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December 31, 2016

Tom Crean

Indianapolis, Indiana

Louisville - 77, Indiana - 62

TOM CREAN: The biggest thing to me, we -- I don't see us shooting that way very often, like hardly ever, and it was not a good day for us offensively at all. I'd love to tell you that I think it was a lot of their length. When we didn't make the next pass, it was their length, and sometimes when we settled, it was their length. But every time we moved and cut without the ball, something good happened for us, and we lost this game.

The defensive part where we lost it, we didn't get up into the ball enough, whether it was a switch, whether it was over the screen, whatever the coverage was. Mitchell got hot. He's a really nice young man. We recruited him. I hope for his sake and their sake that he continues to play like that, because obviously he played a little different than he's played as of late, and it goes to show, you can be in a slump at a certain point in time, and you bust out, and I hope he plays great for them.

But we've got some of the same type of guys. They had a tough day, and I've got great belief that we will recover from that. Again, when we didn't make the next pass, when we tried to dribble with the ball in front of our body against the length, we got rushed. That's when we didn't make shots. We had so many open shots we missed. That's tough for us, and then we didn't make some of the free throws. Turnovers in the first half were obviously an issue, but we didn't do that in the second half. The defensive issues we just weren't active enough, and we didn't get enough hands on balls. It's our lowest deflection night of 37. We weren't as good at that as we needed to be, and certainly we don't have their length, but we need to have that kind of activity, and there were times that we didn't get that done.

I think when we did switch, we weren't active enough getting up into the ball. When we stayed with our man to get over the screen, we weren't active enough on the ball, and they got hot. They saw some things, and they got hot. We battled hard on the glass. There's no question about that. Our decision making at times was an achilles heel for us. It was again today. When you've got a team like that that has that kind of length and switches so much, you've got to keep finding what the game is giving you, and there were times it was giving us different things.

But offensively we are not only a ball movement team, we are a cutting team. We are a moving team, and we've got some guys that are not very good at moving without the ball, and we tried to put some things in for them that would get them to move conceptually. Most importantly when we're playing our best is when we're randomly cutting, and we didn't get enough of that today, and that's the disappointing part. That was a huge part of our plan. As far as attacking the rim and driving it to make the next pass, not trying to shoot it on their shot blockers, I thought we did a pretty good job on that. But we missed too many threes, we missed too many lay-ups, we missed too many one-foot jump hooks, and it hurt us.

But my team did not stop coming back to play. We didn't play as aggressively nearly as we needed to on defense when it came to getting up into the ball, like I said, but I'm looking forward to going back to work with them tomorrow. I really am, because we've got a great group of guys, and they are surrounded by a great group of coaches and leaders in that locker room, and we'll just continue to work and get better. I have no doubt about it.

Q. Is this team at something of a crossroads at this point --
TOM CREAN: I think that's pretty drama-filled right there. Not that you would be. I know you wouldn't be.

No, we just lost to a really good team. We didn't play well the other night.

Now, the only thing about the crossroads -- what's the name of the -- oh, the Countdown Classic we are in now. We're not in that. We didn't shoot well. You're not going to see Rob Johnson go 1 of 13 too many nights, and we just didn't -- we missed too many shots.

My biggest thing, I don't want them trying too hard. I mean, we've got a group of guys who are going to be back in the gym and trying to work their way out of it. There's a time and a place for that. We haven't had a good week.

But got more open shots tonight than we got the other night, and we just didn't knock them down. But again, it comes to me that we just didn't move as well, and when we move without the ball, you saw what happened, we're good, and we didn't have enough of that.

Q. You mentioned kind of working to get out of a shooting funk. Do you worry guys work too hard?
TOM CREAN: Yeah, I just said that. Yeah, absolutely. That's what we don't want. We don't want that. We've got some -- we've got a couple guys -- here's a good crossroads. We had a couple guys two weeks ago that needed to get back into a situation where they were working harder in the gym on their own, but it isn't any of the guys that had tough days today. So now, we don't need to overwork, we just need to be confident.

But you think when you rebound like that -- but really in a nutshell, where we're at a crossroads is this: We've got to out -- this is really what it comes down to. When we're not shooting the ball well, okay, we have got to outgrow quickly, all right, not playing as well as we need to play on defense. Now, that we've got to -- if there's a common theme -- we might have been better today but we still lost the game by a margin. If there's a common theme in when we struggle, it's when our shooting is not where it needs to be, and we don't continue to come down there and just bust out those stops, and that's what we've got to -- that's the tipping point right there. We've got to get that fixed. Does that make sense?

Q. How important was it for De'Ron to just kind of see a team like this, go against a physical team like that, and how big was that for his development?
TOM CREAN: Good, very good, and again, missed a lot of close shots. We've just got to finish better. But he worked hard. I mean, he's been getting better and better in practice. He's not even close to being where he's going to be athletically, and he's not healthy. I mean, I'm not going to come in here and talk about our injury situation because you don't want to hear it, and it's not -- we've got a lot of guys banged up. He's one of them, too. But we've still be able to make shots in the lane, right. We've still got to be able to make open threes, and we didn't do enough of that. But he played really hard, and it'll be good for him moving forward.

Q. What did you do well in the second half? Obviously you only had three second half turnovers. What turned that around?
TOM CREAN: I don't know. You know, we just kept looking at what the game was. Our turnovers at the beginning of the game were ridiculous. I mean, they weren't even forced. The number one problem -- I say this every time. It's not a -- I'm never going to overreact to the hard-driving, we're trying to make a play turnover. It's the unforced turnovers which are the mental errors that really bother you, and we had too many of those to start the game. We settled in a little bit.

But our spacing was better, and they decided to come out and guard those guys when they pulled away from the basket. We stopped screening as much, which we knew at some point in time we were going to probably do, you know. We never got Snider the way they did a good job of keeping him isolated, where we couldn't isolate him, because a big part of our game plan was to absolutely go by him every chance that we could, and we weren't able to really do that. They did a good job of protecting that.

But I don't know, seems like some of those shots would have felt like turnovers, but I don't know, I've got to watch the film.

Q. It seemed like there was a lot of dribbling and getting late into the shot clock a lot. Was that their length?
TOM CREAN: We weren't making the cuts. We weren't cutting off the post. That's where we got out of character. Our offense is movement, and it's not just the ball moving, it's the body moving, it's getting lost in the game. Yeah, and that's when we struggled with shooting. That's when their length, oh, look, they're long. We're not a dribble team, right, we need to be a driving team. That's why we knew that handling the ball was going to be a potential issue on this team. That's why we spent so much time making sure that the forwards -- we lost guys last year that didn't try to over-handle, and we lost an incredible ball handler, right, and we knew that we needed a team of guys that could move the ball on this team, but they also have to move without the ball.

But that -- we're going to find that film. We're going to find on that film where our over-dribbles came because somebody didn't cut when they were open, especially when the court was spread. Somebody didn't dribble into a handoff. When you're being overplayed, we work on it every day, back cut, okay. If they're overplaying you, you back cut; if they're under, you get a handoff or a screen, and we had some real slippage on that tonight, and I think it made us look worse with the handle.

Q. You said the decision making was an achilles heel. How do you get the decision making fixed?
TOM CREAN: Well, that's what it is. I mean, it's not like we're in a situation where we're just going to say these one or two guys are running this club, right, so that's where the movement -- it's not like I didn't know this was coming in the sense of it's not like it was going to be one or two guys that just operate and dictate your team. That's not their mentality, and there's a real pulse of the game that goes into that. There's a real -- the best -- where Yogi really got so much better is Yogi could move without the ball, right, and we spent a lot of time at it, but when the slippage -- when the lights are on and it's pressure moments, that's when you've got to be your best at it. Juwan was up there, did a pretty good job. But there were certain times we just left each other hanging, and it wasn't about the screen, it was about the cut, and you saw what happened when we cut, we were pretty good at it, and too much of that was -- happened to be orchestrated rather than just the random way that we play. So I've got to do a better job with that somehow or I've got to move people around, and the guys that are really struggling moving without the ball I've got to put more stuff that they just have to move without it, because last year it was so natural, right, Collin, Troy, those guys, but we've done it this year, and we've had good days when we've really moved well without the ball. Today wasn't one of them.

Q. Thomas missed a couple at the rim, and in general kind of his two-point finishing is down a little bit. Is there anything you can pinpoint with that? Is it focus, him getting a little more attention?
TOM CREAN: No, it's not the attention. The attention comes when you over-dribble in the post. It's not making the move quick enough. It is the ball behind him on his first dribble, okay, which you want to try to dribble the middle of your body, and sometimes there's slippage in that, and he's opening his chest, and we've been working on that, and he kind of went back to it a little bit today. Instead of putting your shoulder in the defender's chest, sternum, you open your chest, and it opens you up, and then you don't have as much control on the ball, and then it allows the shot blocker or the defender to be able to get more length. When you're playing against people that like to block shots, you've got to go right to their chest. We wanted to go right through him at times, and there were times he opened up on that.

It's stuff he's gotten better at. He's had some success with it. There's no question we've got to continue to break that down more and more for him, and then the bottom line is he's got to jump. He's got to jump. I mean, you've just got to pop that ball and jump, and when you're opening up your chest, you're not in nearly as good a position to jump, to jump with it, for it.

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