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January 22, 2015

Tom Crean


COACH CREAN:  Extremely proud of our effort and our execution, because Maryland is every bit as good as I thought they were.  They are really good.  We knew we were going to have to play an outstanding game to beat them and our guys to their credit, really stayed true to that.  They stayed true to what had to happen.  The ball had to move quickly, we had to play through the paint, the couple times we didn't we got that adjusted real fast and we had to make sure it was getting reversed.
The more that we play Collin now away from the post, the better it is, because he can drive the ball for us.  There's just, we have got to be able to find different ways inside of the game to get to the basket to play through the paint, so that we can get to the foul line, not just be a jump shooting team and we're starting to learn that but the bottom line is that no matter what we're in, as long as they're moving the ball, they're pretty good.  But they're even way better when they're getting defensive stops so we can get out on our break.
I thought the first half was solid, but we were giving up too much space to their offense and we weren't nearly as aggressive as we needed to be with ball pressure, with how we wanted to guard ‑‑ we had to mix and match tonight big time because we just don't have matchups in this game.  And they have too many hard matchups, certainly with the length that they have and the size of the shooters but the Dez Wells matchup is really hard.  Because we don't have anybody that's like him.
So, bottom line is we had to be very active and a couple times we made mistakes, he picked us apart on that, the second half we adjusted well and we adjusted in the sense that there was better ball pressure, better weak side defense, and we just were a little bit more active and we had 18 deflections in the first half, 26 in the second half, to me that's a big deal.
Collin Hartman's mom might know the last time he had three blocked shots, but I've never seen it.
So certainly that's, we might have to triple had his deflections, when Collin is getting a block.  But that's just the way we have to be right now.  To their credit, that's what they're doing.  That's how they're playing.  They are, we came back on Tuesday night we were really sharp, we were sharp yesterday, the walk through today was as quick as I've ever probably had one at Indiana, because they were so ready to go that it was like if we go much longer we're going to play the game right here.  They were flying around.
They came out and they played that way.  They played that way.  Their mindset was really, really good and they knew it.  They had great respect, we have great respect for Maryland, they knew it was a big deal, and they wanted to see where they stood.  So, a lot of really good work and I think one of the great things and I'll open up to questions, one of the great things for our team is they spend so much extra time working on their game.  Sometimes they're together and sometimes they're not.  Okay.  When we get back on Sunday, and this is why he just continues to improve, we get back on Sunday, bus trip back, working late, and I hear the balls bouncing late Sunday night, there's Yogi out shooting on the shooting gun.  And late at night.
Monday morning, there he is.  We don't practice.  Monday afternoon, early evening or late afternoon, there he is.
Wednesday, he shot after practice, I hear again he's back in here late last night ‑‑ we didn't meet until late last night.  He's in there shooting again.
That's a hunger level.  That's, that's leadership.  And that's what we have to continue to get, because Yogi's playing so well for us, but he wanted to play better.  Now we got to keep that attitude.  We keep that kind of hunger, and we keep that kind of desire, then we're going to keep improving.  That's the key.  I told them, I'm not budging and they shouldn't budge either.  Because we have a chance to keep improving, but it's going to come down to our work ethic, it's going to come down to our mindset, can we continue to get smarter and tougher.
Because it's hard, hard league and it certainly gets that much harder on Sunday when we go to Ohio State and then turn around Wednesday to go to Purdue, before we come home for Rutgers.  We're excited about it, we're improving, it's a win on a night we played very well against a great basketball team, and they are the epitome of team, and we had to be that good to beat them tonight and fortunately we were and now we got to get ourselves ready for Ohio State.

Q.  When Hanner went down, a lot of people assumed that you wouldn't be able to plug in for what he was doing or not be the same kind of team.  You went with Collin.  Can you discuss what went into that decision, how you guys came up with it.  What you went through to build an offense around him.
COACH CREAN:  Well, the biggest thing is, right now, I don't really want, I didn't really want to start three freshmen.  That's part of it.
That day when the injury happened, I was down on one end of the court with Hanner and the kids were very distraught.  Young men were very distraught, call them kids, but they were very distraught.  The coaches got them back going and Collin just jumped in.  So obviously that's what we would have done, because he can do a lot of different things.  What we didn't have much time to do was figure out how we're going to utilize him there.  But he's smart, he's tough, he's a skilled player.  As I always remind him, we offered him a scholarship not for his shooting, but for his ability to play the game, for his passing, for the way he made his teammates better.
To me, as a shooter, that became the next step for him.  But he could really pass the ball.  And the key for us right now is that he just continued to do those type of things.  He played outstanding tonight.
Max I thought did a really good job for us tonight.  So, Emmitt, it just, it wasn't as much his night.  But it's going to have to be in a lot of ways on Sunday, when we go there, because of how big they are.
So, but we have also tried to move Emmitt to some different positions offensively inside of our practices.  And we haven't spent a ton of time on that yet, but that's all part of trying to adjust ourselves so we can make sure we have, so the ‑‑ the game's just got to move.
So ultimately it comes down how do we keep the game and bodies and ball moving.  It's not about any one play or about any one guy, it's about the ball continuing to move and how do they have to continue to guard the court.
So, you know when Collin's in at that position they're going to have to guard him and tonight they really had to guard him, because he got hot.
So that's what it was as much as anything else.

Q.  It seemed like every time Maryland made even a little mini run you guys had an answer tonight.  I think you had a double digit lead the final 10 minutes.  But you got to be happy with how your guys were answering?
COACH CREAN:  It will be a fun film to watch, because I think we were really, really good in second half.  We were not nearly as active and what we showed them at halftime was how passive we were on the weak side.  And our ball pressure wasn't very good.
Again, when you don't have optimal matchups, okay, well you do have to try to take something away.  The Wells passing game ‑‑ I thought one of the hugest keys was he had three assists at half, he only had one in the second half.  They only had five assists in the second half.  That was big.  Because they are a really, really good passing team.  I mean, tremendous passing team.  Because they have, you have to guard them so many different places.  Wells, he makes so many things go, man and zone.
So the bottom line was our defense, even though the 50 percent says something different, we did get some good defensive stops and then we came down and we got good shots we kept moving the ball and we got jumpers, but it was after the ball had been reversed, driven, the way that we have to play.

Q.  I was led to believe that this team didn't have a very high ceiling here.  You've now been tied for first in the Big‑10‑‑
COACH CREAN:  I think you've been paying a little more attention than that.  You're multi‑dimensional.  High ceiling?  I don't know.  I don't think any of us ‑‑ we just ‑‑ we're improving.  They have been improving all year.  What these guys have done over a period of time is gotten closer and they really work hard, I would say, to control what they can control.  Which is their improvement, which is the extra work, like I was talking about.  Practice extremely hard.
With a young team, they're going to get better.  If they buy in and they really have a good work ethic, they're going to get better.  We can't just come down and say, okay, we're a 2‑3 zone team or we're a 1‑3‑1 or man‑to‑man, we got to do different things because of our size and the size has changed obviously so much more obviously with Hanner not being in.
I think we'll continue to get better as long as our mindset and work ethic continues to improve.  We got to continue to get tougher and the toughness baskets, like the 50/50 balls and really working a guy in post and when you get tired, continuing to move your feet and have your hands out, rather than put your hands in.  We got caught a couple times on some weak side cuts tonight.
There's a ton of room for improvement.  It's one really good win against a really good team and what I would like best about this team is every time we have struggled they have really responded and now we got to keep responding and improve, since we won a couple games.

Q.  Along that same line, is there a confidence just in guys the last three games that we haven't seen before?
COACH CREAN:  I don't know.

Q.  Michigan State, you know ‑‑
COACH CREAN:  You know when it really started to turn for us was after Louisville, because we were not good up there.  But there was so many ‑‑ I shouldn't say we were not good ‑‑ we didn't follow the game plan.  We chased Louisville around, you know, and we didn't rebound the way that we needed to, we let them be more aggressive and more physical with us.  We really didn't push back, fight back.
We got better from that.  And then we turned around and we did the same thing at Michigan State.  And we got better from that.
So I would say their confidence grows because they're responding to ‑‑ we have had adversity all year we have had to respond to, well they're responding to the adversity of a game.  So that's big.  That they're responding saying, okay, now wait a minute, I got to rebound better, I can do better.
Because the films are not as much about what we're not doing, it's, why didn't we and here's what we could have done better.  And they're responding to that.
So, yes, confidence grows because of that.  But the moment that confidence becomes some type of a rival of arrogance, then we're going to have an issue.  But that's hopefully ‑‑ I don't see that coming, but the bottom line is they're young and they got to keep understanding that the work ethic and the improvement are the absolute keys to everything that they do.

Q.  You talked about moments that the team has had where they have gone up big, especially in the second half and maybe let teams back in.  Tonight, with the foot on the throat they just kept hitting shots.  What was different about tonight and the approach at both end of the floor once you got Maryland on their heels in the second half?
COACH CREAN:  We understood the pace of the game.  When it was time to play fast, we were fast and we attacked.  When it was not there, we reversed it.  And they're starting to understand how important that is.
It's not about slowing it down, and not looking for a shot.  Like I thought ‑‑ and Maryland did a great job of denials.  So we had to make a lot of adjustments from the beginning of the game, with their denials.  They took some of our actions, just like we tried to take some of their actions and they tried to make us adjust and the fortunate thing is this these guys did.  They adjusted on the fly.
So, pace of the game, not trying to make something happen, okay, just for the sake of making it happen.  Taking what's there.
Certainly Yogi getting hot and James hot the way they were, sometimes at the end of the clock was pretty impressive, too.
But that's the biggest thing.  Really understanding the time and score of the game and letting the time and score dictate the pace, not trying to speed it up when we don't need to.

Q.  Before you walked off the court you applauded the crowd.
COACH CREAN:  Why not?  I turned around and thanked the other people.  It was the crowd‑‑ the energy was phenomenal.  That's part of Indiana basketball and it was, we know the value of this crowd.
The young guys are seeing it, okay?  A lot of them were recruited to it, right.  So a lot of guys, we were No. 1 in the country and year before some of these guys were in the crowd and we beat Kentucky, and so they have seen that.  Well now they're feeling that.
I don't think ‑‑ I would hope I lead the way on this, for being part of this program.  What Fred Glass and Scott Dolson and Jeremy Gray and J.D. and everybody that's a part of making the atmosphere strong, the cheerleaders, that stuff's huge, right?
But those people come in with the energy from start to finish.  You got to applaud that.  So that's what that is.  We never take that for granted.  I've never taken that for granted.
You weren't here, but we had great crowds when we were losing a lot of games back in 2008, 2009.  What we did with the crowd support, without the crowd support, we would have never got here without that support.  So I'll never ever not thank them.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CREAN:  Well, I would answer it this way:  I don't look at it that way and I would say the same thing about October.  These are, these players are my responsibility.  All right.  And I want to see them be successful.  They know that.  They're learning that.
And I don't put, you know, I don't, I wouldn't say fun, I enjoy them, I enjoy watching them grow.  I think everybody does.  I enjoy watching them interact with each other.  We got a lot of season left.  That's a question for way down the road.
But even when we are not, when things were not good for us, they were never ‑‑ we were with them every day.  We had to help them grow up.  And we're still in the midst of that.
No one's sitting here thinking that ‑‑ something could change tonight, right.  You just have to deal with it.  That's all part of helping your guys grow up.
So, I enjoy that aspect.  That to me watching them grow up, that's fun.  The basketball is the basketball.  But I enjoy working with these guys every day and I know our staff does, too.

Q.  When you recruited Collin‑‑
COACH CREAN:  You got a Collin kick this week, don't you.  Go ahead, I'm sorry.

Q.  I mean, do you want me to write about somebody else?
COACH CREAN:  I was joking.  It was all your questions yesterday, I'm just joking.

Q.  Did you think he would be this far halfway through his sophomore year?
COACH CREAN:  I don't think like that.  He didn't, he's changed, right?  I mean, he's growing up.  His body's changed.  His mindset's changed.  There's no question his injury changed him.  It made him physically tougher, but it made him mentally tougher, right?
So how it's going to play out.  You never know, okay?  But he's an extremely hard worker, he's been coached right all his life.  He's certainly been raised right by his mom.  She's wonderful.  I mean, she's an athlete, she's been through things, right?  I mean, he's a family kid.
He just continues to improve.  He's got a mindset about winning and when you have a mindset about winning and work, and I say this every time we talk about him, he's still not a guy that we, there's still limitations‑‑ he won't practice tomorrow.  I mean, we are going to hold him back, right?
So it's one of those things where we have got to continue to monitor that, but he's got a great mindset, he wants to win, he's doing what it takes to win, and tonight will be a great confidence builder, but it also turn him up on the next team scouting report.
So we'll have to make that many more adjustments when we get to Ohio State.  But he's continued to improve and if he continues to do that, he'll continue to really help us.

Q.  The trend in college basketball is less scoring, a lot of teams are going‑‑
COACH CREAN:  I read that the other day.

Q.  Are you trying to go against the grain or why do you ‑‑
COACH CREAN:  I don't look at it like that.  We want to play.  I think if I had to look at this, you can never underrate shooting.  That's what the game is about, right.
But you look at so many things of size and athleticism, and the shooting.  Well, what makes good shooters?  Fundamentals, right?  So if you're really working hard at the fundamentals you're going to get better at the basket, you're going to use the back board.
Now Troy did that flip shot, I don't know where that came from.  That was crazy.  But we'll see that film ‑‑ and he followed it with his eyes.  He's become such a better finisher.
Is he a great shooter yet?  No.  But he's a, but he's a better finisher, because he works on the fundamentals every day.  So you got to ‑‑ it's fun to have guys that really feel confident that they're going to make shots.
We have got to continue to build towards that.  That's why I like Juwan and OG for next year, because those guys have great size at six seven and six eight and they can really shoot the ball.  That's what we have got to continue to do.
So, are we trying to go against the grain?  We're trying to play even faster.  I thought tonight we did a pretty good job of that.  I knew they would want to come in and play and because he's doing the same thing.
Their spacing's better than ours.  From top to bottom.  Day in and day out.  And ours was good tonight, but they really understand how to space.  And they caused so many problems with that.
So, we just want to continue to get better at that.  But we got to get better defensively and defensive rebounding‑wise, so we can continue to be even better offensively.  Because when we get the break going, that's fun to watch.

Q.  When you assess how your team's responded with losing Devin and Hanner and two 20 point losses, how would you evaluate your team's ability and yourself each kind of persevered and your resiliency?
COACH CREAN:  I don't know.  No offense, I don't know.  I don't really think like that.  It's all about responding from one day to the next.  That's the bottom line.
So, we have been dealing with ‑‑ that's part of it.  You're going to deal with injuries, you're going to deal with things that come up.
Did we have some things come up?  Absolutely.  We dealt with them.  And we still deal with them.  Injuries.
So I don't reflect on it like that.  As long as we're all staying focused ‑‑ and I have to lead the way on that, no doubt about that, I mean, that's got to be the key, but as long as you're staying focused, and you come in every day with the real ‑‑ it sounds corny, but it's how we're running it, every day we do everything we can do to be better that day and by the end of the night did we assess what we have got to do better for tomorrow.
And that's what we'll do with the film tonight and that's what we'll do with practice tomorrow and just try to stay as true to that as possible.  And see where it leads us.

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