saw a lot of good stuff also.

    Couldn’t guard a decent middle school team … come on man. 🙂

  • Christopher

    Looking forward to the game tonight. Random question. I am in Minneapolis for work, does anyone know if we have an alumni bar downtown? I posted on the twin cities alumni FB page earlier today to no avail. Just curious.

  • TomJameson

    That’s exactly right. CTC seems to always be the most complimentary to the other team, and to the other head coach. I think one thing he ALWAYS says is that the other team is “well coached”.

  • TomJameson

    Just don’t bite on the ball fakes! Keep your feet on the ground!!

  • showjo

    Really looking forward to us making better decisions in transition. Troy Williams is probably the best transition player in the country when he DOESN’T have the ball. When he does, he is way too out of control for me to be comfortable. As always, perimeter defense will be key. Should be a good primer before we head to maui.

  • showjo

    Crean and this whole team have talked so much, it’s hard to take anything he or any of the players say seriously anymore. If he says the defense has improved so much, than let’s see it.

  • KmanCRK

    Also if the refs weren’t swallowing their whistles Monday, we would’ve fouled them on half of our steals.

  • showjo

    That was a really strange lull where no fouls were called, so I would expect more TV Teddy-esque officiating styles. Did you see he called a T on NW’s bench when they got up to shake hands before the end of the game last night?

  • cooper

    As the No. 15 team in the country no one seems very confident here. This should be a comfortable win

  • showjo

    Weren’t we ranked like #18 during Vonleh’s year? Rankings mean absolutely nothing at this point of the season and we won’t have a good idea on what’s truly capable until we go to cameron indoor and are road tested a few times in the big ten. but, i agree, we “should” destroy this team if we expect to be any good.

  • Ole Man

    Seeing it in personal is almost always better than watching on TV.
    Thanks for that perspective.


    Whenever I’ve been in the Minneapolis area I’ve found that almost all of the hotels carry the Big Ten Network on their in room cable and at the in hotel bar even more so, especially if the Gophers aren’t playing or the barkeep isn’t a sports fan. When they haven’t they’ve known the places where I could go and be able to see it.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    IU 85 Creighton 68.

  • kaponya44

    While we were not THAT bad ,in person you would still have recognized several of the same old habits yet to die …Tom conceded those and there were a couple more that directly led to losses down that brutal final stretch in the B1G last season. …I’ll concede Tom’s point to an extent and support your general idea of our defense remaining highly flawed ..It is still early..

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    I was really close.

  • TomJameson

    I wouldn’t even say highly flawed, but I would say a work in progress. The reason is that I think they KNOW what they need to do, and I think they are improving, it’s just going to take some actual playing to work all the kinks out. You can only improve so much by playing your teammates, it will take playing real games to work out the kinks. But from what I’ve seen so far, I think they will do well.

    I will say one thing, Yogi gets absolutely no respect from the officials. He should be shooting a dozen free throws a game, but they just won’t give him a call. I just don’t understand that.