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January 15, 2017

Tom Crean

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana - 76, Rutgers - 57

COACH CREAN: It's always great to meet people like that, that are seeing their first game or their family. It means so much. We get so much inspiration from that ourselves. And I love the way these players respond to that when they meet people.

Whether it's at the game, whether it's at practice, and that's so much a part of it because these guys are getting such an opportunity to do what they love, and the more they can share it and see it with other people that go through struggles, too, it puts ours in a great perspective. Because ours are controllable.

We've just got to continue to play with an urgency defensively like we did today. We've got to continue to look for opportunities. We had 63 deflections. We had guys that did a great job. OG had 18, seven steals. That's a very good number.

Juwan was having a tremendous game before he got hurt. I don't have any update on that right now. So I can't give you anything more there.

But our defense was good. The game, again, I say this so much and it's true, the game is always giving you something. And the maturity process is when it's not giving you what you want it to give you, okay, you've got to find a way to get something else.

So we had some open shots. They challenged some shots. We didn't make as many today. We didn't get as many offensive rebounds.

But we were able to get back on defense, able to set our defense. We were able to rebound the ball. We were able to create the turnovers, get our fastbreak going.

And even though we didn't win the rebounding game, you know we were able to get some timely ones.

So for us there's a lot of different ways to play. And there's a lot of different guys that can get in there and play, but it all comes down to the urgency level and playing as solid as we can. Because until our communication gets to an acceptable level, we're going to have to have that urgency constantly.

And that's really, really going to be important. So happy with the win. We've got to continue to improve. Go ahead.

Q. 14 steals, 33 points off of turnovers. The players talked about getting into the passing lane, getting into the gaps. Was that a priority today?
COACH CREAN: It's a priority not to gamble because we're not quick enough to get up and just overplay and then snap your head and grab the backdoor pass. We had a couple of those today. But that's an awareness thing. When your awareness is high and when your urgency level is high then you're much better at that.

When you're out there and not locked into two things at once, which is defending your man but also playing the ball, or when the person behind you is not locked into helping, let you know that he's back there to help you at the same time, being able to play the ball and being able to play his man, you know, those things get hard.

But we wanted to be active. No question about it. We wanted to set the tone with the defense. And we thought that we did.

Q. Seemed like Devonte, Curtis and Juwan were out there, especially early, they gave you guys a little bit of a jolt. How important was that?
COACH CREAN: It's good. They're getting better. No question about that. And they're improving. But a long way to go. Long way to go maturity-wise, long way to go understanding that urgency and long way to go when it comes to understanding how efficient you have to be possession by possession.

That's the hardest thing for any young player to really grasp is how important every possession is. How important every screen you set, every pass you make, every shot you take, every trip in transition.

And it takes time for that to be understood. It really does. And that we have to continue to learn to get better. But I thought all three of those guys gave us a really good lift inside of the game.

Q. You talk about a lot of guys on this team sort of still need to grow into roles. For those three especially, a big part of their role is being able to kind of give you some of that, whether it's points, rebounds, whatever (indiscernible)?
COACH CREAN: Plan to win. Be ready to go into the game and impact the game like we talked about yesterday, impact the game with your energy, impact the game with being in the right spot, move the ball. And just come in and literally play hard. Just play hard. And playing hard doesn't mean I have to attack the rim the first time I get it or take a shot the first time I touch it, you know.

Playing hard means being locked into the game and locked into talking to my teammates, and I'll let the game come to me on offense, but I'm going to bring my energy and my urgency and my awareness to the defensive end.

Q. A question on the defense and the slow start.
COACH CREAN: I don't know, I imagine. I've got to go back and watch it.

Q. How important is it, on both sides, getting them and not making them?
COACH CREAN: It's big that we can create some turnovers, like I said earlier. We've got to get better at that. And keep building on the things I told this team before the game is that we're undefeated this year and we've got an unbelievable record over the last five-plus years.

You got me thinking about stats. I went and looked -- I didn't use any of your numbers, I didn't think they were relevant -- but I went and looked at what these guys had been when they held a team to that level. So and we had guys that hadn't lost too many games when we held the team under 40 percent from the field.

So that was important that we get off to that. And that field goal percentage defense is never going to be very high if you're giving up live-ball turnovers to the other team, no matter how good you defend.

So even though they shot a better percentage at times today we played a consistent game, not a great game, not a perfect game by any stretch. But a consistent game of being active defensively and not having too many game-plan errors.

Q. Question on OG finding an extra gear.
COACH CREAN: Yeah, I don't know. I've got to evaluate the game from the film. Everybody can get better. I'm not in a great place to be hypothesizing on where everybody is at right now. We've just all got to get better.

Q. I know you've only played two true road games, but is that a next challenge for this team?
COACH CREAN: The next game is the next challenge. And that happens to be on the road. So absolutely. It is what it is. We've been right there. And we just need to get ourselves in position to learn how to win and make more winning basketball plays which can come down to simple decisions -- execution, having that locked-in mentality defensively. So that's what that is.

Q. How critical is the 42 points in the paint?
COACH CREAN: I haven't had the chance to dissect all the numbers. So I really haven't. I apologize. So if you get 42 points in the paint, that's good. That's really good. I really haven't. I haven't studied the stats.


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