Crean trying to figure out what went wrong

Don Fischer opened Tom Crean’s radio show on Monday by lobbing the Indiana coach something of a softball. Indiana’s play-by-play man (and after the arrest of Todd Leary, it’s one man booth) pointed out that the Hoosiers did some things well in Sunday’s loss to Northwestern. They kept the turnovers down, rebounded well and knocked down free throws.

But Crean realized he wasn’t in position to look on the bright side.

“When you’re losing and when you lose games that you don’t compete in from the very beginning,” he said, “and you compete as the game goes on, but you don’t come with that spirit, then it’s really hard to sit here and talk about individual performances and things like that.”

As he did after the clunkers Indiana had against Ohio State and Iowa, he again found himself not looking at a specific category that explained IU’s struggles, but trying to explain a general lack of effort.

“We’ve gotta play better,” Crean said. “…I heard you use the term that we used in the locker room that we used all day today, and it’s a hard term for people to deal with. Street fighters.”

Looking back, Crean said, the Iowa loss might have happened because the Hoosiers took the Hawkeyes lightly.

“I might have underestimated these guys’ viewing of Iowa,” Crean said. “I didn’t think I did. But then I look at how hard we played against Illinois and how hard we played against Purdue and I probably let them off the hook too easy, and we got our clocks cleaned because we didn’t realize we’re not good enough to look at anybody and not take it seriously.”

The Northwestern, loss, he said, wasn’t as much about a total lack of effort as it was about misreading situations.

“It wasn’t the system that beat us, it was the mistakes,” Crean said. “It’s going to double the ball when you’ve got a 3-point shooter in the corner and losing sight, rotating down and losing sight of a man. All of the sudden, they’ve got an open shot.”

Crean said he hopes to use the bench more as a disciplinary tool. He didn’t name names, though he obviously used it after some foolish shots by senior guard Devan Dumes.

“There’s no question, a couple of times, I gotta guys out quicker,” he said. “We’re not in a situation, even though we’re shorthanded in certain areas, where I can let guys play through some ridiculous plays.”

To do that, Crean said, he needs a few players to step up to allow him to extend his bench. He said it would be optimal if he had a short rotation because guys had separated themselves, but with the situation as it is, he’s looking for more from elsewhere.

“I’ll give you an example,” he said. “I want (sophomore guard Daniel) Moore to really earn minutes right now. I want him to continue to build on what he did the other day. Now for that to happen, he’s gotta be consistent. He’s gotta be a tough-minded, ornery, nasty little competitor every day in a lot of different ways and run the club. Now the more he does that, the better off we’re going to be.”

Crean said he’s also looking for freshman center Bawa Muniru to earn time.

“My thing to Bawa is, ‘Go take somebody’s minutes,'” Crean said. “OK, he’s getting better. We put things in new for every game. We played more zone the other day. There’s a lot of things there. Now go take somebody’s minutes.”

6 comments

  1. “When you’re losing and when you lose games that you don’t compete in from the very beginning,” he said, “and you compete as the game goes on, but you don’t come with that spirit, then it’s really hard to sit here and talk about individual performances and things like that.”

    Dude, I’ve said it all along: you’ve got to compete, dude! Glad CTC finally saw the light! CTC growing in my eyes, dude!

  2. Effort, effort, effort. That has been the cause of several of the losses this year. We had more effort with less talent last year. I would rather watch last year’s team play than this years.Poor shot selection, games we have gotten outrebounded by far inferior teams, most of rebounding and defense is just effort.

  3. Crean trying to figure out what went wrong:

    Let me assist you Coach.

    1. Don’t EVER play Dumes.
    2. Don’t EVER let Rivers shoot.
    3. See 1 and 2.

  4. What it comes down to is simple. Lack of depth. If you have nothing better to bring in you have to deal with what you have. WRONG! I for one say if a player wants to jog around, not defend, notgo after loose balls, etc then put him on the bench, even if you have to bring a 65 year old grandpa out of the stands. Let everyone earn time based on passion, desire and effort. Your better players will quickly figure it out!!!

  5. Giving Moore minutes and sitting Dumes can only help. When it comes to talent, Devan has more in his left pinky than Daniel, but when it comes to court awareness and basketball IQ, the equation is reversed. Devan’s not dumb or a bad guy – he just seems to think that he has a responsibility to do it all himself every time he touches the ball.

  6. Coaching….that is the problem. I for the life of me cannot figure out this man’s substitution logic. Pleae, Coach Crean, would you get mad enough just once to get a technical. The aw-shucks, golly gee, love-the-fans is getting old.

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