Tom Crean on Big Ten teleconference

The transcript provided by IU media relations.

Indiana head coach Tom Crean

Opening Statement:

“First, I’m really happy for Will Sheehey and winning (Big Ten Player of the Week). It’s great recognition for a great week. The best thing about Will is that he’s never been one of those players who has played for any recognition other than being a winner. He has really made a big difference in this program from the beginning of time that he got here and is playing his best basketball right now. He is a big, big part of the leadership of this team and how the team is gaining confidence. So, I’m very happy for him and, for us, we are just right in the middle of getting ready for a very hot and very thorough Nebraska team. We’re excited about that opportunity on Wednesday night.”

On handling the press better since the Penn State game:
“I think strategically you are always trying to adjust to what the press is going to be at the other team. I think what we found in the Penn State game is that we just didn’t have enough awareness, missed open people. We’ve made a couple of changes with press offense to get less people up there, but what we did in that situation is we didn’t use the baseline, or our awareness on the baseline, nearly as good as we should have. The bottom line is we didn’t hit the open man. Again, that sounds simple but when you’re under pressure like that, sometimes that is not as simple. So we continue to press in advantage/disadvantage situations, six-on-five, seven-on-five. I think that game just created even more of an awareness for these guys that you can never get away from the simplicity of it. Use the baseline, be strong with the ball, pass fake, set screens, roll back. Even yesterday, we weren’t great. We missed a couple screens but we cut hard, we utilized that baseline and I did a better job of making sure that I was in the referee’s ear on timeouts, not just waiting for the player to do that on the baseline. All those things play into it. It’s always a process of getting better and I think it’s like everything else. These guys, when they understand the urgency of it, they are much better with it.”

On what Evan Gordon has done better the last two games:
“I think being on the attack is one thing as well as driving to the rim. If you look at some of his better games, he has been better at getting to the basket. He’s ready to shoot. I think sometimes it’s just being as intense and engaged as he needs to be on both ends of the floor. When he’s like that, he’s really pretty good for us. Really, just moving the ball and, again, being ready to shoot it, to attack, or to drive it. That’s what you want from a guard. When he does that, he’s good for us.”On tale of two halves for Terran Petteway against Indiana the first time:
“He didn’t see help and we gave him angles. He’s a tremendously strong wing player. He can really drop his shoulders and he has to see help before he starts his move. At the same time, we made mistakes, man or zone, by coming off the wrong people. When that team wins, they are really, really good at getting to the foul line and Petteway is a big, big part of that.

“They put really good shooters on the court and their five man, so to speak, plays like a two, three man in Walter Pitchford, so you have to guard him as a perimeter player constantly. Because they space so well and drive it, you have to make sure that it’s early help, early recovery, and not get away from the guys that can make shots.

“It would be different if it was just Petteway and everybody else. It’s not. He’s the leading scorer and playing great but they have a lot of other guys that play well and Tim (Miles) does a good job of putting them in positions to make plays. Really, Petteway has got to see other defenders before he starts his move. There’s no question.”

On changing your approach of how you prepare for end of regular season and postseason:
“No, not really. I think weeks like last week help in that regard because I think that’s a process that you go into for a long period of time. I think if you just start getting ready body wise, mentality wise, if you just start tapering your practices then to that point, then I think it’s almost too late. You have to be doing that for a while. You really just take it one day at a time, truly, with your approach and getting the most out of them that day from what they need to get out of themselves that day. That’s the most important thing. I don’t think you start changing your tone or changing your expectations with them at any point in the season.”

On the biggest challenges the coaching staff has faced this season:
“I think just trying to build a consistency level. I think when you look at this season, whether it was the inexperience of guys in roles, whether it was the youth…you’re trying to get your team to be tough in so many areas but consistency really is the greatest form of toughness you can possibly have in a team. It takes time to get that. It never happens for each person in the same way. It’s really understanding how important every day is in the sense of what it prepares you for, how important situational basketball is to winning games.”