Tom Crean on Big Ten teleconference

IU’s sports info department transcribed Tom Crean’s segment on Big Ten teleconference. It follows.

Opening Statement:

“We feel like we really learned a lot about our team over the last week. They really learned a lot about each other and we carried it into a win the other day against a very tough, hard-nosed Penn State team. It was one of those games where both teams played extremely hard and wanted to win the game. We just came out with the victory, we earned the victory at the end. I am proud of the resiliency that our guys show in the and in that game. Now it is a big week – in the sense of two home games. We play an outstanding team in Wisconsin, an outstanding program and one that is very, very tough preparation and a very efficient, smart, tough team. And then Northwestern, who is going to be coming in (on Saturday) after getting their first Big Ten win last night. They are another team that is extremely well-coached with Chris Collins and Brian James and that entire staff are capable of. We are excited for the week and excited to have our students back for the games this week.”

On whether the officiating early in Big Ten play has changed since non-conference:

“I think it is too early to tell. The bottom line is that there really shouldn’t be any difference. And there is no way that there should be any differences in the leagues with the referees that officiate in numerous leagues, which many of them do. It should really be the same across the board. The bottom line is, the rules were put in place to be carried out during the entire season – from exhibition all the way through the national championship game. You would fully expect that everybody is going to see that through. I think that’s the bottom line.


“I would imagine it is every coach and player’s hope that that happens. I think the players, for the most part – I haven’t watched that many games but I have watched enough during our preparation – to see that people really are trying to do the right thing and get used to the game. There is always to be a little bit of adjusting and flexibility that you have to have, but hopefully we are past that and you can get a pretty good feel on how the game is going to be officiated.


“But to answer your question in one sentence, I would say that it is probably too early to tell that.”


On Will Sheehey’s impact on Saturday in the second half:

“I thought he was outstanding. He got hurt the other day in practice and missed the majority of that practice and the next day. It became a little bit of a walk-through type of situation, so it was going to come down to how he felt on Saturday, and being as close to 100 percent as he can be. Now, Will Sheehey’s 100 percent and 100 percent for someone else are two totally different things. Obviously, he wouldn’t be able to play if he wasn’t cleared.


“Will just has a inner spirit that is hard to characterize. It’s hard to quantify it, because he is so unique. He has a great fire about him and I thought he brought it. He was very passionate with his teammates and I thought it carried over. I thought our guys had a great week of building some real internal discipline, in terms of on the court, and that carried over into how we played. I think Will is a big part of that.”


On what has allowed Wisconsin to score more this year:

“I don’t know if the speed of the game is any different, when you look at the time of possession for each possession. It is still around 21 or 22 seconds over a period of time. But I do think the one thing that separates them on offense is they have always had the experienced players that they can put other people around those guys because they totally understand how they win and how they want to play. They have always put excellent shooters on the court. I think what you have now, and what is a little different to me, is that they are not an above-average passing team, they are a great passing team. Where they are so efficient, and where they have hurt us in the past and so many others, is when the game gets into rotation and you are constantly helping and over-helping or trying to stop the dribble or this or that, they are such a great passing team. They not only make the next pass, they make the pass after that and, if need be, the pass after that. The thing about them is that they are so efficient with the ball … it’s the old Pete Carrill ‘the quality of the shot is directly related to the quality of the pass’ and that is exactly what you see with Wisconsin.”


On his relationship with Bo Ryan over the years:

“I have great respect for him, I always have. I think what I respect about him is he is one of the great competitors around. And I think he is the kind of person that would compete in anything and want to win. I think you have to respect that. He has always been very gracious with me and I would hope he would feel, for the most part, that I have been with him. I have tremendous respect for that entire program. That is a team that, when you watch him coach and watch them play, you absolutely see his competitiveness and diligence – all of those attributes you would want to say that a great team looks like. I think you can start with Bo because that’s what a great coach looks like.”