The 25th ranked Indiana Hoosiers, defending Big 10 Champions, fell to 0-2 in the conference after yesterday’s 75-68 loss to #13 Wisconsin. Tom Crean talked about the game in his post game press conference
COACH CREAN: Among other things, talking to the team, I need to remind them that we have a lot of season to play. It’s the first week of January.
And certainly there’s no question about that. And certainly some of the things that we’ve done extremely well going into last week we’ve not done nearly as well: Defending the 3 being a big one; our turnovers — our problem tonight is we had six in the first half. They scored two points on every one of them. And that’s hard.
And I don’t even know what to tell you about the start of the game. It absolutely made no sense to me that they were giving them as much space as we gave them.
But we regrouped from that. And I knew we would. There was no question we would regroup from that. And we did a lot of good things. But when you’re not getting everything that you need to get, and you’re not as good in as many areas as you would like, then you better be really good at what you do well.
And we have enough length that we don’t have to overhelp. We have enough length that we can get back to people and not give them open shots. And we had three starters not get an offensive rebound.
And we’ve got to find a way. (Indiscernible) we have a lot of different ways we can play. Tonight we looked like the twin towers type of team. We just could go inside. We have different ways to play.
But until we get better in a hurry, not only at taking care of the ball but it’s moving without the ball, getting the ball in better angles, really, the 3-point defense.
Our concepts, schemes, things we wanted to do defensively, those were not what beat us. It was the next pass or being in overhelp. And when we struggled, that’s when those have been our issues, and we’ve got to get it corrected. Constantly.
And it’s not like I’ve got to go back and say, wow, we better really work on challenging shots more. We have done it every day since they got back to school. We did it in the summertime. And we did a really good job. We were the number 1 3-point shooting defensively of all the Big Ten teams going in last week, and we certainly haven’t done that this last week.
So we’ll be right back at it in the morning. And we’ve got to fix those things. And I’ve said this the last couple of days to them, it comes down to a matter of inches.
Today we were a little too far off. The game seemed like we were yards off. Go ahead.
Q. You did overcome the bad start, and then you really struggled down the stretch. Did those same things come back?
COACH CREAN: Yeah, we made a couple of mistakes. We had guys that were spent. We had to get some blows in there. And certainly when I subbed and we were going with a couple of guys, they played fine in the first half. You’ve got to come in and be ready to impact the game.
In a game like this, it’s small segments. And there was a segment when it was a one-point game.
And we knew it was still a stretch. You just gotta go in there and guard your man. Right? And it’s not that complicated: Early help; get your feet right; get your hands ready; heads on a swivel — things we do constantly, things that people do from the very beginning when it comes to shell drills.
We missed some open shots. The other day in the Louisville game we had a span, the game was really tight, six-point game I think it was. We missed three straight wide open shots. One in the lane, put three.
We came back, we made a couple of mistakes defensively. It was almost like a carbon copy about that. It’s not about who is in the game, it’s about the fact that we’ve got to stem that tide. I’ve got to go back and watch the game closer, gotta watch the game anyways, but watch the game closer at the end to see what I would think about that.
But against the best teams, you cannot have bad segments. We had a bad start. We got over it. And — but there was a lot of game left in that. Can’t have a bad segment near the end of the game.
Q. You guys continuously got the ball to De’Ron. How do you get him more involved?
COACH CREAN: Well, I don’t know. I said to the team I’m not a big half-full, half-empty guy, but you gotta find some guidelines with this a lot of different ways. And certainly there’s been times we’ve played extremely fast and moved the ball extremely well. And it was harder to do that tonight. And we didn’t as good a guard play tonight at all. And I’ve gotta do a job now finding how we’re going to get more for those guys when it’s not a ball-movement thing where guys are getting free. Right? Because we did a good job defensively.
So to me, yeah, we’re going to have to be able to do that at times. And there’s no question about it that it was effective. Get in shape. We told him two months ago, by January, you’re going to feel like a totally different player. He’s starting.
I think that’s a positive that we have a lot of different ways that we can play in a long season. And it just wasn’t enough of it tonight.
But we still — that’s still — we still have to be able to get great movement, especially on the weak side where so many of our 3s come. The good thing about De’Ron and Tom is that — Wisconsin is so good, especially with Happ. Hayes some when he does it, but Happ can really pass.
But tonight they didn’t need to. They were in single coverage and they were able to score. So the long answer is, yes, a lot to do. But we’ve got to do what the game was given us. It was giving us that tonight.
Q. As far as your own 3-point shooting —
COACH CREAN: I don’t even know what it was.
Q. You took five in the second half, and three in the last ten minutes. Was that them taking it away?
COACH CREAN: Maybe we could get what we wanted inside, to be honest with you. I think it’s just take it.
We’ve got to have a good balance. It wasn’t a balanced night. We could get what we wanted inside.
And there were a couple that I don’t know how we didn’t get to the foul line, but we didn’t. But we got — it was just giving us that. And getting it into the post.
And then so you’ve got to take what it’s given you where they were taking away the 3s. So it wasn’t by design. It was just what it was, element of the game.
Q. I know it’s kind of hard immediately after, but maybe it’s a hard question to answer. But you talked about the 3-point defense tonight. Did you see some of the connectedness issues there that you saw in some of what kind of ailed against Butler?
COACH CREAN: Absolutely. Overhelps and late challenges. Overhelps and late challenges. And, I mean, Jayd Grossman made a good point. It’s something I guess I’ve got to think of. I don’t think of it much. Nobody wants to hear it. I don’t really want to hear it. We’ve got five guys that played Big Ten games in there last year and played at this place.
And it’s moving so fast. It’s not an excuse at all. So, please, I’m not looking for sympathy. We’ve got to continue to work with them on that. We can’t get away constantly so it becomes more ingrained with them.
We got much better defensively last year after a slow start. And we had guys that had been out there. So it takes time. But there’s no reason we have to overhelp. I mean, it’s no one is beating us off the dribble enough that we’ve got to come and give help out of a corner.
Now, we do want to dig the post. And we had to break that early because I mean we were so lethargic to start the game with our apathy. And they’re supposed to be aggressive.
And I don’t know why that was, because we certainly hadn’t practiced that way. But we were very good in the practices we had and it wasn’t very long. So it wasn’t like we left it all out there. But we didn’t come out with intensity and urgency on the post and gotta get better at it. But we’ll get there. We work shot challenges constantly, obviously, in practice because it’s happening to our guys, too. In the games people are challenging us well.
Q. Was Robert doing okay today?
COACH CREAN: As far as because I didn’t start him?
COACH CREAN: I didn’t start him because I didn’t want a three-guard lineup. I wasn’t starting three guards this game. And because he didn’t have a good game last game, I don’t care about that.
We needed to be bigger. We wanted to do different things matchup-wise. I think Thomas did a very good job on Hayes. We wanted to be able to do some switching, when Happ came into the pick-and-roll. And so it was just more a matter of that.
Q. Three in a row like this, as a coach, how do you make sure these guys stay together and stay positive?
COACH CREAN: That’s the number one thing you hit. Right? And I have a note in there: We get that squared away. And I don’t have any assumptions that it’s going to happen with this group at all.
But you address right away that it gets done with work. And it’s not two-a-days or three-a-days type of work. It’s not that we run them into the ground. It’s not that type of work. It’s definitive work.
It’s getting better at the fundamentals constantly inside and outside of practice. It’s understanding that you don’t think about it. You don’t talk about it. You just go get better.
And, again, it’s not like anybody has got to make, like make a significant change. We’ve got to make significant change, simplicity with some guys with plays they’re trying to make with the ball. And we’ve got to get better at early help, early recovery, getting our hands up. But those are all things that we’ve done a pretty good job of.
So it’s not that complicated. We’ll be back out there tomorrow with groups. And the only thing that’s going to — the only thing that will set me off with them is if I’d ever have to remotely worry about somebody’s attitude or energy and that would take about five seconds. That would be over and we’d be on to the next guy. But I don’t anticipate it with them. They’re a hard-working group. They’re resilient. They have been resilient. They will be. The hard work, character of those kids, I have no issue with it. We have a long season. That’s what we have to focus on.
Q. You guys had really good performance against Carolina and some stumbles here. Is there anything you point to to say this is really good and it slipped or anything like that?
COACH CREAN: Yeah, I think the defense. Right? That’s just what it is. I think it’s not as complicated as — the turnovers have been an issue here and there. There’s no question. In all games. I shouldn’t say they’re an issue here and there. But the defense is what’s got to pick up, the defense.
And it’s not the schemes. It’s the level of — at times it’s urgency. At times it’s the technique of your hands. But some, it’s just the quick-moving, quick-minded, being-in-the-right-spot, do-your-responsibility type of thing. That’s all it really is.
And we’ll get there. I mean, we work on it constantly. And it’s not been as good the last week in the games, obviously.