Tom Crean: Against Illinois, Hoosiers lost belief too quickly

On Saturday, Tom Crean said Indiana was blown out by Illinois because of a lack of will. On the Big Ten teleconference on Monday, he said it was a lack of belief.

“I think what happened Saturday more than anything else is too early in the game these guys lost the belief that they were going to win the game,” Crean said.

Crean said he thinks the team’s shooting woes compounded into lost confidence. It was by far Indiana’s worst offensive output, as they finished with a season-low 48 points and shot just 31.6 percent from the field.

The biggest thing to me, the most glaring thing is that we’re not shooting the ball very well,” Crean said. “Anybody. … We’ve just gotta keep trusting that these shots are gonna go in because again we got some very good open looks the other day and we just didn’t knock them in. I think when you’ve struggled shooting the ball over a period of time, that can play on you and play into your head more than anything else. It can slow your feet down, it can slow your mind down. When all those things start to go your confidence goes.”

But in the same way, he said, the Hoosiers can’t put in too much thought into just making shots. The defense has to improve first, he said, as do the fundamentals.

At the same time, you can’t come back and say OK, we’re gonna be an offensive minded team and offense is going to be so much better,” Crean said. “No, we’ve gotta be even better defensively. Weve gotta be even better at setting our cuts up, we’ve gotta be even better at screening, we’ve gotta get even more offensive rebounds. That’s how you work your way out of it.”

Unsurprisingly, Crean built up Penn State, it’s first round opponent.

We’re playing an outstanding team,” Crean said. “We’re playing one of the most prolific scorers in the country over a lng period of time. And they’re far from a one-man team. They’re only playing seven or eight guys, but those seven or eight guys they can impact the game and we’ve gotta make sure we can keep up with that.”

Crean was also asked about a serious of ancillary topics, including the big heads in the stands at games, a topic recently covered in a story in the Indianapolis Star. Crean brought the tradition with him from Marquette.

“Have you seen how productive they’ve been in the stands?” Crean asked. “That’s exactly why. It’s fun, it’s different, it’s a chance to have something for somebody to talk about. You can get creative with it. At the same time, you’re always trying to build your atmosphere. It’s not like the Indiana atmosphere needed any adjusting or tweaking, but every little bit makes it that much more. Here we are in early March and you’re asking me a question about it, so I’d say mission accomplished.”

“Myself and a couple of other people (at Marquette) were the really the ones that put it together. I just thought it was fun. You want a great atmosphere. You want them to not only look forward to it  but you want them to be excited about coming back. At the same time, anything you can have in your end zone, especially when the margin of victory is so small, especially at the foul line. You never know if its going to distract somebody, you never know if it’s going to be something that plays into the game. Just in the case that you don’t know that it is, you don’t know that it’s not. That’s what’s fun about it. That’s why people wave towels and bring signs and make noise. It’s all part of the home crowd atmosphere. Again, I’d put our Indiana atmosphere up with anybody in the country. The big heads are just a small part of that.”

Crean was also asked who he voted for in the Big Ten Player of the Year race. Like every other coach except Iowa’s Fran McCaffrey — who said he voted for Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson, Crean declined to reveal his pick, but he did explain his criteria for the award.

“First and foremost is their impact game by game and winning,” he said. “What goes into that is it doesn’t matter position. It doesn’t matter any of those things. None of those things really matter. Do you impact winning and do you make your teammates better? I think that’s the biggest thing. And do you allow your teammates to have a level of confidence that they don’t otherwise have because you’re in the game? I think those are the things. I don’t think it’s numbers. I don’t think it’s statistics. I think it’s the impact of winning. I think it’s how much better you make your teammates, and how does it make your teammates feel when you’re in the game? There’s a lot of different ways people could go in this league. I’d be shocked if it’s not one of the closer votes. I don’t know Big Ten history as well as others, but I’d be shocked if it’s not one of the closer votes because there are so many players that do that in this league.”


  1. Anybody happen to see Kentucky winning at Tennessee yesterday. Their coach is in his second year and came from Conference USA. They’re 21-8 this year coming off a final eight appearance last year. He recruits and wins.

  2. That’s the way to go. Emulate the the dirtiest program in the country and their coach, who has left every team he has coached on NCAA probation. Yeah, there’s a plan.

  3. Honestly, I cant believe that our coach is worried about some stupid oversized heads to make the “environment better”. How about the defense, how about the offense, how about help defense, I cant believe he is actually proud of these stupid, retarted signs. Im staring to wavier, does Crean really got what it takes. Just want a coach that the last thing he is worried about is the atmosphere that is being created. Believe me if Crean actually wins ballgames the atmosphere will take care of itself. You cant try to create something out of nothing, he is trying wayyyyy to hard.

  4. You I.U. fans are stll blind to the fact this team has very little if any big ten caliber talent. Two more recruiting classes should solve that.

  5. I don’t know which is worse: a) not checking in here to see what level of idiocy abounds and then wondering how low it went, or b) checking in here and finding out that it is as bad or worse than I imagined…

  6. Cheaters or not, Kentucky’s roster has 4-5 guys who will probably be 1st round or low 2nd round NBA picks at some point. We have maybe a couple of kids who might get to be asked to try out for an NBA team as an undrafted free agent. UK also has size and some depth off the bench. We do not.

  7. Bowman Sectional: Cherokees pull off the shocker

    By Tommy Williams Post-Tribune correspondent Mar 6, 2011 02:03AM

    GARY — Morgan Township coach Matt Bush said he felt all along his squad had a good chance to beat Bowman in the Class 1A sectional final game Saturday night. But just to be on the safe side, he wanted to make sure he wasn’t the only one.

    So before his Cherokees took the floor, he drew a line in the sand.

    “Coach said that if any one of us didn’t believe we could win, then walk out of the locker room,” said Morgan Township guard Brandon Grubl. “We all believed in ourselves.”

    This was a stunner, folks..From what I’ve read, Bowman has no business being a 1A team(Bowman could likely be a 3A or 4A, but IHSAA is on a four-year realignment cycle for a change in class designation). There were sportswriters very familiar with these teams that thought Bowman could potentially score triple digits against the Morgan Township Cherokees..Though no big headlines will filter down to Indianapolis from this sectional championship game and the monumental upset from Indiana’s northwest corner, this game was a prime example of the terrible injustice the IHSAA did to high school basketball when some bozos locked themselves in a room and did away with our great tradition of one statewide tournament.

    I thought the story related a bit to the topic of the thread….”belief”.

  8. Some may find this link interesting. I couldn’t find any news or pictures about players from Morgan Township.

  9. who?, (a) thoughtful discussion has fallen by the wayside here, and (b) it’s amazing the the caliber of player you can get when you are paying them. Yes, I am saying that Kentucky is paying their players. They get busted by the NCAA for paying their players about once a decade since the beginning of time. They aren’t even careful about it. You’d have to be a fool to think that a dirty coach like Calipari would clean up a program.

  10. I’m afraid “cheaters or not” matters a great deal. Anybody have a warm feeling left in them from the Sampson era? It sounds as though some think we should focus on cheating better. IU won’t lose me because of the struggle to rebuild the program. It will lose me if it goes the Kentucky route.

  11. Kentucky also has about 0 depth. They play 6 players 7 if they have to put Vargas in. Either way I would rather lose and have good kids and a clean program than go the UK route. Cheating by Crean’s predecessor is why this is even being discussed.

  12. On ‘believing”: There is not one Hoosier fan or player out there who Thomas Crean dare give a lecture to on the subject of ‘believing’.

    You can’t believe in Jello, you can’t believe in illusions; most important, you can’t believe in tans…they barely touch the top of a man’s real skin, always fade and disappear.

    You’ve got to believe in something real…and that is not coach Tom Crean.

  13. Want to see how you turn a team around overnight? Just take a look at Coastal Carolina. Always a weak sister in the Southern Conference, CC went out and got a proven winner in Cliff Ellis. Sure, there were a few questions about his past, but, by golly, he always turned teams around in a heartbeat. Cliff brought in a ton of transfers. Last year they went 28-7. This year they won 24 of their first 26 games this season. They were the 16th highest scoring team in the country averaging nearly 80 points a game. Then the other shoe dropped. By the time the NCAA got done with them they had seven scholarship players left on the team. They dropped the tourney to UNC Asheville, scoring 47 points in their loss. No players were named all conference and Ellis didn’t get a single vote for COTY despite a 28-4 record. They will probably get sanctions next season. Cliff Ellis will have another probation notch on his belt. But Cliff Ellis sure did make them a winner. I suppose.

  14. The soft bigotry of no expectations. Well said. The moment TLT is threatened with even the least amount of accountability the discussion goes up in smoke. Sean Miller confirmed in year two. Why don’t you compare the two? TLT so far is the biggest stooge. Ever.

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