Crean: Michigan win, Big Ten experience should help

Indiana plays its first true road game of the season on Wednesday night at Ohio State, but IU coach Tom Crean said he expects Thursday’s home win over Michigan and a year’s worth of Big Ten experience for the elders on the team’s squad to make the transition easier.

“I think it’s gonna help a great deal, but I think the fact that we have more experience and the fact that these guys have been through the league helps,” Crean said. “Again, that being said, we haven’t been on the road for a true road game yet, and that starts on Wednesday night, so we have to go through that part of it. But when you have basketball players on the court that can make decisions that you can limit your unforced errors, and you can back and get stops and rebounds, that’s the greatest form of learning that you can do. You have to be able to do that numerous times whether you’re at home or on the road. Wherever it’s at. We’ve just gotta continue to go through that process as much as possible. I’m hopeful that we’ll see some of those experiences that we had a chance to go through last year that will help these guys in their own personal confidence of having to experience games.”

Still, there are six freshman who have never played in a truly hostile environment. The game against Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden was supposed to feel like a road game, but in the end, there were nearly as many Indiana fans in attendance as Pitt fans.

Wednesday’s game at Value City Arena will be the first time the Hoosiers play on their opponent’s floor.

“I think it’s something they just have to experience,” he said. “I think we’ll try to take some steps to help, but I think the most important thing is they just have to go through it. There’s no way around it. Again, it just comes down to taking care of the basketball, and really limiting your turnovers. The being weak with the ball turnovers. The poor decisions turnovers with passes. Those are the ones that really hurt you. You have to be able to rebound on the road. You have to be able to play transition defense on the road, and still, you can’t get away from finding a way to get easy baskets. Whether it’s off your defense. Whether it’s the ability to get to the basket. We’ve got to get to the foul line. That’s one of the scariest things for any team that’s going on the road to figure out, ‘OK, how are we going to get to the line.'”