Crean: “Our mentality is excellent right now”

During Saturday’s media availability, Tom Crean, Jordan Hulls and Verdell Jones said everything coaches and players are supposed to say when they are in the middle of a losing streak and don’t want to show any signs that the bottom is falling out.

Every problem is easily correctable. They were just a couple of plays away from winning in the past losses. There is no infighting and everyone has a great mindset about turning things around.

“Our mentality is excellent right now,” Crean said. “I like our practices. I like their focus. The thing I keep reminding them is we spent so much time talking about three stops in a row. That’s a big deal for us. If we went back and looked at two of the three games, if we got three stops in two of those games, we’ve got two more wins. The Ohio State game notwithstanding on that. If we get a few more things done in the Minnesota game even as poorly as we played early on and in the Nebraska game as poorly as we played late, we’re right there with two wins.”

Said senior guard Verdell Jones: “I think (our mindset) is real good. I think we got the hungry attitude like we did at the beginning of the year and that’s huge moving forward.”

They at least admit that have had to battle to get over Wednesday night, Hulls especially. The junior point guard who recently snapped a streak in which he made 58 consecutive free throws missed a critical front end of a one-and-one that allowed Nebraska to take the lead, then drove too deep to make a play to win it and had to throw up an off-balance, twisting shot that never had a chance. The noted perfectionist said he was kicking himself for a day but has since tried to get over it.

“I was obviously mad the next day, but once practice got here, I knew I had to get it off my mind and get to the next game,” Hulls said. “Can’t get it back, so just get better from it, learn, get this team back to where it needs to be. … It’s always been a problem of mine whether it’s during the game, turning it over. I’m getting better at trying not to let it affect me the next play down the court, whether it’s offense or defense, whatever the case may be. It’s just something I need to work on, but I do think I’m getting better at it. If I’m going to be a leader of this team, I need to be able to do that.”

There was at least an admission that the Hoosiers need to fix some fundamental problems in order to stop their three-game slide in Sunday’s noon game against Penn State. Video study gave Crean an even better idea of what went wrong defensively for Indiana against Nebraska, and why the Cornhuskers were able to get open shots and middle penetration. He said he saw a lot of situation when players didn’t switch on screens, did when they weren’t supposed to, or overhelped on to drivers, leaving shooters open.

“We got a way from our technique a little bit,” Crean said. “We got away from certain things that are constants for us. We had too much game slippage, so to speak, on things that we spend a lot of time on with the dribble, and we did not follow the game plan a couple of times late especially in some situations with them. Do we have to simplify it? I hope not. It becomes a communication issue. This is a tough league. You can’t guard everybody the same way. If you’re gonna be good in this league, then you’ve gotta be able to make to those adjustments during the game. The dribble penetration will get better as our attention to detail and the game plan gets back to where it needs to be.”

It needs to get better fast for the Hoosiers to be able to deal with Tim Frazier, the junior point guard who has put Penn State on his back. He is averaging 17.9 points and 6.7 assists per game, good for second and first in the Big Ten respectively, and no one in the Big Ten is carrying a bigger load. According to Kenpom.com, Frazier is used on 31.9 percent of Penn State’s possessions. No one else in the conference is used on more than 29 percent of their team’s possessions.

“He is as quick as you face,” Crean said. “As quick as we faced. He is tremendous at drawing contact, not just from his man, but from the help defender. Earlier the season, it was a lot more just about the kickout. Now if you’re not alert on the weak side, people are back-cutting, and he does a great job of finding the open man. He always has his head up. I think those are things. He is a real, real matchup problem because you’re not guarding him with one, you’re guarding him with your team, and the moment that you put too much emphasis on him, he finds a cutter.”

So the goal for the Hoosiers is to not lose focus and not let this three-game losing streak turn into four.

“Me and Jordy, the biggest thing we’ve reiterated to the team is that we’re not going backwards,” Jones said. “We’re not taking steps backwards. We’ve been in this slump for the last three years, and we know how terrible of a feeling that is. We never wanna go back there again. The biggest thing is not to have lulls again in a game or in practice. We’re fighting for our lives again, and we’ve gotta have that chip on our shoulder.”

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls and Verdell Jones

58 comments

  1. Lets see what happens
    Hope we dont give up as many turnovers in the second half as we did to Nebraska.
    Go Hoosiers!

  2. They’re all saying the right things. That’s good. Let’s hope it translates to an edgy, solid game on the court.

  3. If this team doesn’t find Cody early and often I’m afraid it could be another defeat and another hugh blow to their confidence. Hopefully, the team has worked on their passing. Jones and Hulls need to hit Cody early in the possession when he has the ‘seal’ on the defender, IMHO. Go Hoosiers and please win for your on pride first and the fans second!!

  4. Duke, UConn and Michigan losing today to unranked teams, and Syracuse on verge of losing to a team IU beat ….what a wild season so far. If we win tomorrow our potential 16-4 record would look rather respectable.

    If we lose, thought, it’s all about the NIT.

  5. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Crean said the exact same thin before the Nebraska game and they looked like dog feces.

  6. IU lost to then 108 ranked RPI team NE. We suck. Syracuse lost to the 116 ranked RPI team. They suck. Duke lost at home today. They suck. Michigan lost to 64 ranked RPI team. They suck. Baylor lost at home today. They suck. Illinois lost to 123 ranked RPI team PSU. They suck. Connecticut lost to 188 ranked RPI team, losing 4 of last 6. They suck.

    All these teams lost because they have terrible coaches. When they win, it’s despite the bad coaching.

    Purdue lost. They suck. (Hummel went 0 for 11.)

  7. Notre Dame tried their best to lose to Syracuse but the Orangies just wouldn’t let them. Sloppy, sloppy game.

    Jordy just needs to talk to Verdell about not dwelling on mistakes.

  8. Basically we’re two plays and two losses away from a perfect record.

    Also Notre Dame just beat Syracuse and we beat Notre Dame.

    Listen, Crean has a mid-season coaching award. Do you guys know how hard it is to get a mid-season award? You need to have perfect timing, man! How many of you got a mid-season coaching award. Raise your cupcakes, so I can count you. That’s what I thought…

    When Penn State comes to town tomorrow they will be bringing in an old, old friend: TLT (Twenty-Loss Tom) is returning. And the “Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations” — Season Four resumes tomorrow with an all new episode. Enjoy.

  9. 3 stops = 2 more wins…Minnesota at IU and IU played horrible defense, poor rebounding, and did not match up physically…should have beat Minnesota by 7 or 8 points anytime…Nebraska is not very good. IU played poor defense, Game really took a bad turn when IU was up 10 and Watford chucks up a quick 3, then Nebraska got and kept momentum,just lousy decision making from there on out. IU did not play well the whole time…Watford wants to play outside to much instead of becomming a physical inside player…Lucky to beat Michigan…IU hit a bunch of 3 pointers against Penn State and barely won, hitting that many 3’s if IU was physically playing and playing very good at all that should have been a 15 to 20 point win….Right now IU is soft just going through the motions and not playing physical or moving much at all…Not everbody on the team can play guard looking for a lazy man’s 3 pointer most of the time and expect to win.

  10. Yeah, Fab5 very very nice post. That year we were Big Ten Champions, four way tie with Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio State. It was easy then it should be easy now, is that what you’re sayin’? I hope that’s what you’re sayin’…

    Oh, HT, can you lend your “breathing cards” to Chet, man — he keeps asking around so much he must have lost his pair.

  11. I vividly remember both the Illinois game at home that year when IU blew them out, and the Minnesota road game. I was at that game at Williams. IU led something like 38-27 at intermission, then wilted in the second half. I also remember where I was at for every single NCAA tournament game.

    1st round Utah- Couch in my mom’s sitting room. Easy enough win. I posted the score on my dad’s bedroom door for him to see in the morning since the game was past his bedtime.

    2nd round UNC-Wilmington- Missed the game for a high school game. Was at Chipotle when I got the text IU won.

    Sweet 16 Dukies- Watching in my kitchen. My dad (who made me an IU fan) was so nervous in the second half that he couldn’t watch. He was in the basement on the treadmill when he heard us (my mom, sister, and I) screaming and cheering upstairs. He did the same downstairs.

    Elite 8 Kent St.- Only watched the beginning 5 minutes or so. Went to a friend’s house for a party after that, found out about the win while I was there.

    Final Four Oklahoma- Living room in front of the big t.v. Watched alone. Once IU won, I ran outside my house and started cheering.

    Championship Maryland- Alone in my room. When Coverdale (?)scored the basket to tie the game at I believe 41, I thought IU was going to take it from there. *sigh* We know how that one ended.

    Would love for IU to make waves like that in the tournament again soon. I truly believe Crean has put the Hoosiers on the right track for the near future, despite the past few losses.

  12. I wish I remembered that Marquette game. (I was only 14, but it was Thanksgiving weekend, so my parents probably let me stay up to watch. But even so, I don’t remember it.) I saw Wade had 21, but on 18 shots. It would have been fun to watch Fife guard him. Great college matchup.

  13. I think we will get back on track when Crean wakes up and sits VJIII. He’s a turnover machine. He’s not a good defender and not much of a threat to score. He can’t dribble unless he’s staring at the floor. Assembly Hall sees it–actually started to boo him last couple of games. Get with it Crean–I’m already tired of his post-game bromides. This is a good team…they are not a top 10 team…time will tell if they are top 25.

  14. Well, Jones continues to dribble into 3 men instead of passing off. What does he
    not get about an assist instead of throwing the ball away? He does not deserve to
    start. He just doesn’t play for the team.
    They need a reward system. If you play well, you play more minutes than if you don’t.

  15. Great point HT: Paterno meant a lot to their basketball program! I am sure Crean did not refer to you in that comment “our mentality is excellent right now.” (If he knew what he was talking about, which I doubt, but that’s beside the point.)

  16. Damn! Halftime: 27-29. Crean is great but these players constantly let him down. Crean is a tremendous, outstanding recruiter but the players that he recruits can’t play for him. I say it’s the players’ fault: they play, Crean doesn’t. Crean is splendiferous.

  17. I have a real issue with Paterno, to me it’s simple:
    1. He was the most powerful figure in Happy Valley and he didn’t do enough
    2. He preaches accountability but wasn’t accountable in the end for his role
    3. His motto “Success with Honor” – in my opinion he’s a complete hypocrite

    In the statement released by his family they mention on two occasions his commitment to the community and desire to help others. I just don’t think you can say that wen he so blatantly let his community down and knowingly put children in direct harm. How an you desire to help others and allow a sexual predator to use your facilities, live in the midst of your community, and be protected by the shield of PSU football.

    It’s all a lie. Like so many in positions of power, he was more concerned with protecting that power and preserving his legacy. He was jaded and corrupt. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great football coach, but football isn’t more important than community, a safe environment for our children, you know… Real life.

  18. Rico, is Cody letting us down right now? He is the first of the legit recruits in the pipeline. We have many more coming, and if they perform at or around Cody’s level I think we’ll be ok.

  19. I take everything back except the last sentence. Glad they turned things around and made me look like a fool!

  20. HC & Jay, based on what? Winning football games? Making money for a university?

    When the time came to show true character, to show you could have “success with honor”, to put his community and the safety of the young men that admired him ahead of a potential black eye eye for a football program – instead of doing the right thing, the honorable thing, the thing a man of true character would have done, he passed the buck, shucked his responsibility as the face of the university and community, and decided to assist in sweeping the BIGGEST AND MOST DISGUSTING SCANDAL IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE SPORTS under the rug.

  21. geoff,

    I’ll answer your question when you respond to where you played and coached basketball. You keep telling the world how much you know about roundball and now you expect us to believe you know all of the facts concerning the PSU situation.

  22. After you’ve lived 85 years I doubt you’ll be able to spell buck. Anyone, anyone who lives that long, look back and see how much shit you left on your trail.

  23. Where I played and coached doesn’t matter. If you disagree with the points I make or dispute the facts I bring up then feel free to make a counter argument. If you think I don’t know what I’m talking about that’s fine. Tell me where I’m not making sense. Give me specific examples as to why what I’m saying isn’t correct.

    Those things have nothing to do with the Paterno deal. I have never stated I knew all the facts in the PSU scandal. Where the hell did you come up with that? I am stating the obvious. We know that he knew what was going on. We know that he didn’t make sure it was taken care of. We know he had the power to do so. Those are the only facts I need to form the opinion that I stated above.

  24. Clarion, I will guarantee you this… If it is ever brought to my attention that someone that works for me, is a friend, or even my brother is raping boys I am going to the cops. If anyone I know murders someone or commits some other heinous crime I will not let it slip under the rug.

    Do we all make mistakes, have moments of bad judgement, break the speed limit…. Uh yeah, but this is a hugely different set of circumstances. And not only that, but it’s coming from someone who publicly preaches accountability and who’s motto is success with honor. I mean it just doesn’t get any more hypocritical than that.

    Still waiting to hear how he got a raw deal. The only ones who got a “raw” deal around PSU were those boys.

  25. If it doesn’r matter where you played or coached, then why did you ever feel the need to tell us peons about your pedigree?

  26. Ok Jay, you pretend like I don’t have any pedigree. I am not here saying what a great coach or player I was, only that I have those experiences. But you just go on base your opinions with the mind pest that I don’t have any of that experience.

    Now, now that I am a regular fan, with no playing or coaching background, please tell me what I’ve said that isn’t correct, that isn’t fact, that doesn’t make sense. Please present actual evodence to support your position. Please make an argument as to why your view point makes more sense, or is more relevant. Harvard does it all the time, and there are lots of times that I agree with his points. I’d be more than happy to entertain your opinions if you’re feeling left out.

  27. You show such social righteousness after the fact. Upon reading the Bible who would not say they would have never tasted the forbidden fruit? Hold your hand up. Continue to use this topic in performing your exercise in pantomime.

    RIP Coach Paterno

  28. Maybe your annoyed with me Jay… It’s cool. All I was asking was “Why?”. After I state a position or opinion I follow it up with reasons why.

    I just wanted to know your reasons. Do you have any?

  29. Clarion that makes absolutely no sense to me.

    What does tasting the forbidden fruit have do with this situation. Kids were raped. Paterno knew it, he didn’t do anything about it. His lack of action allowed it to happen again.

    In no way do I hold him solely responsible. All the people that knew have responsibility as well. I don’t put him on the same level as Sandusky. Not by a long shot. But have I lost respect for him as a human – absolutely.

    Why is it “righteous” to lose respect for someone who looked the other way when children were getting raped?

    I’d still like to hear a reason as to why you think he got a raw deal….

  30. Geoff,

    No, I am not annoyed with you. You are a fake. How can anyone be annoyed with a fake? Substantiate your previous claims. You have a good grasp of the English language, what type of grasp do you have with truth and honesty?

  31. You have not given a single reason as to why Paterno has received a raw deal…

    Not one. Why are defending a man who knowingly looked the other way while small boys got raped?

    That is bizarre. Are you mentally stable?

  32. There is a bit of hypocrisy when so many were willing to burn Kelvin Sampson at the stake for 3-way phone calls, and then shower room rapes are basically assigned forgiveness in ignorance.

    If what you believe in is ultimate judgment, then let every man has his good and bad balanced in the eyes of a creator. But aside any personal belief a right to forgiveness, what Paterno and the trusted arm of his inner circle failed to investigate looks to be beyond imagination compared to what the NCAA and Indiana fans wanted to burn down to the ground based on something so harmless. If the looking around every corner and oversight at Penn State was anything close to what IU was doing monitoring phone records, many boys would have been saved the memories of a devil in disguise. If Sampson was a “cancer,” then what in the hell were the people that knew of these despicable activities for more than a decade?

  33. Thank you Jay. But again you are attacking me because you have no argument for my basketball takes. If I’m such a fraud then show me the error of my thinking. Prove what I’m saying about basketball isn’t true.

    Until you can actually debate a basketball point I’m sure you’ll just continue to take shots at me.

    I have given enough information on this site for someone to figure out who I am if they took the initiative to do some research.

    I’d be shocked if there were English majors out there that don’t have a solid basketball background that can put together coherent and relevant basketball arguments for the positions I have taken.

  34. Mark me in the column of not accepting that there is ever any justification to ignore the fact that he knew his coach was raping little boys and he let him get away with it for God knows how many years. I don’t know how anybody gives him a pass on this. It’s just the most heinous thing I can imagine (and I’ve seen a lot of awful stuff) and I have no doubt that we are going to learn that his inaction led to scores of other little boys being molested. He empowered Sandusky to be a monster.

    Not a chance.

  35. jay, here are a few more clues. My parents are graduates of IU, and after teaching at Florida State, UNT, UT-Arlington, came back to Carmel, Indiana to teach at IUPUI at the Kelley School of Business. My father was a dean there for a couple years and mother a prof in business management. My father was also the faculty liaison to NCAA for the men’s basketball team for a couple years. Because of that relationship I came very close to transferring to IUPUI as a walk on for my last two years (just before they joined the Summit League)…

    of course since I’m such a fake, those are all probably fake facts.

  36. Jay, heres a really good clue… I played college ball with, and am still close friends to, Keith Smart’s brother. I think I have mentioned this on here before, as well as other incriminating data…

  37. Geoff,
    I am happy for your parents and for your experience with Keith smatrt’s brother. Where have you coached?

  38. Absolutely on board with Geoff here. Paterno screwed up, and he knew he did. May he R.I.P., but this is no “leaving a trail of shit behind.”

  39. I am happy for them too, more because I think they are good, caring, responsible people than because of any professional success they’ve had.

    I am not lazy when it comes to my research, material, or effort on this site. If you want more you can find it I’m sure. I have given enough info. As I’ve stated before, anyone can choose to believe me or think I’m full of crap. It’s all good. I’ll let my posts determine my reputation. Either you think I bring something to the site or you don’t. I’m sure there are a few in each camp.

    I am more than happy to admit I’m wrong if someone can provide evidence that their viewpoint is more valid. Usually all I get from people are personal jabs or opposing opinions with no evidence or reasoning behind them. Forgive me if I don’t waive a white flag to that crap.

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