Buckley: “I don’t know if anything needed to be said”

Tom Crean called out his team as forcefully and definitively after Wednesday night’s loss at Michigan. He said the Hoosiers’ starting lineup was “a joke” and that he’s looking for players with “a warrior’s mentality” to carry the team through February.

Assistant coach Tim Buckley said the Hoosiers’ two practices since made it clear that they got the message.

“You always feel like you’re in a good place after you’ve sent a certain message after a game when your team comes out and practices the way our team has practiced the past couple of days,” Buckley said in press availability for Saturday’s 7 p.m. game at Purdue. “I don’t know if anything needed to be said, but what was said really hit home. But they also knew it. I think when you have that combination, and then they saw the film. We didn’t start the game off at Michigan the way we had game planned, the way we had worked on it, the way our guys had competed leading up to that game, so everybody understood that.”

Understanding it and fixing it are two different things, of course. The Hoosiers always say the understood what went wrong, but they’ve continued to struggle on the road, losing four straight away from Assembly Hall since beating Penn State on Jan. 8.

The Michigan game was the worst example. They fell behind 10-0 and 15-2 out of the gate and trailed 28-8 before their comeback began. They came back within two points, but still fell 68-56.

“I feel like we just got rushed at the beginning,” junior forward Derek Elston said. “A lot of the guys weren’t playing their game. We let the defense kind of dictate what was going on. After a timeout, a TV timeout, coach just kept harping that we gotta keep playing our game no matter what. Don’t let them speed us up. Keep playing IU basketball. I think at the beginning, we were trying to make that home run play when we just needed to make the single.”

Fixing that, junior guard Jordan Hulls said, comes down to two very basic ideas.

“We can’t turn the ball over and (have to) play better defense,” Hulls said.

They’ll be looking to defend a Purdue team that has become more dangerous since opting to use a smaller lineup in most occasions, using senior forward Robbie Hummel as the theoretical center, but really playing mostly five-out motion.

“They’re able to stretch the defense a little bit more,” Buckley said. “That puts their center in position to shoot 3’s, which Hummel’s been very good at over his career. D.J. Byrd’s another perimeter guy even though he can defend bigger players. He’s another guy that can shoot 45 percent from three. I would say it stretches your defense a little bit, which allows them to shoot the 3, but it also allows them to get in the paint.”

The Hoosiers could have to defend that without senior guard Verdell Jones, who will be a game-day decision with a bruised shoulder.

“Like we’ve said all year, it’s the next man up,” Elston said. “Next man stepping up. We’re hoping (Victor Oladipo) plays that role just as well as Verdell has. We just gotta keep going from there.”

AUDIO NOTE: In case it isn’t obvious at the end of the player audio, Elston misspoke when discussing Verdell Jones as though he was already ruled out for Saturday’s game. Jones will be evaluated for his bruised shoulder on Saturday and will be a game-day decision.

AUDIO: Assistant coach Tim Buckley

AUDIO: Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls, Cody Zeller



  1. Purdue Spread 5 Offense

    I don’t know how quick Byrd is from Purdue, but how about Prichard guarding him?

    Hummell ..Elston
    Byrd ..Pritchard
    Jackson ..Remy
    Johnson ..Watford
    Barlow ..Vic
    I know Zeller.. But he comes in later. So he is not dealing with fouls trying to guard Hummel or Byrd around the 3 pt area.

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more zone if they can extend it out enough to cover the three. I’m not sure we wanna see Cody rotating that far from the basket.


  3. Mixing up the defense with the zone. When we go to man to man Have Sheehey on Johnson and bring Watford in to replace Elston on Hummel. I guess I’m not looking for a Hummel and Zeller matchup. I don’t know about Carroll I see he gets alot of minutes. If they don’t start Carroll, and go with the small lineup. The small Purdue lineup is what I’m looking at with a man to man defense. I know we need Hull’s in for offense and on the zone. I’ve painted myself in a corner here, so if they start a small line up, what is our approach?

  4. Speaking of Carroll, how about former Purdue star Joe Barry Carroll? Golden State traded Robert Parrish and the draft pick used to select Kevin McHale to the Celtics to get “Joe Barely Cares”.

    How’d that work out?

  5. elston on hummel?!? elston can’t even defend the pick and roll. hummel would twist elston into a pretzel. and pritchard chasing byrd around the perimeter all night. wow. might as well have him guard jackson when byrd sits down.

    as for joe barry, here’s how that worked out. george karl ripped the door off of his locker after one game and screamed for him to get the f#@# out and not come back. that was back in the day when real men coached in the nba. and before the time that chris webber was fathering children that tim hardaway would have to raise as his own.

  6. I’ll believe it when I see it (that the team realized how they messed up) as we’ve been hearing the same crap all season.

  7. About 13 years ago I worked for a company that had season tickets and I used them 3 times. Great seats. Greg Maddux is from Vegas and we were a few rows behind him. Super nice guy. Signed every autograph from the kids that asked him.

    Haven’t been to a game since but I think they sell out most games….especially since the team is good again.

    Rebel basketball is by far the most popular team in Vegas.

  8. Laffy, years ago I had a cousin with leukemia (he was lucky enough to beat it); he was a Greg Maddux fan. Long story short, he became a pen pal of sorts with Maddux, who even called him several times to cheer him up. Class act.

  9. So, I’m sitting here in south Florida watching New Mexico win. I go to GoComics.com and as I am going between the pages I see a ad box pop up saying something about “help Couch Crean and IU” I was changing pages and went back but after 100 attempts was not able to get that box to pop up again. Seeing things? Or just anticipating the Purdue game? Or seeing Steve Alford?

  10. To you IU haters, what do you say now. IU is on the way back, players and coach make a difference. Calipari will have to buy some more players won’t he, to keep even now.

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