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November 9, 2015

Tom Crean

Bloomington, Indiana

Bellarmine - 62 Indiana - 73

TOM CREAN: As we sum up the two games, I said it last week, I'll say it again; we couldn't have asked for more in the sense of playing two championship-level programs and two different teams where they were very guard-oriented last week and playing through the post with a post man, and this team obviously is so skilled at the forward and wing positions, and it was very good for us. We had a couple of great runs in both games, and we've got a lot to learn from both games.

Tonight's game we had a 23-0 run. I think we held them scoreless on 11 possessions. We got better. I mean, we really did. We carried that to the end of the half.

Second half we had to make a lot of adjustments because they adjusted the game, and they used their spacing and they used their screening and they used the fact that they have very good long-range shooters at the forward position, and it made us adjust, and I thought that was very good for us, as well, because we had to do some things on the fly, things that we haven't covered as much conceptually yet, and guys had to figure it out, and we figured it out with some match-ups.

We were on some limits with minutes a little bit tonight with a couple of guys and some guys that are recovering and were banged up with injuries, or I shouldn't say injuries but banged up over the weekend, so we wanted to keep the minutes limited as we prepare for our first game Friday night.

But a good adjustment game for us, and we learned a lot of things, and the biggest thing that our team has got to take away is that champions play to the final second. They never go away. They're well-coached. They're very skilled. They're versatile. They do different things. And when you're going against teams like that, you have got to be engaged. You've got to have not only mental toughness but tremendous mental quickness to be able to get into the game immediately, and you've got to impact the game. And some guys tonight did a very good job of impacting the game, some other guys not so well. That's why we have competition.

And when you've got the level of where we want to go when it comes to playing a pace and a speed of the game, you need depth. But before you have depth, you've got to have real competition and consistency leads -- hopefully the competition brings the consistency, and that's why we're in the midst of five and out right now.

If we had a bigger list of positives than we would concerns, then we'd be lying to ourselves, just like most teams would this time of year. We're two games into the exhibition season against two outstanding teams, outstanding programs, and we've had a lot of different things we've had to deal with inside of those two games, and now we're getting ourselves ready for Friday night.

Q. At both ends of the floor do you feel like there's some things guys are working through because of how unconventional you were at times last year and getting used to having those bodies and what's different about having size?
TOM CREAN: Oh, God, definitely, without a doubt, but I think the biggest thing is the defensive part of it, when to help, when not to. We game planned for certain players, more so in this game than we did last game, with how we wanted to cover them. But at the same time we knew we were going to see great skill level, I thought, from their forwards, which was going to challenge us, and it did. It really did.

And so we've got to get used to -- our best teams have been able to just say, okay, we're going to switch everything and we'll figure it out as we go. We're not there yet. We're not there in that position, and that's what last year's team could do that because there wasn't as much of a size differential in our lineups. But now there is, so we've just got to continue to develop that, but that's where athleticism and awareness and staying in a stance and all those kind of things come into it. So we'll adjust.

Q. On the 8-0 run in the first half, just talk about what you did really well on defense, especially within that run.
TOM CREAN: We challenged everything, and when we were late and in rotation we got great shot challenges. We rebounded the ball, and we did a really good job of not over-helping. We played the rules that we had on a couple of guys. We didn't try to have it in mid-season form on what our rules were on players for a couple of them, and I thought they did a really good job of that. But I give Scott a lot of credit for what he did in the second half. He came out and he spread the court, and our length and our quickness was more of a factor in the first half, and then he really stretched us out, which made our communication, and especially on the ball screen, become a real factor, and it exposed it a little bit, so we've got to get better.

But I thought we did a really good job of being aggressive. We had a ton of deflections in that time span, and we came down and got really good shots on the offensive end.

Q. What's your biggest concern leading into the season?
TOM CREAN: For the players to understand how competitive it is right now. That's the biggest thing. They have to truly understand if we're going to have a two-deep team, we can't have a drop-off either way. It's not about who the five starters are, it's having everybody really capable of really impacting the game. You know, players, fans, maybe even sometimes some of you look at it and put a lot on the starting lineup. I don't. I look at how we start, right? How we start is more -- that's where the starting lineup comes in. Are we going to come in with a good mindset? But it's really how you finish.

So I think that's the biggest thing, but there's a lot of things we've got to get better at. I think can we continue to deal with the spacing from another team, and at the same time can we deal with a team that wants to pound it in, and there's got to be ball pressure in every one of those aspects, and tonight in the second half that wasn't as good for us.

Q. What's the key to learning on the fly?
TOM CREAN: Well, shared responsibility on the court. You know, where they don't just assume that the other person knows it, okay, especially when you're doing things that they haven't -- but it's like offense, it's conceptual. If we're going to switch to a front, then we are going to switch to a front, and we've worked so hard on covering the ball screen a couple of ways so we get really good at that, all right, that we've got to go to the other parts now. I mean, there's so many different ways to guard it because there's so many different ways to attack it, and now that's what we've got to build on. So in answer -- with Jeff's question, okay, can we keep getting our concepts and our base down and at the same time start to make those adjustments that we've got to be able to go to in the drop of a hat. And so that's a part of it.

But calling out the screens early and not getting screened, you know, once you're helping on the ball and recovering, those are big things. But I love it. We'll learn a lot from the film on that.

Q. How big a rotation could this become?
TOM CREAN: I'm not sure yet. I think -- I don't want it to be game-to-game because then you don't have consistency. Now, game-to-game will be match-ups and that may be lineups as we go, but you want a level of consistency in all your guys. That's when it's truly two deep. It's truly two deep when they feel it's two deep because you've got to go to a high level. You don't want any nervousness, you don't anxiety. You want a heightened level of awareness and an urgency, okay, and you have to be ready coming off that bench. Whether you started the game and got subbed or whether you're a sub, you have to be ready, because the level of play that we're facing and going to face is games come down to possessions, and it's rarely ever the one that's just at the end, right? That's the one that everybody remembers, but it's the ones during the game where somebody wasn't locked in.

That's what we've got to learn. So I learned some things tonight, too, which will be good that I'll be able to put into account as we move forward.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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