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February 17, 2016

Tom Crean

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 80, Nebraska - 64

TOM CREAN: Our guys were -- we have so much respect for how Nebraska plays and we knew they were getting better, and sit up here and say it, and you never look at the record, you don't look at who they've played, you look at, okay, what do you see on film, and there's no doubt they were playing well. They were playing well before Shavon got hurt and they're doing the same thing, and we knew we were going to have to -- we'd be in a battle and we did not have a great first half. We had a solid first half, we had a very solid ending, but they had something to do with that, too, and we kept telling our guys the last couple days and throughout the huddles that they weren't going to go away, and they don't, because Tim does an excellent job, and that team has got very good older players, and obviously some really good young ones. When you can respond the way that they do without having one of their two best players in that lineup, that's a sign of a really, really good program, you know, one that's going to continue to rise. And what they've done with their individual improvement is really something.

For us to play the way we did in the second half says a lot about the way our guys -- they were in a full fight, and they knew we had to make adjustments. I give Rob Judson tremendous credit for going to the -- telling him it was time to go to the all switching, and I think we had six straight possessions where they didn't score on that. That was absolutely paramount to the game, and they are really fast, and so what they do is they create a lot of movement, and they can play a lot of different ways, so you've got to be really -- you've got to be really locked in.

First half a couple times we made some mistakes, some mistakes where we wanted to switch, and a couple communication mistakes they made us pay. But we came out and did an excellent job in the second half. We went through the paint, which is exactly what we wanted to do, but the most important thing about the night to me is the way the players drove the train. I mean, they absolutely did. They've had -- we had a short turnaround, right? We get home later on Sunday and we can say, well, they're college kids. Well, they're in the midst of a battle right now, and everybody goes through the same thing, and for them to respond the way that they did in a short period of time says a lot. We didn't over-practice, but we made sure we really prepared, and we had to learn from our own film.

But our guys played with tremendous heart, passion, energy, all those adjectives that describe a team that's really connected and together. That's exactly what they did, and we did it different ways. But they understood what the game was giving them, and they went to it and took advantage of it, and we came away with a victory. Really, really proud of the way that they played.

Q. Troy said that the two of you talked about how he needed to have more of an attacking mindset.
TOM CREAN: Among a few other things we visited about. But I love Troy, and I would -- Troy has got unique talents, and sometimes he's his own worst enemy with the things that he tries to do. But what he did in the second half was what we were trying to get him to do in the first half, and he had a couple footwork errors. That's the way Troy needs to play. Troy needs to be aggressive, attacking, but reading the situation, and that's obviously what we want to try to get him to have.

But he was really locked in. He's been very hungry and humble in his improvement, and we don't deal in the whole slump business. We don't get caught up in that. I mean, we've got some three-point numbers earlier in the season that if we were playing it on the percentage, we might not have them take threes, but they're a couple of the leading three-point shooters on our team. What it is is if you're working hard and preparing hard and doing the extra -- you have to do the extra; you can't work on the game in the game. I mean, you've got to work on the game long before you get there, but when he's in that attack mindset and when he's really focused and letting the game come to him in some degrees but also being on the attack in the other degree, then he's pretty good.

Q. How far has he come? How far does he still have to go? You've talked about this before for him, and knowing how to be aggressive but at the same time always kind of be reading the game, always be --
TOM CREAN: That's the thing he has to do. It's one game, right, and it's a long season. It's one game, and he did a really nice job.

But we never -- I try to never coach, and I'll address things obviously, but I'm trying to never coach through the negative of what they're not doing. It's more importantly what they have to do, what they can do, what they need to do, and then every once in a while what they need to do less of. But the bottom line is when you work on it and study the film, and that's the thing that Troy needs to be completely locked into is the mental part of it with the video and the physical part of it with locking into practice the way that he does, doing a few things extra that build that confidence, and then he's good. To me that's the most important thing, and it's really -- I'd say the same about everybody else.

Q. Talk about Juwan's big game and the influence that he's gotten from Yogi.
TOM CREAN: Well, where Yogi can -- from when he came in, Yogi could really guard anybody. There were times he would guard the 5 man in a front situation, right, in an emergency switch because he would fight, right, he was athletic, he was quick, he was tough, but he would fight. Those two have that. They're quick, they're athletic, they're long, so where Yogi at his size, and Rob is getting there, but where Yogi at his size can guard, you don't want him 1 through 5, but you don't really -- we didn't mind tonight, right, because that's what the game was giving us, that he can go 1 through 4, those guys can do the same thing. That versatility that they have defensively is huge, and they're both basketball players. They're both bigger young men, but they're not -- I wouldn't characterize those guys with a certain position, right, and Juwan has shown that hitting the three and the way that he played, and OG has shown that this season. So eventually if we can get a team that can really switch constantly like we did tonight, that makes us that much better, and because you have to win the game different ways. Every game is giving you something different.

He answered the bell. He didn't have a great early stretch in the first half, but he really responded in the second half. Again, I give Tim and Rob credit there for recommending that we put him in at that point and then Rob for the call of going 55 minutes. It's a team effort. Those guys ran the halftime, our players. They were so good in the huddles, and the talk at halftime was tremendous. It was a dramatic shot Yogi hit. It didn't count, couldn't even tell. It didn't take the air out of anybody's sails, and they did a fantastic job.

Q. Talk about Collin being aggressive tonight. Are you seeing that manifest itself more?
TOM CREAN: I think so. Yeah, he's got to quit starting the game off with the whirling dervish one-handed passes a little bit. He and Troy are like carbon copies of each other a couple of times when we were starting the game. But letting the game come, being ready to shoot the ball. He can facilitate so many things for us, and I think at some point in time tonight we felt like we'd go back to the old lineup that we had in the past if they were hurting us with the spread game with Collin potentially playing the 5, but it ended up being Juwan in that position. But Collin needs to be -- he needs to feel green light, right, and just make simple passes, keep moving without the ball, find people, but when that ball comes to him, be ready to knock it down, so we need that aggressiveness.

Q. Around the six-minute mark of the second half, I noticed you got pretty animated and tried to get the crowd into it. What was the reason for that, and do you think it worked?
TOM CREAN: Well, I thought the crowd was pretty good, but I thought that was a heck of a scrum for a loose ball, and that's what it's supposed to look like. I just wanted a little help in reminding those guys that's what Indiana basketball looks like, to be honest with you, and I thought the crowd really responded to that. I thought we played extremely hard all night, but that was just one of those moments that let's thank them for what they're doing because these guys, they go at it every day. I mean, they really do. I don't think there's anyway you could have the season we're having without them putting what they put into each day, into each game. There's never a look ahead. There's no hangover effect when you lose, coming into the next one. There's none of that. We respond. That's all that it was. Our crowd was great. It was fantastic.

Q. You talked about getting back on Sunday evening, 27th game now. Nine guys played 11 or more minutes. Are you very pleased with that and did you want to go deep into your bench?
TOM CREAN: Yeah, we want to go deep into the bench. I didn't put a lot of thought into that tonight, but it's really more how you get ready for the game. We do a lot of different things. Some days we don't walk through very long on the day of the game, we met in the film room a lot, or we might practice. We just mix it up. I think it's all about having the pulse of your team, reading them, and then knowing that when it's game time they've got to be at their best. Our guys worked very hard and they were rewarded with it, and they did a great job, but we've got to get better. Thank you.

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