Crean tweaking plays, practice

The first week of the New Year always brings a sense of normalcy, of rhythm and of familiarity to the college basketball season. November and December are random to the extreme with season opening and holiday tournaments bringing NBA-like schedules one week, then scheduling holes, finals week and holidays providing extended breaks.

But January brings conference play, which typically means two games — and only two games — per week. Thursday’s game against Michigan was sort of an outlier, as it was followed by a six-day break. But from this point until the Big Ten Tournament, the Hoosiers will never go more than five days without a game.

That becomes a grind, so IU coach Tom Crean said he has to remain cognizant of wearing his players out. This week, the Hoosiers still don’t have class, so he can take advantage of that. But going forward, he’s taking steps not to overdo it.

“I think you have to start with the end in mind,” Crean said Monday on his weekly radio show. “That’s what the beginning of the week is like. What our situation has been like is we played Thursday. Obviously it was an early game. We came back Friday. Like I said, we gave them a break. Instead of getting up at 11:30 to practice, we started at noon. Gave everybody a nice little break. We went strong We went long. We got a lot done. Then we really backed off of it on Saturday. We had individual workouts in the morning. And in the afternoon we had a very crisp practice but without a lot of contact. Then we took Sunday off other than lifting weights and watching a lot of film. And today, there was just a ton of time spent defensively, but we really didn’t go up and down. We’re really trying to make sure that we’re good with our conditioning. That we’re not in an over-scrimmage situation. We’re not trying to, with this young team, over do it with a Wednesday and Saturday.”

Preparation at this time of year also goes through something of a metamorphosis. In conference play, teams know each other very well through years of experience. It’s a bit different in this case, because the conference hasn’t seen much of Indiana as it’s constituted, but at this point, there’s still enough film available for opponents to figure the Hoosiers out.

So Crean and his staff are making some tweaks to make sure they’re not predictable.

“That’s why we like to keep adding things as we go,” Crean said. “We’ve put some things on the shelf for a while. Today we dusted off a few old friends offensively and brought those back out into the equation. I think that’s really important. We’re really into what we’re doing in a sense of, ‘OK, what are they seeing from us when they watch this tape? What do our numbers look like in the last three games? The last five games? What do our play sets look like? Then it’s always good to make sure that we’re refining those, making those better, tweaking them here and there. Then taking one or two things out, and also adding things as we go.”

One comment

  1. Crean:“Then it’s always good to make sure that we’re refining those, making those better, tweaking them here and there. Then taking one or two things out, and also adding things as we go.”

    5-star Minestrone: “That’s the thing with minestrone, seems like you can tweak it considerably and still come up with a winning combination.”

    GO MINESTRONE HOOSIERS!

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