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December 13, 2014

Tom Crean


COACH CREAN:  He's going to do a great job with that program.  To add Russell the way they did today and to have him play the way he did, especially in the first half, really made us pick our defense up in the second half, especially on him because he can cause so many issues.
But Dan's got a team that can drive it, they can shoot it, and I'm proud of the way our guys got ready for this, because Tuesday night was a tough loss.
We tracked Wednesday.  We practiced Thursday and Friday.  We're trying to get ourselves better and at the same time we're spending a lot of time on the game plan.  I thought they did a really good job inside of this game of staying locked in and focused.
And at the same time building on the things that we had to build on.  The rebounding, the blockouts, the offensive rebound pursuits, which was in our case not quite as bad as the lack of blockouts Tuesday night but it was right there.
We didn't offensive rebound with the same level we needed to.  And to get better in the second half the way that we did.  And we were 37 of 43 in the second half when we went through the paint.  And not necessarily a paint score, but when we went through the paint.  Too many times in the first half we didn't do that.  We took jumpers without getting into the paint.
But they brought their competitive level today and our guys did too.  And really, really excited about the contributions, Troy Williams to play a game like that and when he's being aggressive not had a turnover.  Strong and really responded from the other day.
James certainly did.  Rob Johnson is a guy getting a lot done for us.  It's not just showing up in the numbers but we're asking a lot of him.  We're asking a lot of James and Rob.  And for them to play ten games and play at the level that they're playing at says a lot.  It really does.
I thought Hanner and Emmitt did a really good job for us.  And Collin and Nick together, when they're in the game together, our plus/minus is high especially with the right lineups, but it's high.
But the guy that keeps getting better and better and the guy that's an outstanding two‑way player, showing leadership, just continues to compete and fight and is so smart and that's Yogi.  He just continues to get better.
And we're asking a lot of him.  Sometimes he's on the ball.  Sometimes he's off the ball.  Sometimes he gets the ball on reversal.  Whatever it is, because we have so many different guys that can handle and make plays and he just continues to respond constantly and if there's a better defensive player in the back court in the country, I'll be happy to get some synergy tape or sit up some night and watch him.
Because he's really, really good defensively, because we're asking a lot of him, probably getting more from him on the defensive end.  And that's a compliment, because he brings it every game at a very high level on the defensive end.
So we're in exam week now.  We will have time to get our breath, which we need.  These guys have worked extremely hard week after week and it's not just the physical wear and tear.  Because it's easy to look at them as 18‑, 19‑, 20‑year‑olds they're in great shape, they're in great shape but it's the mental endurance they've got to go through because we're asking a lot of a lot of young guys and some that were getting on yellow school buses a year ago, playing on Friday and Saturday nights.
Now they've got to prepare for some of the best teams in the country.  But no matter what, they've got to turn around and prepare and at the same time improve their games.  So a very good win for us.
Grand Canyon is going to be a good team.  Outstanding coach.  Proud of what he's doing as a coach.  It's just a matter of time, whatever he chose to do after he played he's going to be successful at it.  And great to watch him with that program and very good win for us.

Q.  Question about Hanner and Troy and rebounds and lack of turnovers.
COACH CREAN:  I think it's a case of them really wanting to get better.  I think it's being honest.  I think it's when you're honest with what you see on film and you don't rationalize and you want to improve.  And they got challenged pretty hard Tuesday night when the game ended.
From that point forward, in the practices, because we need that from them.  But they both want to be really good players.  And I'd throw Emmitt in that same group.  They all do, all want to be great players.
What they're learning is we can control so much of our effort.  We can control our awareness when we remind each other, when we're talking, when we're just moving the ball, the way we did.
We opened up the game and a play where Troy gets a layup to start the game.  Totally under control.  That's what we need from him.
Will it be consistent?  It's got to grow to be consistent.  But we see that what you see today you know that it's there and there's a chance for him to continue to improve that way and with Hanner.

Q.  Question about only four turnovers, explain how you've improved.
COACH CREAN:  Crazy.  Beyond belief.  We'll have to go back through the tape, see if that's actually accurate, because, man, I never coached a team that had that few.
I know it happened here, according to J.D.  I doubt it was at Marquette.  Because it's a fast paced game and we wanted to play fast.  So I think that's a big step.  What that does is put the pressure on players to know they can do it.
Troy can play a game like that, because he had some of those passes.  I thought it was Peyton Manning or Bob zinging it.  But they were all catchable and they were knock‑downs.
And a little bit sometimes with Troy you've got to take the real fast Troy with the I can still get it done at a fast paced without being blazing fast Troy.  When he understands that, he's going to be really good.
But we move the ball when we got very good reversal and it wasn't complicated for us, it wasn't about running a lot of different sets.  It was about really getting the ball reversed and play out of that and when we do that we've got a chance because of our spacing.  And I thought one thing that was really good we had a lot of hard rolls.  They weren't light rolls or soft rolls.  They were really hard.  So you're making people play.  Our spacing, we wanted to get better at waiting until our movement until we hit the point of the screen, little details like that, increase our spacing.  I thought our guys did a good job of that too.  That all plays into having few turnovers.

Q.  Question how important was it to attack the basket during the second half.
COACH CREAN:  Very much.  Very much.  Because sometimes, when you've got really good shooters, they forget, they forget how easy it will be if they just move the ball and they move it through the paint where you're creating help.  And when you're not making help, eventually they get confidence because it wasn't like we were making all those shots.  I don't have a problem with the attempts.
I don't have any problem at all.  There's going to be some nights we shoot 40, 45 3s, I'm not concerned about that, as long as it goes through the paint and as long as they're rhythm shots and as long as we're making people move, then those are good plays.
We've got some guys that are really capable in transition but we've got a whole team that's capable when we get the ball from side to side two to three times.  To get through the paint and get established inside the paint in the second half was really good.  That was a fantastic number for us, probably the best we've had 43, 37 to 43 going through the paint.

Q.  Is it coming together the way you need it to as you get into this season, you're up for a couple of breaks.
COACH CREAN:  We're ready for a break.  I could see that in them yesterday.

Q.  Is it coming together the way you need it to with Nebraska on the line; is the season coming the way you want it to especially working up to the conference games?
COACH CREAN:  I think the bottom line, young teams you've got to get it to them that every game is big.  There's household team names, and it's not about TV because every game is on television obviously.
But there's the household name games and there's al the games.  You have to get them to understand how important those are, because you're always‑‑ you're always getting in a rut or always getting in a groove.  You're always building towards that.
There's momentum inside the game.  Well, there's momentum inside the season.  If you win but you didn't play real well, it wasn't as focused as you need to be.  That's what cost us the Eastern Washington game, because we didn't do that in the Lamar game.
And what turned around and helped us, what I thought last Saturday was so good, and again I keep talking about last Saturday because, again, it was a game that we needed to come out and show some maturity in that game and we did.
And today was like that.  So every game, obviously the game with Butler, I haven't watched or studied them yet.  I've watched them but haven't studied them.  They're very, very good.  They make a high percentage of 3s.  They have a low number of turnovers.  They get to the foul line.
They're defending at an incredibly high level.  They have an older team.  They have matchup issues all over the court.  It's going to be a very hard game.  But if our guys look at that any differently than they look at the New Orleans game and beyond somewhere along the line we won't be as focused or ready for a Georgetown or Nebraska or somebody like that.
So bottom line this week is improvement.  Everybody's got a laundry list of things that they need to get better at.  But at the same time we've got to focus on school.  And last week was a very busy week for them academically.
It always is at Indiana before exams.  And it is a busy week this week.  But at the same time we want to focus, get a game plan together but let them catch their breath so to speak and get re‑energized a little bit.  Because this team‑‑ in answer to your question, they're giving‑‑ they're giving a lot right now.
And some of them are realizing that they had more in them than they thought.  But they really want to be good.  And so as long as we continue on that path, we will improve.

Q.  What are the things you really want to improve before the conference games?
COACH CREAN:  Well, yeah, I think the biggest thing, the other night it was a great example of Eastern Washington was an example.  We picked the ball up too high against Eastern Washington.  We opened up.  We didn't turn the dribbler.  The other night we chased the ball too much.
I think the biggest thing is, in answer to your question, is stay in front of the ball better.  Don't overreact to the ball when we're in help.  Stay with the shooters.  Stay with the people that can cut and don't get into rotation, which is going to cause a lot of bad rebounding scenarios.
So there's no question we've got to do a better job of keeping our chest in front.  No one personnel.  And in the first half we didn't do a good job at all on the way we wanted to guard 0.
And we didn't realize this morning until J.D. saw an article from Arizona that he was eligible for the game.  We knew potentially he was going to be playing soon.  So we went to work quick this morning, gathered enough film for the guys to see.  And the second half we really did what we wanted to do.  We zoned more and we took away some of the things that he wanted.
So being able to do that with personnel‑driven characteristics and at the same time chest in front and not chasing the ball is real good.
No question we've got to improve the rebounding, defensively.  Our transition defense‑‑ like I told our team, if we got back the same level Stan got back after the little skirmish, we got back like that every game or got back like that, our every transition defense would be the best in the country.
They've got to figure out how to do that.  It can't take getting challenged inside of the game to go that hard in transition defense.  So we gotta get better of all those things.
We can tighten those up, but those are the biggest things on offense we've got to continue to screen better and continue to move better.  Our spacing is not even‑‑ it's better but it's not even close to where it's got to be.
Our recognition to have ball screens and our being truly where we need to be in the spacing is not even close to where it will be.  And at the same time we've got to improve our offensive rebound.  So there's a long list.
And I give long answers and I could give a lot longer answer but that's a start.

Q.  Question about Marni Mooney.
COACH CREAN:  I think we could give‑‑ depends how much space the paper is going to give you on how many people she's helped.  She's helped them all.  And it's funny, we're talking about it with Steve and John Chrisman today, doing a TV game.  They were asking about the academics because they're looking at the APR numbers.  And I said she's the main reason.
She's the tough aunt.  She's the big sister.  She's the caring mother.  She can be any of those.  She can wear any of those roles and she can change‑‑ she can wear any role.  Within a matter of seconds she can change it.
She's got the backing of me and the staff and the staff does a really good job of interacting on academics:  Did you get this in?  How is this class?  Because we get reports from her every morning.
I mean, every morning we've got this report on where everything is that day, everything that happened yesterday, what's coming up the rest of the week and where they stand every day in class.  That takes a lot of work.
At the same time she's spending countless hours with those guys.  I don't think I could do justice to it by just saying one guy, because it's constant.  We have a team GPA of a 3.1 since we've been at Indiana.  We've got more people graduating in three, three and a half years at one of the finest academic institutions around.
And that lady, that lady runs it.  I mean, nobody's even remotely thinking of crossing her without consequences.  Because not only because she's as strong a member as anybody in the program but because they care about her and respect her so much.
Greatest example I can give is that when these guys leave here, she was hard on Victor, she was hard on different guys like that.  If you asked Victor right now, one of his best friends in the world would be Marni.  But at the same time she never babied him or kowtowed to him.  That's the level you want.  She's made everybody better.
And the person that doesn't want to get better and doesn't respond to her wouldn't belong here any ways because then they wouldn't want to get better on the court.
But she does a tremendous job of being on top of every possible detail and caring it out and got just a giant heart.  But she can be tough in a split second.  I like that she's got a hair trigger right now, you cross her the wrong way.
I love that because that's what they need.  They need that guidance.  But I don't have a specific example of one.  You might get some from the players.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

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