Crean, Sheehey, Oladipo talk Stony Brook, new offensive sets, and perimeter defense

With the home opener against Stony Brook just one day away, Indiana coach Tom Crean met with the media this afternoon (his second time today doing so) to talk about the Hoosiers’ first matchup of the season.

And after focusing much of the offseason and early practices on improving Indiana’s defense, Crean and a few players said that the Hoosiers’ finally spent some time on working in new offensive sets. Forward Will Sheehey said they now have three times as many as sets as they did before the exhibition game against Indianapolis last week.

Crean added, however, that the offense is still a long ways from being where it needs to be.

“There are certain aspects of our offense that aren’t even close,” Crean said. “That’s just the way it is.  …As far as our timing and rhythm, it’s just not there yet. It will be, but it’s just not there.”

Against Stony Brook, Indiana will have a little tougher challenge on their hands, a challenge that Crean more than once referred to as a “physical battle”.

Much of that has to do with the way Stony Brook plays offense — “There’s ball screens early, there’s ball screens late,” Crean said — and even though the Seawolves aren’t a particularly large team (their tallest player is listed at 6-foot-8), their physicality should be one of the toughest challenges posed to Indiana.

“This is going to be a really physical game,” Crean said. “And I’m not sure we’re ready for that. We’re going to find out. They put a body on you, and they’re battle-tested.”

That physicality will likely include double teams of freshman post presence Cody Zeller in the paint, which Sheehey and Crean said they had been working on countering all week. Double teams on Zeller will mean open players on the perimeter.

Taking advantage of that mismatch in the post — not only with Zeller, but with other guys like Tom Pritchard and Derek Elston — will be paramount in creating offensive opportunities for the Hoosiers. But more than anything, this game could be about containing Stony Brook’s shooters on the perimeter.

The Seawolves can shoot the lights out, especially senior guard Bryan Dougher, who Crean knows to dedicate extra preparation to. He’s the school’s all-time leader in 3-point shots, and if he’s left open like Indianapolis’ Adrian Moss was in the team’s exhibition, then he’s going to hit plenty of open shots.

“He can score in so many different areas: shot fake and drive, drive then shot fake, 3-pointers,” Crean said. “And at the same time, you’ve got numerous other guys that can make plays. There’s no question he’s the guy that makes them go, but he’s not the only guy.”

To defend that sort of attack, plenty of this week has been focused on perimeter defense, Sheehey said. He admitted the perimeter defense wasn’t up to par against the Greyhounds.

“We’re definitely trying to get out to shooters more and give them less space on the perimeter than we did against Indianapolis,” Sheehey said. “We gave up too many open threes and we’re trying to do less of that.”

Guard Victor Oladipo said that perimeter defense is one of the key things Indiana has improved on coming into the season opener. And with a good defense, they may not even need all the plays they’ve put in this week.

“If we have good defense, even though we run and practice all these plays, we can start fast breaks and run the floor a little bit,” Oladipo said. “Defense wins games and defense creates offense. We might not even have to run all these plays we’ve been practicing.”

Audio: Tom Crean

Audio: Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo

20 comments

  1. Pointless statistic of the day. Indiana is 1-1 all time against teams from the American East Conference and Stony Brook is 1-1 all time against Big Ten teams.

  2. DID HE REALLY JUST SAY WE ARE NOT READY FOR THE PHYSICAL BRAND OF BALL STONEYBROOKE IS GOING TO THROW AT US?? “THEY PUT A BODY ON YOU AND THEIR BATTLE TESTED” REALLY? WOW

  3. That’s just coach-speak. Just like he said our offense wasn’t ready for Indy and then we scored 92 points. It was ready enough. Bottom line, it’s early season, there will be some rust.

  4. It’s gotta be an act… But if it isn’t, Coach K is one of the biggest examples of coach speak. Before every game there are quotes like (squirrelly voice) “We really respect NC A&M. Their kids work really hard, execute really well, probably better than us right now, and can really shoot it. That coaching staff is very under-rated and really has them prepared every game. It’s going to be a tough battle.” And then Duke goes out and shellacs them by 43…

    DID COACH K REALLY JUST SAY THAT? WOW!

  5. Definitely. While I think Stony Brook is probably the best non-name school IU plays this year (although the game at Evansville will be a test) IU should beat them. But the easiest way for IU to lose is to get overconfident. That’s all Crean’s trying to prevent. It’s what every coach tries to prevent, because it doesn’t cost you anything and it can save bad losses.

    On another note, I read that Stony Brook took a trip to Europe this preseason and played something like 5 games over there. So they probably will be very ready to play.

  6. There are very few D1 teams anymore that aren’t capable of the upset. I was looking at the schedule of one of the local teams, UNC-Asheville. They haven’t made the Big Dance since the ’90s and then they were a 16 seed (it came down to the last shot). Their non conference schedule includes UNC, NC State, Connecticut, and Tennessee. They beat Auburn last year and Tennessee the year before.
    There are just more good players out there. A couple hot players can take over a game (’79 Indiana State). It’s not like football. You better respect everyone or your gonna take some beatings in games you should win.

  7. I wish I had something worthwhile to add today, but I’m just too dang excited about the season tipping off to have an intelligent comment.

  8. HoosierSmitty, Looks like a couple of others were dang excited too and should have done something worthwhile and refrained from adding unintelligent comments.

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